<<< o >>>it's all too much 79 comments + add yours

Harmony, now just over two and a half, is mostly quite happy, often quite stroppy, and sometimes upset. In this case I can't even remember what the problem was: we'd be chatting, and taking photographs, and she asked me something to which the answer was no ... this was the result. I should add that two minutes later she was as right as rain, but for those few moments it seemed as though her world had become quite unbearable.

shutter speed
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2.01pm on 16/10/05
Canon 20D
EF 50mm f/1.8 II
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C1 Pro
3x2 + children [portraits] + photo friday
comment by Finwe at 07:54 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

Wow, heartbreaking shot... But seems a bit cruel to me for the child ;)

comment by Paky at 07:55 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

A precious photo. Sad glance, tearful glance. Greetings from Barcelona Spain

comment by Mauro at 08:14 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

I love the way that use use the camera an lense with children, Looking your pictures I'd try to do something "similar"

Than you very mucho for showing all of us you art

comment by emma at 08:17 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

how could you say no?! great focus on the eyes and i like the blurring to enhance this.

comment by owen at 08:20 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

Bles her - she definitely has the bottom lip thing going on - where do they get that from? Mine does it already and she's only 15 months old.

comment by Markus at 08:21 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

Truly magnificent! In my opinion you're great in almost any subject but I like the pictures of your children the best of the all. Just beautiful!

comment by jen at 08:24 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

how precious! this sort of evokes the feeling i get when i watch nature shows on tv and see dying/fighting animals and i think, why can't the cameramen help them?! but its all a part of nature, just as much as the good/happy times.

comment by Erik at 08:29 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

Great photo! But I must ask you, don't you think it's a bit "weird" to pick up you camera when your child is crying? I don't mean to offend you but I would like to know how you feel about this. And how does you children react?

If you don't feel like answering, please just ignore this and delete the comment.

Anyway, I admire your photographs. You are an inspiration to us all!

Keep up the good work!

comment by djn1 at 08:39 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

Thanks all.

Erik: no, I don't think it's weird. Well, I guess it might have been weird if she'd started crying and then I'd gone to get my camera, but I was taking pictures anyway and there wasn't anything I could have done to comfort her at the time. She'd asked me for something – and I can't remember what she said, but it might have been something like "can we go to the park now?", and I would have said something like "no, not yet, we're going in a little while". Anyway, the bottom line was that I'd said no, she was upset, I took a picture, and a couple of minutes later she was fine again.

I should add that she liked the picture when I showed it to her this evening, but couldn't remember what she'd been crying about.

comment by nuno f at 08:58 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

Her expression is so emotional and true. The tone gives a more deep feeling to what she transmits to us.
I see that I must get a 50mm f1.8 II too. Is the blur produced with the lens or in Photoshop?

p.s.: Somehow my comments don't appear on your cooment box lately.

comment by Adriana at 09:09 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

LOl. That's so common on children. I love how you are able to do magic with simple things as this. Harmony looks pretty even crying. :)

comment by Anna at 09:11 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005


comment by Reg at 09:20 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

Gotta agree, wouldn't take a photo of my child crying and put it on the net.

comment by David/Mexipickle at 09:43 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

I like this shot. I don't have a problem with pics of crying kids...I have 2, and i know they cry at the drop of a hat if they think they'll get what they want. I think the smaller image in the comment window is a better version, though--less blur, at least on my monitor. Are they different shots?

comment by | | A R M O K S | | SHowcase at 09:55 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

Its heartbreaking...her eyes literally are telling that her world has come down....

comment by djn1 at 09:55 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

Reg: why not?

comment by kikko77 at 10:05 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

a crying child is a child too... tell her she's a beauty even when she cries :)

comment by Gary W at 10:07 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

I'm not too sure what the problems are with posting a shot like this - it's simply a human expression. You'd never question a shot of a smiling child, a laughing child etc, it simply shows versitility in Daves portfolio.

I'm no parent, but i'd never cuddle my child EVERY time it cried, especially over something petty. It'll be one of those pictures in 10 years time that you'll all look back on actually laugh at because you won't even know what it would be about!

comment by joan at 10:09 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

There is beauty in every emotion. I have a treasured black and white shot of my (now 24 year old) daughter when she was about two years old, looking out the window with a very sad and tearful expression. I remember seeing how beautiful the light and the scene were and capturing it, motivated by the loveliness and the humanity of it all. She loves the shot now too, and hardly noticed my shooting it at the time because I was constantly taking photos of her (as you obviously are as well David). There are so many smiling shots in the world. Why not capture the true complexities of life? My daughter's sadness was brought on by something very minor and fleeting as well. I guess people react with concern knowing that there are (apparently) complete jerks in the world who would want to see children suffer and who post and seek out depictions accordingly. That is scary, I agree. Very very scary and painful to contemplate. Still, it doesn't change the fact that little kids can feel deeply saddened one minute when they are told no to some minor request, and then be beaming moments later when distracted from the tragedy they were just mourning. The scary thing to wonder about is how the viewer might tell whether the tragedy is major or minor. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder I guess other things could be as well. The question, therefore, is whether or not reasonable loving people should have to censor themselves because of the perceptions of screwed up people. I lean towards the answer no.

