Looking in on the lives of others
I love getting a chance to capture a connection between people, and Camilla’s love for her little girl Edith just makes this picture. The flamboyants and oleander in the background offer the perfect backdrop to a perfect moment.
Edith lives with her Swedish mother and English/Italian father on the island of Nevis in the West Indies – quite how many passports she is entitled to i’m not sure but she definitely has one of the more diverse backgrounds and upbringings of any little girl! She may prefer splashing in water to playing on the sand for now, but I’m confident a Caribbean childhood will result in a fellow beach lover…
“Whoever said ‘never work with dogs or children’ clearly hadn’t met the right dogs.”
Chip, with his shaggy black and white coat, is as much a part of the landscape of the Lakes as the drystone walls that line the hillsides and march resolutely over mountaintops. This is where working sheepdogs duck and leap on the highest peaks, responding to their master’s mysterious echoing whistles as they round up sheep – gather, divide, gather, divide.
I rowed with Steph in a double years ago, ‘Bitter’ written on my back and ‘Twisted’ on hers. She met Alex while studying for a PhD in Law at Warwick University, and when they married in the Lake District I drove them around the area I knew so well and found the perfect photograph locations. It just so happened that a snap I took to pass the time turned out to be the shot of the day.
Robin is my brother and Sheila is now his wife. Obsessive climbers and mountaineers, they live in the far north of Scotland. He will always be the guy against whom all others are measured, even if he does insist on calling me ‘Basil’ in homage to our childhood favourite Fawlty Towers.
“Big, powerful, knock-you-off-your-feet hugs that mean ‘oh, how I missed you!'”
Married on a beach near Polbain in the far north west of Scotland, Robin and Sheila’s wedding was the one that made everyone attending wish for just such a perfect day to call their own. The sun shone, a dolphin played in the bay, and it was fairytale faultless. Sheila’s kindness and warmth and addictive optimism are everything that Robin ever needed: I don’t think there was a dry eye on the beach as they finally said ‘I do’.
I find taking photographs of people one of the hardest but most rewarding challenges. Vivacious Mel is a wedding photographer, a people person who brings light and laughter into the most stressful situations. Down in Cornwall, I introduced her to my world of capturing landscapes and here we switched roles for a moment.
Wispa, a beautiful, intelligent and loving German Shorthaired Pointer, joined Mel and I as we explored the Cornish coastline. Wispa’s favourite things are chasing seagulls, finding remnants of balls (which she will pleadingly lay at your feet, wide eyes asking for the soggy scrap to be thrown for her), and hugs. Big, powerful, knock-you-off-your-feet hugs that mean ‘oh, how I missed you!’
“…fields in Yorkshire that are drenched in bluebells – and the perfect addition to any such scene is two gorgeous little girls.”
A German Shorthaired Pointer, Wispa is loaded with energy and personality. An absolutely stunning dog, she draws a crowd wherever she goes – not that she’s interested, mind, unless there’s the chance of a ball being thrown.
I am very lucky that my friend John married Nikki – and even luckier whenever I return to the UK, I am able to spend some time with Sienna and her sister Gabriella. In addition to being a family that is invariably camping, climbing or cycling, they have a ridiculously comfy sofa and are never without a bottle of Prosecco: frankly, they’re role models without even knowing it.
If I’m back in England in May, there are fields in Yorkshire that are drenched in bluebells – and the perfect addition to any such scene is two gorgeous little girls.
“As if taking photos of dogs isn’t hard enough, capturing them in the Christmas Spirit is well nigh impossible.”
Gabriella has drawn me pictures for my fridge, helped me build a block of bricks six feet high, and laughed at all the right times when I read her bedtime stories. I held her the day after she was born, and she is the little girl who made me realise how everyone is born brimming with possibilities and dreams. I am honoured to be watching from the wings, in awestruck silence more often than not, as she smiles her way through life.
Whoever said ‘never work with dogs or children’ clearly hadn’t met the right dogs. Chip, a gentle Sheepdog, has a long-suffering air about him whenever Polly the Labrador appears: she is the goofy one of the duo, her cheeky personality perfectly captured here near Hawkshead.
As if taking photos of dogs isn’t hard enough, capturing them in the Christmas Spirit is well nigh impossible. It involves patience, a bucketload of treats, and more takes than I care to remember: this exquisite duo finally compromised and posed for a seasonal snap.
“The sun shone, a dolphin played in the bay, and it was fairytale faultless.”
Facing stiff competition, Hugo still manages to hang onto his title of Most Handsome Dog here on Nevis. He loves sitting solemnly atop kayaks and paddle boards, digging chest-deep into the sand in pursuit of crabs, and playing on the beach. Hugo is one of the friendliest, happiest dogs I’ve ever met, and I grab any excuse to hang out with him for a few hours.