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It was 1994, PHOTOGENIC was still a new studio...

April 19, 2024 1 min read

It was 1994, PHOTOGENIC was still a new studio...

... and it's hard to imagine that 30 years ago, this simple portrait of an 8 month old baby boy was the one that started the transformation of portrait styles in Ireland and the UK.

This image was taken in February 1994 and it won the hotly contested Child Under 5 in the Kodak Portrait Awards, from thousands of entires. The competition was open to professional photographers all over Ireland and the UK and was the most sought after trophy at the time - and the little boy won a trip to Lapland

Why was this image ground-breaking? Firstly it's in black & white which was extremely rare at that time. Secondly, it's on a white background and that was a big change from the 'old master style' dark backgrounds with accompanying potted plant and even the odd ornate chair. Finally, the baby is quite wistful and has a little drool which was absolutely 'unacceptable' at that time. 

For us, this image was a break from the past and represented a more authentic representation of babyhood, drool included! We took our inspiration from advertising & media - remember the GAP and Benetton ads?It was everything that we set out to achieve all those years ago.

Before long, all over the UK and in some parts of Ireland, studios started to produce this new more modern style of portrait on simpler backgrounds and within 10 years, the industry was transformed. No more stiff poses in 'good suits' and Sunday best, family and child portraits.

And the rest, as they say, is history!


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