Mother and Child

A few weeks ago I was (street) shooting on the Downtown Mall—a restored historic district and pedestrian mall here in Charlottesville that never fails to provide great subject-matter. I’d been (what I call) photo-wandering for a couple of hours when I noticed several people at outdoor café-type tables enjoying pizza and immediately caved in to my baser instincts (that’s the part of you that doesn’t care how many fat calories there are in a huge slice of pizza.)

The restaurant where the pizza came from is called Christian’s Pizza—go to for more information.

I’ve had their pizza before and it’s always excellent but (in a sense) it’s always leftover pizza. The way they prepare their pizzas is they cook a large variety of pies with wonderful toppings and set them out for people to look at (how long they sit out I don’t know). People walk by, spot something they want and say and say—“Yeah—that one—gimme a slice of that one.” The counter staff person then takes a slice (or however many you want) and slides it into a hot, waiting pizza oven and warms it up. Unless you arrive as a pie is coming out of the oven or specifically ask for a freshly made pie—you’re always getting re-heated (in effect) left-over pie.

That being said—its still good pizza and I went inside to buy a slice.

While I’m waiting for my slice to be re-heated I notice a beautiful young mother sitting at a booth holding her baby. The expression on her face of absolutely pure love for her child was classic—mothers all over the world have that expression on their faces as they regard their children. Neanderthal mothers 100,000 years ago probably had that same expression on their faces as they held their babies. I saw a beautiful picture just waiting to be taken.

You never know how people are going to react when you approach them on the street. Typically if you’re polite, respectful, pleasant and breezy the great majority of people don’t mind you taking their picture.

But there is that 2 or 3 percent that will look at you like you’re some sort of pervert—I’ve had people become openly hostile despite asking as nicely as I know how. I have also learned when you ask someone and they “hem and haw” and hesitate it means NO. I wish them a great day and leave immediately.

I walk up to this lovely lady and compliment her on her adorable baby and give my standard line in situations like this which is something like, “Hi, my name’s Holen—I’m an old retired guy whose hobby is street photography and you look like a great subject—I couldn’t help but notice…” then you refer to something specific like their reading a paper, walking their dog, bouncing a ball, looking in a store window, talking on a cell phone—whatever. And ask if you could take their picture.

Then if I don’t get the evil eye I explain I generally put these pic.s on my website and give them the web address.

This beautiful mom is delighted at my interest and turns her child to face the camera for a classic portrait. I get a few shots then ask her to hold and look at her child the way she was when I first noticed her—she does and I get an image that is timeless, sweet and magnificent.

A few days after the capture I got an email from her very pleasant husband—Kenneth—who walked up as I was shooting—who asks when I’ll post the photos. I explained I was finishing up a 6 part story series and the image(s) will be up in a few days but, so he won’t have to wait, I immediately send him copies of the image(s) I’ll be using.

That’s the story of how I found this delightful, touching picture. Hope you enjoy it.

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4 Responses to “Mother and Child”

  1. Larry Blackwood Says:

    Nicely done, love the glowing skin.

  2. orion Says:

    Thank you kind sir–you’re a scholar and a gentleman.

  3. Christina & Ken Says:

    What a wonderful Picture. Thank you so much….Christina and Ken

  4. orion Says:

    You’re most welcome Ken–I’ll send a note on regular email in a bit. Orion

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