Photography is very subjective. Art is subjective in general. But there are techniques, processes and approaches that contribute to any art being perceived as “good”.

In photography, I find the most important aspect in a photo is intent.

What is my picture trying to say about the moment I captured?

Sometimes, it doesn’t become clear to the viewer instantly – or ever. That means my intent might have been good but the execution failed to follow through. That’s why a critical review of my own work is so important!

As every year, I took a lot of photos in 2023. A lot for my clients and quite a few for myself too. By continuing my Project 365, I keep improving my skills, the way I see moments and how I edit the final image.

Because I photograph so much, it’s not easy to pick my favourites from the year. Through an elimination process, I can narrow down my picks bit by bit – that usually happens over the span of a few days. The final 10 images get printed because once I have a photo in my hand, it gets another layer of weight and importance.

As part of choosing my favourite 5 photos, I also want to make sure these images have a thread going through them to reveal a theme or a feeling. There’s usually a word that sticks out when combining the images in groups. I’ll let you know what that word is for 2023 at the end of this article.

But first, let me share my favourite photos from 2023 individually.

My 5 favourite photos of 2023

Bath time

5faves - bath time

This little girl was 2 months old when I met her. She’s had a hard time pooping (keeping it real 😆) so her parents tried everything to calm her body and help her with it. One of the things they did was give her a warm bath. The faces she made while being tricked with warm water were just delicious.

The reason why I picked this image as one of my favourites is that the focus is on her but we can see that her parents are close by, looking after her, comforting her. I have a thing for showing a hint of presence of another person to add to a story and moment.


5faves - consoling

Little kids get upset over the tiniest things – without putting any judgment on those feelings. But we all know how quickly moods can change. Having a parent be close by to give a comforting hug, a kiss and an ear to listen usually helps resolve the issue quickly.

This is what I see here. The care of a mother without any judgment of what has happened. And I love the closeness of this moment. I usually get quite close to my subjects if they let me. It helps the viewer feel like they’re in the moment with the subject and creates a kind of intimacy that can’t be achieved when watching from a distance.

Runny nose

5faves - runny nose

B had a bit of a cold and a runny nose on the day we went pumpkin picking in September. As a parent, you can’t keep up with chasing a toddler with a tissue. Sometimes the thumb will have to do.

I love the authenticity and realness of this moment. Raising kids is not always pretty. It’s messy and dirty and chaotic and I’m a firm believer and advocate to share moments that are honest rather than trying to look perfect on the outside, just to be eaten up by doubt, worry and guilt on the inside that we’re the only ones not having it all together. Because nobody does – some people are just better at pretending.

I’m here to document runny noses, dribble stains and dirty clothes. This is what real life looks like – and no matter how messy it is, it is beautiful.

A family portrait

5faves - closeness

This is the same little girl as the one in Bath Time. She and her parents were such a joy to photograph. It’s so clear to see how much they adore their daughter. The dad would constantly get so close to her face, trying to comfort her when something was wrong.

What I really love about this shot is her little eyes staring at me with this unhappy look on her face while dad is trying to cheer her up. It’s not a stand-out moment but it’s something I witnessed multiple times throughout this session and his joy of looking after this tiny human is so obvious that I can feel the comfort in this closeness.

Adventure boy

5faves - adventure boy

This boy is Lee’s second cousin. He’s only 4 and so smart and brave. His 8 year-old sister inspires him to do things other 4 year-olds might not yet try. So he climbs up on the big climbing frame by himself.

The way this image is shot, looking up at him, portrays him as this adventure boy who is out discovering new things.

The hand on the left side is his mum’s – always there to catch him if needed. There’s trust, comfort and connection in this image for me. That’s why it stood out to me this year.

My word of the year when it comes to my photographic work

The word that toes all these images together for me is COMFORT.

To me, comfort isn’t always presented through physical closeness. Sometimes it’s just the knowledge that someone will catch you if you fall. And sometimes it’s the hug, the kiss and the words that are being said. Comfort has different faces.

What word comes to your mind when you look at these images? Do you see something different?

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