Half of the stock that I am made from is GEORDIE flavoured.
My maternal grandmother gutted herring on the banks of North Shields fish quay, and I love that part of me is made up with this fascinating piece of history. Not only did the late and great Minnie Hutchinson work all her life (she had to go and get married in her lunch break) she also bore a lot of children, crazy quantities by today’s standards, but nearer the norm then.
|The Don Herself.|
Having 7 children (6 survived) meant that I grew up with a traditionally large Geordie family. I love working for large families in my studio, and find myself relating to the children who have many cousins and aunties and uncles. As that is how I remember my own childhood.
|5 of the sisters, with Grandma. We think Aunty Avril was taking the picture.|
I can remember regular visits to Grandma’s, at which me and my sister were lavished with huge amounts of sweets (Grandma thought my Mam’s idea of giving us sugar free diets was just “stupid”) and bizarrely fridge-chilled crisps (to keep them “fresh”). It was at these visits Grandma kept the whole family informed of everyone else’s news. Keeping in touch with the whole family together was more of a seasonal occasion, saved for Christmases and birthdays. We’d have big family trips out to places in the North East, or head to “One of the Aunties”. Large buffets where everyone chipped in a few plates produced a varied smorgasbord of party treats. Me and the cousins would usually sneak small bowls of this food and go and play in a part of the host’s house that was off-limits. This usually consisted of criminal activities like finding Aunty Beryl’s rollers, jumping on Aunty Avril’s bed, or transforming a zed bed at my Mam’s house into a huge slide (said zed bed was of course broken). We were always encouraged to show off our talents at these events. I can recall tap dancing on a plank of wood in a living room one year, and jamming with a keyboard and recorder at another with my saxophone. As a bunch of 6 sisters, the aunties themselves were prone to bursting into song, and these performances were usually led by the notorious Aunty Betty, who was always cracking jokes, bursting into song and leaping into dance – which we children naturally found hysterical.
|Rocking out at my 2nd Birthday Tea Party|
As the group of cousins grew up, we all set off on our own paths. We have Managers, a Fireman, Fishermen, a Naval Engineer, a Dancer turned Pilates Teacher, an IT guru, a full time Mammy, and me, the photographer in the family. And as the hands of time “tick tocked” on, we now have the beginnings of the next generation! With two new babies at the same time arriving into our family, I simply had to get the camera out.
Baby ISLA MAY BIGGS
|Baby John (We Think)|
|That’s John on the Space Hopper|
Baby Isla arrived at 01:58 on 4th October 2012. She is the new twig on the Aunty Glen and Uncle Jackie branch of the tree. They had John & Richard, and Isla is John’s daughter. He married the lovely Kerrie.
Isla is, so far, a very delicate and graceful baby, she was very calm and quiet when we did her photo-shoot at the studio. I couldn’t resist imposing my strange musings to dress her up in some old lady pearls. (I love making babies look like old people).
Baby MAX WILLIAM ANDERSON
|Lindsay grabbing some cake and chill time at my 3rd Birthday Party|
Baby Max arrived at 07:42 on 19th October 2012. Max has sprouted from the Aunty Beryl branch of the tree. Aunty Beryl married Uncle George, and they had Judy. Judy had Lindsay and Samantha, then Jessica.
Lindsay fell in love with the cheeky Paul, and they had Max. Max blew me away with his strength. He was already pushing nearly his full weight on his legs, and had no trouble at all in holding his head up and resting on his arms. Very alert and active, I reckon he will be a “full of beans” boy. He is also the double of his Daddy!
With two technically similar photo shoots, with babies only two weeks apart in age, you can see how different the photography came out. This is one of my most favourite parts of family photography, no two sessions are ever the same.
Even when the family trees have grown from the same roots.