Ten favourite photographs

I was flattered to be asked by Robert Catto to present 10 of my favourite photographs from the last year to a group of photographers at a GRINZ (Group of Remarkable Image-makers of New Zealand) get-together last night, and thought I'd share the ones I chose. It was an interesting exercise to look back over the year's work with the aim of narrowing it down to 10 favourites: I should do this each year! It makes you look at your work in a new light, not just because you're hoping it'll stand up against the work of the other photographers who are presenting, but also because you need to think about why each one made the cut. It was quite cool to be able to choose some that would probably be tossed aside if entered in competitions. They mean something to me, and I'm the judge here!

This one I chose simply because it makes me laugh. And a photo that provokes an emotional response is a good one in my book! The little one started it and her older sisters joined in with enthusiasm. I particularly love the mournful expression of the wee girl on the left.

I just love how beautiful their hands look in this shot! The lighting sculpts them so nicely (they did have attractive hands to start with, it must be said). And I think Rebecca's tattoo adds so much to the photo: not only does it make it unmistakably Rebecca and Brian, but I like the way it fits into the composition. I'm really not into photos where parents make little heart shapes out of their hands over a pregnant belly and so on. I like that this photo conveys love and connection without being cheesy.

Jenna and Dylan were keen to do their bridal party photos at a hilltop stone circle just out of Masterton. It's an awesome place but the lead car took a wrong turn while we were looking for it, and we drove past this old barn. After the stone circle photos I managed to persuade Jenna and Dylan to return to the barn just for five minutes before we returned to the reception, and we got a series of gorgeous photos that ended up being some of their favourites. I love the delicate way he's touching her here: heaps of chemistry between these two!

This is actually from a shoot just two days ago. I had two family sessions and despite retiring from a Friday dinner party early so that I'd be fresh and raring to go, I awoke with a splitting headache that made me nauseous (no, it wasn't a hangover, thank you very much!). I dosed up on Nurofen and the first shoot went well until I slipped on a steep bit in our garden and went flat on my back, whacking my head on a planter box. I also possibly hit my camera but I am trying hard not to think about that second noise I heard! So I was starting to think it just really wasn't my day, but then Shona and Steve arrived with this little doll, Abigail. She'd just slept in the car and she smiled her way through the whole shoot, and simply couldn't have been more responsive (or beautiful). So she made it to my top 10 because I fell in love with her!

This is technically really not a great shot, but I still like it a lot. Sometimes when you turn and spot something like this you just need to press that shutter!

I really love the interaction in this wedding shot, the way their arms take you around the photo and back to the lovely expressions, and even the intruding clapping hands that give context. I often do the 'congratulations' shots in black and white because I like the way it strips out extraneous competing detail and focuses the viewer's attention on the emotion of the moment.

This is just me being excited about my new studio really! Hard to do this sort of shot without one :) Katie said afterwards that she wasn't convinced about my idea of her straddling the chair but she actually really liked the result. I like the graphic, symmetrical nature of the image.

Emily was finding the scooter ride to the playground a bit too long for her liking, and was getting grumpy. I was photographing her big brother sitting on a wall behind me, and turned to see Emily (and her soft toy mouse) paused to do a spot of staring into space. I chose this photograph because A/ it still makes me go 'awwwww' and B/ it represents what quite a lot of my child photography is about: capturing the stillness and dignity of children as well as their smiles and play. Childhood isn't one big saccharine Pumpkin Patch ad.

Loved the red hair, the little button-nosed profile and most of all that finger just about to touch...

And finally, what top 10 would be complete without a photograph of my own children? Alexander is six here, and suddenly looking very grown up. Feeling it too, with that slight proud raise of the chin and only a hint of a smile. And four-year-old Eva: who knows what she was thinking? A friend suggested she was an early developer of bershon, defined by blogger Sarah Brown as "pretty much how you feel when you’re 13 and your parents make you wear a Christmas sweatshirt and then pose for a family picture, and you could not possibly summon one more ounce of disgust, but you’re also way too cool to really even DEAL with it, so you just make this face like you smelled something bad and sort of roll your eyes and seethe in a put-out manner".

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I don't know, the youth of today...