Posts Tagged ‘child portraiture’

Rock star photographer

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

When I was a kid I thought our family photographer was the same guy I heard singing on the radio. His name was Ron Stewart. I was only 3 or 4 and I thought it was incredible that he had these two different jobs.

I loved going to see him because he had this vast space (for a toddler) with a bunch of odd things in it, like tiny bird cages, old stuffed animals, fancy kid-sized furniture, and soft lamplight on dark walls that made it very cozy.

His method was to let children wander in this cabinet de curiosités and photograph them while they did it. Distracting parents waited outside (in today’s paranoid times that probably doesn’t happen much). At some point he would pose you, I know because we have the photos, but in my memory it was the time I spent wandering and discovering that stayed with me. In one session I found a teensy toy chick that I held in my hand the entire time. It was so soft. I wanted to keep it forever. I don’t know if he let me take it with me. That must have happened a lot.

Decades later, I still remember this day.

Decades later, I still remember this day.

I thought about Ron Stewart recently when I was photographing children hiding in the studios at 59 rue de Rivoli here in Paris. They were participating in making a clip for the Pharrell Williams song Happy. Observing the boy below, and his reaction to the disco ball sparkling in the sun reminded me of that little chick. If it were my disco ball, I would let him take it home.

Discovery in Suisse Marrocain’s cabinet de curiosités.