I don’t usually do this but I’m going to take an opportunity to analyze one of my recent images of which I am especially proud. The image above is the perfect example of what I try to do with my photography… there were a few images with similar elements that I produced at Alexandra’s baptism (which took place at Halifax’s Greek Orthodox Church), but this one made my heart leap. First it has several layers within it, which is a hallmark of photojournalism. There are the religious sponsors holding the baby and the candle together with the Priest, who is conducting the ceremony. If you take a second look at them you’ll notice the baby is touching the book, and the Priest smiles as he allows her to do so, a nice moment in and of itself. But then in the right background the grandmother snaps a shot herself, and in the left background the mother looks on, hands clasped showing both her anxiousness over the ceremony and perhaps the strange feeling of someone else holding your baby at an important event. Beside her, the father kisses the older brother of the baby, the family showing their support and solidarity. This moment took place at the dark front of the church, as at the beginning of the Greek baptism the baby is cleansed of any evil spirits and they are released from the church at the doors. However, it was shot using ambient light only. The candle light beautifully lit the faces of those closest to it. This shot was one of a few I took with a similar composition; I was drawn to the semi-circle in the background that formed almost a halo around the godmother’s head. I also wanted the candle to show up against a darker part of the image rather than the lighter background that was created when I had the rest of the church as the background. The baby’s family is also pleasingly framed in the square hallway opening. I positioned myself so all of these things happened, I took a few shots and the grandmother and father both suddenly did something in this one that helped to create even more interest in the rest of the image. These are moments that don’t happen all the time… it’s rare that all ‘stars’ align in this way without someone closing their eyes or walking through the frame, so for me it is an exciting moment to see everything come together with such warm creamy skin tones and beautiful jewel tones in the background as well.
OK, enough photographer speak! Hope you enjoy the rest of the images, I was also delighted to capture Alexandra falling asleep in the midst of the ceremony, all of the children who are allowed to watch the Priest closely, and the proud looks of Mommy and Daddy. Thank you to Sotiria for being patient and keeping after me to photograph your family, it’s been a couple of years in the making and I hope well worth the wait! I thoroughly enjoy being allowed to witness and document so closely a ceremony that is rich with tradition, symbolism and meaning in an incredibly awe-inspiring space. And congratulations to Alexandra Sofia and her family, see you again soon