Where do you Keep Your Photographs?

Where do you keep your photographs Sarah Mason Photography

When I lived in London, I probably didn’t visit home as much as I should have done, but when I did, there were a few things I could always rely on. The temperature dropping by a few degrees whilst travelling up the M1, my sister moving more stuff into my old room (the slow take over), and a roast dinner on the Sunday before I set off back down south. And then another routine started on one of these visits.  After the plates were cleared, washed and dried, Mum would open the dresser and out came the old family photos. Kept in a 70’s Quality Street tin, I still love the sound of the lid being lifted, and the rustle of the photo packets inside, like a lucky dip, which era were we going to pick out first? Will it be the 80’s Franki Says T-Shirts phase, holidays on windy Scottish beaches, building dens in the woods, or would we go further back to when Mum and Dad were growing up?

Over the years, the photos have been even more mixed up, which adds to the surprise element of this little ritual. All the ‘best’ photos have made it into frames on the walls, or displayed on bookshelves and the mantlepiece. But it’s the snap shots in the tin I love the most. Not technically perfect in anyway, but just shots of us on location in places we visited, and almost always looking straight at the camera. Mum had a terrible habit of cutting Dad’s head off in the frame when she was the designated photographer, and there are a collection of these shots too, like little gems amongst the muddle of photos. Mum always has the tin on her knee and passes us the photos. I can always tell when she’s picked up one of the ‘where’s Dad’s head?!’ shots, as her face scrunches up and she lets out a laugh! It’s not even about the photos maybe, it’s about these predictable, yet cosy moments that bring us together as a family.

I know so many of us say how much we should print our photos, and it sometimes takes a bit of effort to do this. We have just had some photos printed and we’re going to be going to our framers soon to get the first images of me Suze and Olive on our walls. And for all the other shots we’ve taken over the past 7 months, we’re going to create albums and print out a bunch of 6x4s. We’re just going to print them so we have something tangible. The thought of Olive sitting there with an old tin on her knee passing them around to her family is such a strange thought right now, but this is why we want to do it. For us to enjoy them now, but to provide those moments in the future where she can just stop for a while and take a look at them with her loved ones.

On one of our visits a couple of years ago, me and Suzi wondered if we could make our own photos wallet, so our families can take away this tangible product from their shoot. We launched our photo wallet last year, we love it so much. It’s a trip down nostalgic lane, for those of us who grew up on taking our films in to be developed, but also provides that tactile product for a family to hold. Maybe some of them will make it into frames, or maybe they’ll stay in their wallet to be looked at over the years.

Do you have a place where you keep your printed photos? Are there any more Quality Street tins out there stuffed with photos? We’d love to hear where you keep them, and how you display them.

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Not wanting to be outdone, Dad showed Suzi a few of his favourite photos he’s taken of trees over the years.

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As it’s Sunday, hows about getting those photos out and taking a look together after lunch, or maybe making a promise to yourselves to print a few in the next few weeks?

Here’s a blog post you might like, Don’t Let Your Images Grow Up To Be Jegs, written by Jonas Peterson

We’ve created a Pinterest board with a few ideas on ways to display your photos in your home.

And if you’d like to see more about our portrait packages and our photo wallet, here’s a link to that page.

Sarah Mason Photography Family Photography



At The Kitchen Table

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This week, Olive sat in her shiny new high chair and took her first chomps of avocado, carrot and sweet potato. Although we don’t want to wish time away, this is one thing me and Suzi have been really looking forward to. Sitting down at the table in the kitchen and eating our food together.

I’ve been creating a body of work ‘At the Kitchen Table’. I’m not sure yet if it might be a chapter in our book or an exhibition in the future, i just felt it was the right time to start talking about it, and to ask you for your stories, and if you’d like to take part?

It all started a couple of years ago when I did a shoot with jeweller Toby Cotterill and he told me about the history of his work bench. His Dad is a furniture maker, and he made their childhood kitchen table. It became the centre of their family life, as it is to many families. But this kitchen table evolved, and after some alterations, Toby now uses this table as his work bench.

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It felt very poignant as my Mum and Dad were just moving out of our childhood home, and I remembered all those times sitting at the table. We had a set time for tea every night. While Mum cooked, me and my sister laid the table and Dad hovered. After tea, we’d clear the plates, and I’d sit down back at the table to do my homework, and Dad would read the paper.

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Since doing our family shoots, I’ve noticed how many photos I take of families there. It is so central to life. We usually start shoots at the table, having a chat and a cup of tea before the camera comes out of my bag. It’s good to see the family interacting around the space. I guess I’ve become a bit fascinated by them, these places where we’re nourished both in food and conversation. Since chatting about it on Instagram, I’ve had people sending me stories of their kitchen tables. A common theme are the rules of the table. No phones, all sitting down at the same time to eat, chatting about our days. Family feasts where spare tables are brought down from the loft. This reminded me of our own family get togethers at Grandma & Grandad’s house. The adults would sit at the big table, and the children would sit at the kiddies table. As the oldest cousin, I was still sitting at the kiddies table until I was around 18!

I’d love to hear from you if you’d like to be involved in my project (Yorkshire area for now but there may be a table tour later this year!). What do you use your table for? Is it a place you sit and watch the world go by? Have your tea, work, read? Plan big adventures? Play table tennis, look at your family photographs? Have arm wrestles, play board games, craft, chat? If you’re in the Yorkshire area, I’d love to add to the collection of images I have. Would you like to be a part of the project?

Here are a collection of shots and ideas so far.

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The tables themselves also have a story to tell. The grains and stains, the chips, the marker pen that doesn’t quite rub off. We swapped our kitchen table with our friends, and on there are felt tip marks from drawings and crafting projects, we don’t want to get rid of them.

These tables are where we eat together, talk together, take time to be alone. Laugh, play and plan. Would you like to be a part of it? We’d love to hear about you and your table.

Photographing Family - Ethel & Mabel

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Ethel and her sister Mabel, have such a sense of old world charm and style. I started documenting their life, (well actually at the time it was just Ethel), back in early 2015. I’d heard Ethel liked a cup of tea, and I wanted to record a Saturday morning with her at her house. If you’ve been following my new project on Instagram, I guess she was my first Tea For Two! And then, a year later, Mabel came into the world. Spending a morning with them was the first step into filmmaking for me, and the film I made still has such a special place in my heart. Roll on three years, and I went back up to document their morning together recently. I hope they’ll cherish these photos of them in their childhood home as much as I’ve loved documenting their life there. My style and edit choices might have changed a bit, but the sentiment remains the same. Here’s Ethel and Mabel, a story in mornings, so far.

It starts with Ethel. When I first arrived at her house, she took me by the hand, sat me down, and started to recount stories about her summer holiday. Her morning unfolded - reading books, dunking buttery biscuits into steaming cups of tea, all to the soundtrack of Saturday morning tunes on the record player.  

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And then, along came Mabel….

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And our latest shoot together…

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This is what we love about our portrait shoots, documenting these moments in life that may feel insignificant at the time, but looking back, are so poignant.  Beauty in the small things, beauty in the everyday.

If you’d like us to document your family life, we’ve just added some new packages. If you’d like to take a look, just click on the photo link below. We’d love to tell your story.





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