There's something special about photographing friends and family. It feels good and making them smile, bringing joy to them, is something wonderful. It captures the reason behind why I photograph.
I feel very strongly about photographs that move people and about printing your photographs. When printed, they become more than an image on a screen and they have a life of themselves. There's something about a physical, tangible object that makes a big difference to how we see it, feel about it and treat it.
This is one of the reasons I also love to work with film. You have a physical object when you release the shutter and allow light to interact with the film emulsion. It's like magic, happening in your hands. It needs to be looked after and treated properly before it is able to be used and enjoyed. This is all a bit esoteric but to some, myself included, it really does make a difference.
The photo above captures people I care about and preserves this moment of them together for them to enjoy. The mother and son on the right, left the next day to return to their new home overseas. This was at a farewell braai (South African for barbeque) for them. I've known them for over 15 years. There is one son missing. He was my best friend and died young, at the age of 24. Being at this farewell was extremely meaningful and moving - it will be the last time I am at that house since it's been sold. So many memories will go along with it to the new owners. This house really was a large part of my childhood.
Making portraits like this of people I care about brings me joy and, I hope, joy to those I photograph. It's sad that people take photographs for granted. I blame the double-edged sword that is online photo sharing: an amazing way to share and communicate with images but at the same time a way to overwhelm yourself with images to the point they become visual noise.
Try the following if you can: Take a picture of someone you love this week. Print it out. Hold the print in your hands or hang it on the wall. Smile.