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I took this image of Prince William kissing Prince George during a visit to Taronga Zoo (in Sydney) on their recent tour of Australia and New Zealand. For me, to have the chance to photograph the family in such a relaxed setting was a rare opportunity. Normally royal engagements are formal occasions and the royals are aware of your (the media’s) presence. What was special about this situation was that it was almost like photographing a ‘normal’ family outing to the zoo (if you ignored the gathered media and protection officers!). Prince George was so excited when he spotted the small Australian mammal called a ‘Bilby’ that his parents had bought him to see, he flapped his arms around in excitement. The slightly grumpy expression he has adopted recently because of his teething dissolved in an instant. Despite the time pressure I took a bit of a risk and zoomed in quite closely with some of my images. I wanted to capture the intimacy of the situation and use the clean black backdrop to create an almost ‘lifestyle shoot’ feel. I knew this was a chance I wouldn’t get again in a hurry and wanted to try and create a special image. For me the approach worked perfectly when for a fleeting moment William kissed his son on the head. When I looked through my images straight afterwards on the bus back to the hotel, this one just stood out immediately. Whilst it breaks certain rules of photography in that there isn’t eye contact, and you can’t see what they are looking at, for me that’s irrelevant. It works as they could be any father and son in this one moment. William’s hand is held protectively around his son in a show of fatherhood and strength which almost reminds me of iconic ‘l’enfant man and baby’ Athena poster from the 1980s. This is probably something he does many times a day but for a Royal Photographer to witness the two heirs to the throne for this private moment was very special.
One of the highlights of the Royal family’s visit to Australia was of course a trip to the Iconic Ayer’s Rock ‘Uluru’. Last minute changes meant that the picture that we all remember from Princess Diana, Prince Charles and Prince William’s visit in 1983 with the rock in the background was going to a small pool which sadly I didn’t get a spot on. I was going to photograph a walk around the base of the rock. In actual fact this worked very well, rarely do we see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge walking without a throng of security and Press Officers around them, and in such an incredible setting was doubly rare. Towards the end of the walk they became very aware of the media and their expressions were slightly more forced but as they emerged round the track a few hundred meters away, they glanced at each other for a moment and I think that gave a really lovely balanced image. I thought it worked especially well in black and white with the couple standing out against the darker background of the surrounding ‘bush’.
Mike Marsland - @MikeWireImage
The challenge though was capturing all this at XOYO club which has no dedicated photo pit, so arriving early and getting a good spot was essential. I opted for a high shutter speed at 24mm to help freeze a bit of the motion along with careful timing of her songs to arrive at the key shot.
I always follow Novak Djokovic on the tennis courts. I admire him as an athlete and for his fair play. It has been a surprise to discover his personality during the interview at 'Che Tempo Che Fa' an Italian TV show hosted by Fabio Fazio. Nice smile, good expression, a spotlight ... a black & white picture!