Now, be honest. How old is too old to go out trick-or-treating? I could pop a hat on the dog and use her cuteness to extort sweets from the neighbours, but I fear they would see through that. Especially because I’ll have a gob full of fizzy laces and a mouth smeared with toblerone.
It just wasn’t this way when I was younger, when I could have legitimately gone out, covered in a sheet, and passed myself off as a ghoulish ghost. We didn’t indulge in Halloween the way they did in America. All you could do was watch E.T. to marvel at the effort they all went to, and the sweets the kids/aliens collected.
But like a creeping grey mist, the all out celebrations have drifted across the Atlantic and settled on our shores. I’m pretty happy about that. Obvioulsy jealous that it passed my childhood by, but very happy to see it now encourage some dressing up, acting out and good-hearted tom-foolery about the place. Kids are always keen to play and pretend, so when you introduce some face paints and a dressing up box, it’s great to stand back and watch their imagination roar. I think it brings the very best out of them. They twinkle a bit brighter when they are free to imagine themselves as cowboys, woodland beasts, growling dogs and spooky skeletons.
Here are a couple of cousins, dressed up to the nines, prowling around the Surrey woodland, scaring their parents, but delighting them too. I’ve found that if you let kids, they will give you everything of who they are in a photograph. The growls, scowls and grumps. Together with the laughter, sparkle and fun. It’s all there in them. You just have to be able to see it.
In all the sessions I photograph, I’m looking to create something a little different for you. Something that reveals kids as they are, and who they will be in the future. I’m looking for real expression, honest character, amplified and captured forever in an image. Because posed and cute, is really just that. I want something altogether more unique, less generic, shaped around the subject, not imposed and enforced. And I think that sense of play, of imagination, with a focus on telling the story of family characters makes what I do so worthwhile. I want to create family photography that matters.
If that sounds like something you would like for your own family, you best let me know. Because your story is changing all the time, and I want to tell all of the chapters for you.