Sunday, 25 September 2011

A Disgraceful Photo Shoot

We moved into our house nearly four years ago and most of the walls are still bare.  It's not down to laziness.  Well, it's not entirely down to laziness.  It's because I refuse to have anything on my walls that I don't love.  If a piece of art is a treasured gift or something passed down via older members of the family, or something we found in a junk shop and loved, or was done by a friend, then it fulfils my strict criteria.  Photographs are even harder.  Richard and I got married in 2007, but we still don't have a wedding album and the only wedding photos we have on display are a treasured few taken by my oldest friend who is a photographer (but couldn't take many photos on the day because she was on bridesmaid duty).  I'm crippled by indecision and by not loving the official photographs enough.  They're beautiful and our wedding photographer did a great job, but there's something missing that I can't quite put my finger on, and that's why I still haven't got around to making an album or getting them framed.

Likewise, we have hundreds - perhaps thousands - of pictures of Rory, but they've never made it to the wall. Visitors to my house may be forgiven for thinking that I don't care about family enough to have them on display, but it's exactly the opposite - they're just not perfect enough.

With this in mind, I decided that a family photo shoot may be the only way forward.  Now, when I talk about photographs not being perfect enough, I'm not talking about the lighting or the focus  or the expressions on our faces.  What I mean is that nothing quite seems to capture us as we really are, and I knew that nothing taken in an impersonal studio would capture us either.  Rich and I are very very silly and when two silly people get married and have a child, the child comes out silly.  Rory has laughed constantly since he was a few weeks old.  In fact, the three of us rarely stop laughing.  Our days are filled with funny faces, chasing around the house after each other and general messing about.  Our days are not filled with tidiness and order or routine or beautiful clothes or any other Cath Kidston perfect version of family life.  We are unruly.  We have uncontrollable hair.  We are not what one could ever call 'picture perfect'.

Enter Hannah Millard, a photographer whose work I have followed for quite a while. I've watched her raw talent grow and grow into something really rather special, and I knew that she was the perfect person to capture my family in all our domestic disgrace.  She's quirky and original and her beautiful wedding photographs and portraits are full of happiness and character.  We emailed back and forth for a few weeks, throwing around ideas for our collaboration, eventually emerging with a picnic theme with a difference.  An enormous, messy, disgraceful difference.  I won't say any more, I'll just leave you to look at some of the photos safe in the knowledge that our once bare walls are now spoilt for choice:

What do we think the odds are of Rory flinging a scone at a waitress next time we have lunch in a cafe?

Have a look at some of Hannah Millard's other beautiful work here and read her blog here.  Do it.  I can't recommend her enough.


  1. I adore these photos, they really made me smile! Hannah is a photo legend :).


  2. These photos are absolutely beautiful :) I think the one of you and Rich lying down on the blanket really captures your happiness.

    You should put them all on the walls!!

  3. That is indeed Les the Meerkat face down on a scone.

    I'm currently working out how to fit as many of the photos as possible on the wall.

  4. This is ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i am in love with this style of photography!! love it so much i'm going to tweet and facebook it right NOW. xx

  5. these are really beautiful photos.

    I particularly love Rory getting a kiss from his dad and you two lying down, hugging, and then Rory in the tree.

    mission accomplished. I think they're spot on, and so full of love, happiness and silliness

  6. ohh Lise (and Hannah!) they are brilliant!