He’s a little London boy with family all over the world. From the US to Australia, he is told how loved he is in so many accents, in so many ways.
And I’m the lucky photographer who gets to capture him as he grows up, showing the family so far away how he was as a baby bump, then what a beautiful newborn he was, how the cheekiness blossomed as the leaves fell in autumn, and then this session when the sun shone in the winter on the Southbank in London.
This is the age that RUNS. Fleet as the fox on his jumper. It can take you by surprise how quickly they change, from tentative steps, to brave toddling, to full on races around the London Eye.
Running + young legs = falling over = dirty knees within the first 10 minutes. His mum, knowing her son, loving every part of him, especially the adventurer part, brushes him down and laughs, “boys will be boys.”
Look closely in his eyes. There I am. He has the measure of me already. That little arched eyebrow is around planning his next escape.
I call for backup. First attempt is the toy car held at a distance. Then toy car clasped in his hand. But he is still keen to wiggle. So we bring in the big guns. Mum and Dad.
They will always be the bookends in his life, the safe arms around his life story, the tickles, the cuddles that bring out that toothy toddler grin. Just as in all of my favourite family portraits, the parents provide the frame and their kids are the subject, the beating heart of every picture I take.
But it’s not too long before we tog him up and set him free. Dad always just by his side, offering his hand, laughing when it isn’t taken. Not offended, but proud to see him stride off on his own.
When you’re a little adventurer, even the smallest steps can seem like a mountainside.
But he made the descent without incident and a big smile.
Next job – dance to the scattered notes of a busking clarinetist. Or maybe he was just making a get-away with that bright, shiny pound coin clamped in his hand. He gave it up to the busker. Eventually.
Wind in his hair, sun on his face, pure joy in his expression.
Bright pink nose, mouth full of bubbles, sometimes the most revealing portraits don’t rely on picture perfect posing. This little display continued for a full 5 minutes. It is his party trick. He is EXCELLENT at blowing bubbles. He was not shy about showing me.
He’s a playful little tease. When your mum puckers up for a kiss, it’s just funnier to plant your chin on her face instead.
There’s no better way to finish a session than on the galloping horses of a carousel. Why? Because you can keep him happy, keep him whizzing round, but safely in one place – held close to her heart, looked at with love by him.
I’d love to explore the city where you live with the family you love. Want to join me? Here’s how.