Point of View: Alice Chapman

This week Cambridge, UK based photographer Alice Chapman is sharing her documentary family photography point of view along with her photographs:

One of the many joys of real life family photography for me is capturing the individual. Inside the family unit, when not homogenized by matching outfits, there in plain sight are wonderfully individual personalities. And while I’m drawn to document and celebrate our common experiences of parenting, childhood, and the wonderful mess in the middle that is family, I’m especially drawn to the things that are different about us.

I’m drawn to people who are comfortable doing things their own way, even if they’re too young to even realize it. To be comfortable in your own skin and to have the courage to be your true self is a beautiful thing.

I’m fascinated by how lifelong personality traits can be captured at all ages. In documenting mannerisms, the way we smile or hold our hands still or our micro expressions, we see details that can tell so much about a person. I love to photograph quirks and funny-peculiar things because to do that is to accept those things and champion that person’s individuality.

So much of the imagery that we and our children see every day is about being the same, fitting in, aspiring to be like others who are very far from real themselves. As a kid, I didn’t like being told what to do, naturally! But as I got older I remember starting to feel very strongly about things like school uniforms, and the space to be yourself whilst fitting in with everything else, seemed to get smaller and smaller.

As a parent and a photographer I see huge value in celebrating the individual. I’m probably most drawn to individual kids doing things that break the mould – going against the grain and pushing boundaries. Sometimes my favorite photos like this are funny, sometimes they’re strong and sometimes they’re tender. But hopefully, if I’ve managed to capture what I saw in that moment, they’ll always champion the kid who isn’t afraid to be themselves.

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