A Child In The Landscape

It has been months since I updated this blog.  Summer has been and gone and with it my best intentions to keep up a regular supply of new photography!  

I have an excuse, though. I am a grandfather. What a privilege!  

This surprisingly beautiful Irish summer will long be remembered in our family for the explosion of energy and joy, the flurry of arms and legs, the bouncing curls and dancing eyes of sweet Eliza.

Grandaughter In Frame

I tend to capture landscapes that are people free.  Unless the inclusion of a human figure helps to provide a sense of scale or has a particular connection to the landscape I wait until I have the scene to myself.  

But I've discovered that a grandchild brings something very special and universal to landscape photography: particular emotions, an evocation of memories, the viewpoint of a child, a sense of innocence and wonder that we so quickly lose.  

First, there was the fun of announcing her arrival.  All it took was a simple image of one of the symbols of childhood in these parts: a bucket on a beach.

A Bucket On The Beach - Gilbert Lennox

(In case you are wondering why the seawater is so brown, it often is along our shores where rivers flow into the sea, carrying water from the peat bogs high in the glens.) 

The next step was to wait until my granddaughter posed obligingly beside the bucket.

Irish Beach Wear

Anyone looking at this in Florida will wonder how a little girl on a beach on a sunny day would need to be dressed like this.  

Granny’s winter knitting was very necessary!

Remember - this is Ireland, almost at its northernmost point.  

The photo gave me an idea.  

The Power Of Symbols

For me, this is my granddaughter.  But because we cannot see her face, for everyone who doesn't know she becomes a little girl, representative of every little girl.  

A symbol of childhood.  And rather than looking at her, we are looking with her, seeing what she is seeing, especially as I was shooting from her eye level, not mine.  

And that perhaps takes us on our own little journey.  The first time we saw the sea; the first time we took our children to the sea.  When all of life is about that single moment: a moment of wonder.

From then on, while I took many photos of her from a variety of angles, I sought on most occasions to get down to her level (not always easy when you are 60!) and capture what she was seeing.  

Innocence and Wonder Gilbert Lennox

Amongst the many scenes captured during this best of summers, this is my favourite.  I call it - you guessed it - "Innocence and Wonder".


Matthew Thompson