comment by ps at 10:16 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005


comment by lisa at 10:17 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

a beautiful shot in a sort of sad way. I think you've really managed to capture a child's upset face and tears here, well done, though when I look at it I also feel very guilty simply because I'm enjoying a photo of a crying child. Seems a little rude to have even taken the picture (I know I would snap if someone photographed me while crying) but like I said, still beautiful. I especially love how you can see reflections in her eyes.

comment by Phil at 10:29 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

This is such a great picture. Like Joan said above, there are so many smiling shots in the world, and pictures of other expressions can be just as good.

Its not so much the posting of a crying child i have a problem with its pointing a camera in the face of a crying child. You did have your camera in your hand at the time which made it easier of course.

Beautiful daughter you have too.

Keep it up!

comment by tobias at 10:37 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

I love this shot. The emotion is amazing. I feel sorry for her. Were it me I think I'd have done anything to get that smile back. The eyes and the mouth are so powerful. I like the angle as well, like that of a puppy.

comment by Erik at 10:44 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2005

Hi again!

Thanks for the quick answer Dave (and everybody else)! I've been working with children this age a lot and I recognise the situation you are talking about. At those moments, it might be ok to take a picture, other times it simply just isn't and by just looking at a picture, you can't tell the difference. In my opinion, if you know the background "story", it justifies the picture and makes it even better! Now I can understand the title as well.

This is truly one of those pictures that says more than a thousand words!

comment by Francesco at 12:08 AM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

great photo... emotional

comment by Ahamed at 02:43 AM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

Well done, as if I needed it you are motivating me further to take millions of photographs of my kids.

I respect that you don't just take happy smiling pictures of your kids, that always strikes me as phony and forced.
I am sure your daughter will remember and treasure this photo much more than those typical "everybody smile for the camera" shots.

Nice Job

comment by Michelle at 03:06 AM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

My first thought when I saw this picture is that this is what my niece would look like if she had been old enough to really understood what it meant when her daddy was killed in Iraq last year. Thanks for sharing this photo.

comment by Jesse at 03:34 AM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

Wow. This is my favorite shot of yours in quite some time. I like your processing style, with the soft face and crystal clear watery eyes.

comment by peter cohen at 04:36 AM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

"I have noticed that if you want personal relationships with people, sooner or later you will have to get personal with them."
--- Peter Cohen
(768 Things I've Noticed About Life, the Universe and Everything)

comment by KK at 05:12 AM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

oh my god what a great capture of emotion! makes me want to have kids soon. great one as usual.

comment by hannan at 07:11 AM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

Simple, innocent, touching....

comment by hannan at 07:18 AM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

Please dont mistake me...
since u have the skill of taking true to life pictures that captivates the emotion......may be u can go to areas of natural disasters..like the recent earthquake..and can use it to raise funds among wealthy donors.......or may be juz to create awareness to make ppl feel how lucky they really are
bcoz this picture is truly touching....so this thought came across my mind...

comment by Adriana at 07:25 AM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

many of us know David's photographic's background, and how he has been generous enough to share with us litlle moments with all of her princess, moments that show that they have a happy childhood.

It is so common to see this kind of reactions on babys when they get a no for an answer, but in the other hand, they are so simple that many of the times the can be conforted getting something else insted of what they wanted at first place. I have to thank my dad for some nos I got when I was a little girl and for sure Harmony will do it someday, specially for a "no yet" that is nothing aout of this world. :)

comment by Leo at 07:36 AM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

Tugs at the heart strings. I really like the choice of tones for this picture.

comment by Nero at 07:51 AM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

Very beautiful balanced photo.

comment by pierre at 08:35 AM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

Oh yeah, I know this expression.
I'm still wondering which letter my kids don't understand in the word 'NO'.
Fortunately, these moments don't last :)
It's a very nice portrait

comment by eclipse-space at 08:40 AM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

those moments. ahh...

comment by Oriol at 10:52 AM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

What more delicate and tender expression in the face of the child! Very interesting focus in the eyes. Congratulations fit this great work in the darkroom.

comment by SteveO at 11:29 AM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

Great photo, amazing how upset kids get at what seem to us to be the smallest of things.

comment by Pete at 11:50 AM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

David: Fantastic shot. This is my second favourite, the first being this. You're photography continues to inspire me to learn more about the craft.

comment by GP at 12:29 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

I LOVE THIS PIC! I hope she had a wonderful smile after this :-) Maybe I'm repetitive, but she's beautiful in all her moods.

comment by Dean at 12:48 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

Hi David, how you maintain such incredibly high standards amazes me. I love this shot, how did you achieve the black background? Is it post-processing or just the way you setup the shot?

