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On Being Boring

I moved from London to Brussels with my husband nearly 10 years ago. When I told people we were moving, the news was greeted with bemusement: why did we want to move to a city that was possibly the most boring place on earth? Ten years later and I can honestly say that I've had more fun here than I ever did living in London. It might not be the most exciting city in the world but it is a fantastic place to live. It is full of hidden treasures that you probably never get to see as a tourist: wonderful shops, amazing food, great museums and galleries, beautiful architecture, a forest (yes, a whole forest), and so much more... And if that doesn't convince you, well, get on a train and you could be in Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne or, yes, London in no more than a couple of hours... Which other city can you say that about?

On Reflection

I got a reflector for Christmas. I’ve tried mastering the flash as a means of overcoming harsh overhead lights (or midday sun in the summer) but I’m a simple girl at heart and all those extra buttons and settings to learn were just too much for my little head. Not to mention that I never actually remembered to pack my flash (or, when I did, to include extra batteries and its remote cable). So while I still love exploring and playing with flash lighting, I needed a far more low-tech solution for everyday use. And that’s where the reflector comes in. Hanno got me a fantastic one for Christmas. It folds up to the size of a side plate but, in use, it expands to the dimensions of a child’s paddling pool. It has a reversible cover with a black side, a silver side, a white side and a gold side. And without the cover on, it can be used as a diffusor. I’ve been playing around with it quite a bit since Christmas day and wondering, increasingly, how I ever survived without it. All of my playing, however, has involved various teddy bears and dolls because I didn’t want to bore any of my long-suffering family members any more than necessary. Then, last night, I cracked. I just had to see how it would perform with real people. So I bribed Charlie and Amélie to sit on the table right below one of our really strong halogen spot lights. I still have to master holding my camera and the reflector at the same time and was therefore struggling quite a bit. This made my sensitive, caring children feel very sorry for me indeed, as you can tell by the fit of giggles that ensued…So yes, in the end, this was the only picture I got that was in focus, but boy do I love it, scratched nose, food-encrusted chin, and all. I love their closeness and complicity. I love how their heads fit together. I love their laughter. I love Amélie’s mismatched teeth. I love how she holds him and how he leans on her. I love their curly messy hair. I love that one little finger caught in the sleeve of her t-shirt. I love his chubby cheeks and the freckles that you can just about see on her face. And I love how there is light in her eyes and no dark shadows from the overhead light. I love my reflector, but not as much as I love them.

30 December 2013 - 4:11 PM Ingrid - Absolutely beautiful. When you capture emotion like means absolutely everything. This is what I love about photography as I too learn to play with buttons I try to force myself to remember that it's this that I will always treasure most. xxoo Oh those two.

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