Emma Godfrey

Best friends laughing | Story of the photo | Thailand

Two boys laughing and playing

This image of two young boys, best friends, laughing and playing with each other could have been taken anywhere. It shows the pair backed up against the wooden wall. They have nowhere left to hide from me and my camera, and this is part of the fun. Captured, they giggle to each other, completely part of their own world, their own game. I’m only allowed to share in it for a moment. Right now they have joined forces to allow me in. Two minutes later they will run off and chase each other, or be distracted by an entirely different game. I love the sense of fun. Seeing them laugh together makes me smile.

The story

The two best buddies of my photo are Karen refugees living in a camp in northern Thailand. They probably knew no other home. Their makeshift village spread through the jungle series of wooden houses on stilts. While taking pictures of our students teaching lessons in the school, I stepped outside. That was when I caught these two. Too young to join the lessons, they were climbing the half walls like little squirrels, hanging onto the top for a minute then dropping back down. Unable to see much, they crouched down to look under the fence. Anything to see what was going on and to be a part of it.

Seeing me watching them they giggled then ran around the side of the building. I waited. Slowly the two little faces peaked around the corner, made eye contact and then disappeared. I raise my camera, and when they heard the click, they squealed with laughter. We spent a good 10 minutes playing some version of tag until I had them pinned. I tried to show them the picture – kids normally so eager to see what I’m doing – but they just laughed and ran away down the path, into the jungle.

Photographing children

Where ever they are in the world kids will be kids. Only last weekend I used the same tactic to get a slightly uncooperative five-year-old to let me take his picture. While parents despair I run around playing a kind of hide and seek. I let him choose a place to have his picture, showed him and asked him to join his family. You have to be quick but as soon as they feel like you are on their side, that this is a game that they can play, then suddenly what they have to do is so much more fun.

I hope you enjoy this new set of blog posts telling the story of one photo each time. Leaving these two best friends laughing, discover more posts in this series via the links below. For natural, children’s portraiture, contact me for pricing and reservations.

Two young boys laughing

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