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Work / Photography

Photographer Emma Hardy captures the tender and quirky moments of family life

Emma Hardy has a client list bursting with big names including British Vogue, _Canon, Airbnb, Paul Smith, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and a cascade of others. It’s her personal portfolio that we instantly warmed to though, with a series of images that capture the raw and tender moments of family life.

Day-to-day for her commercial projects, Emma photographs digitally, and reserves shooting on film for her personal work, preferring its physicality. Documenting her loves ones, Emma adopts an involved approach to taking photographs. “I’m not an intruder or even a witness. I’m a participant in the moment with the people I’m photographing,” explains Emma. “There’s a complete short-cut to honesty, a lack of contrivance, and I love waiting for that split second when people – and animals – fall into their own grace, naturally and instinctively.”

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Emma Hardy

Her children, who we see stacked up in various poses, on holiday and just hanging out, have also learnt to adapt to Emma’s lens. “Since taking pictures of my family is something that everyone is completely at ease with, they understand that if I raise my camera, it’s because something is happening and all I’m doing is catching it, so they know not to alter themselves or adjust what they’re doing,” she says. “Sometimes I push it too far though, and eyes start rolling. Generally though I’m pretty swift.”

Emma’s images feel refreshing and mischievous, with each of her subjects playing an important role. Through composition and atmosphere, she makes a conscious effort not to take picture that repeat others, or in places that have been photographed a lot. “Unless I feel there’s a fresh angle, perhaps something less noticed,” she adds. “I love trying to catch subtlety and the sweet humanness of the indecisive moment.”

There’s a beautiful interplay between the loud and quiet moments in the series and the use of light and shadow complements these contrasts. “I love how light and shadow dramatise a moment,” she says. “How they can reveal things that are usually unnoticed. How they intensify, beautify, and elevate things. Even the most banal places and ordinary events become enchanted in certain lights.”

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