As a wedding and portrait photographer I spent a “lot” of my life (naturally) around images, and once in a while you get an image from a photoshoot that’s destined to become a “signature image”.
What’s a signature image?
Basically, it’s a photograph that defines your style and it’s generally one that stands the test of time . This is the story of one such image …..
For this particular photo-shoot I’d been asked by the client to visit her house and take photographs of her little boy. I always take time to make sure that the child’s used to having a stranger in the house, and never start the shoot immediately (anyway, I normally get a coffee and biscuits!).
After 15 minutes or so we started the shoot, making sure that he treated it as a game and had fun – because that’s when you get the best, the most spontaneous reactions from children … when they’re relaxed and enjoying themselves! He was quite a bundle of energy, so once we’d got a good selection of images Mum suggested that we go into the garden, and although it was a cool overcast day I just knew we’d get something really good – but I didn’t realise quite how good it would be! 🙂
The garden had a swing and a slide and we got some shots there, but the neighbour’s fence panel had broken away and I noticed a very cute, Black Labrador sticking his nose under the panel. He’d been left alone in the garden and heard the activity next door and decided to investigate, but then moved away. The little boy had seen him and went up to investigate but the dog had gone!
Several times over the next 15 minutes or so the dog re-appeared and then disappeared – each time the boy went over, but every time he was too late! He even laid down on the path trying to peer under the panel (and I’ve got that shot as well), but the dog wasn’t going to play! 🙁
By this time we’d just about reached the limit of the boy’s attention and were about to call it a day when, suddenly, the dog reappeared! The boy rushed over, sat down and for a brief moment their eyes met – and I got the shot! Seconds later the dog moved away and the moment had gone.
So, what is it about this image that brings so many comments from people when I show it on my stand at events?
Well, for a start it’s got two of the pre-requisites for anything with an “aahh” factor – a child and a dog. But I think there’s a lot more to it than that –
There’s a sadness in the dog’s eyes, a longing to be with company – and then there’s the look on the boy’s face, a tenderness. It’s an image of two souls separated by something that’s immovable, and I think that’s where its special quality lies.
This photograph will continue to be shown wherever I exhibit, and I’ve no doubt it’ll garner even more “oohs” and “aahs” as the years progress!
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