Keep up the great work...

comment by StuartR at 02:05 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

This is a great shot, and captures her emotions perfectly. I have a heart of stone, and even I said "AWWW" when I looked at this!

comment by skritten at 03:12 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

"Can we go to the park now?"
"Not until you start crying...!"
It's a powerful shot, worthy of debate.

comment by marie b. at 04:07 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

that is just . . wow. stunning, gorgeous, eyepopping?

the words don't seem to do it justice.

comment by dp at 04:19 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

WOW!!! A very very powerful shot! Even though you said Harmony was sad only for a few minutes, the pain is incredible in her eyes. Beautifully captured and presented.

comment by Sharla at 04:28 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

The emotions of a little girl, literally painted on her face, obviously stirred the emotions of those commenting. I feeled privileged to view this wonderful shot, while realizing that to take it means focusing one's camera and attention on the task of the capture, not the child, if only for a moment. Some seem uncomfortable with that reality, but we can't and shouldn't deny our children their emotions. What will someday be only little things seem so big when you're young. As they grow older, we won't always be there to help them so it's better that they grow experiencing the little things now, to be bettered prepared later. Letting children learn from their experiences and emotions is often as hard on the parents.

I often wish that I had more shots like this to share and to remember the early years. Those years weren't all smiles, no matter how hard we tried.

comment by Chris at 04:53 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

OUTSTANDING! One of my favorites of yours.

I have a two and a half year old in my house, and you just described her life is an much accurate detail as if you had lived with her as well. They are so tied to their emotions and ride their crests and falls dramatically. It is at once very frustrating and makes me jealous that I long ago forgot how to be that in touch with my own emotions.

I learned long ago that pictures of happy moments are only powerful if they are held along side pictures of the moments in your life that have been less than joyous. It seems that I have never gotten to a place where I can keep shooting in those situations.

Thank you for the reminder.


comment by Mike at 05:06 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

so many of us have seen our kids with this exact expression... about five seconds from complete wailing breakdown in my kids' case. the way you captured that is wonderful. And no, i don't think it's weird that you took a picture of this; you probably have your camera in your hand constantly so it's just a natural extension of you to your kids.

comment by Nishi at 05:23 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

Oh!! This pic touches my heart. I always feel sad when I see children crying. Come on, have some compassion.

comment by Ioannis at 05:29 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

Lol. Great pic Dave. I like the smoothness and colour of the processing and you have got a very natural shot of this moment.

comment by Georg at 05:57 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

My favourite picture. I like it. The blur and the smoothness, getting one with the area of fokus, this sad eyes. A really great shot. You can feel the sadness with her, through the picture. The emotion takes you.

I colud look at this shot for hours, but then not a second, cause of this sad eyes...

comment by kyle at 06:29 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

wow ! this is a great image. very emotional (obviously)
love your stuff :)

comment by Kev Rosie at 06:31 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

Simply stunning! Very difficult to look away but, at the same time, sad to look at. Brilliant photography and great Photoshop-ing

comment by AE at 06:44 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

Can you give us some tips on B&W toning? You seem to always have the best tone for your BW images. Natural without looking over done like most sepia toning.


comment by Prasoon at 07:23 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

this one's simply awesome..

comment by cristina at 08:11 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

So real!!!

Great photo!


comment by djn1 at 08:25 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

Thanks everyone. And while I'm not sure that I'll be posting too many shots of our kids being unhappy I am pleased that this one got such a positive response.

comment by Charlene at 08:54 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005

Beautiful. I love it!

comment by m at 10:36 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2005


comment by mel at 12:31 AM (GMT) on 18 October, 2005

ha! such an honest expression. Fantastic capture.

comment by Jason Wall at 01:14 AM (GMT) on 18 October, 2005

My mother has a photo of me standing in the bathtub, with all my clothes on, bawling. http://www.walljm.com/comments.asp?post=3723 Apparently, I got a little to excited about taking my bath and got ahead of myself. I'm crying (so I'm told), because I realized that I had made a mistake. I think I had been told not to get in the tub. :)

comment by Free Spirit at 10:30 AM (GMT) on 18 October, 2005

She looks like she needs a hug :o)

It's a beautiful photo.


comment by GeeTee at 11:33 AM (GMT) on 18 October, 2005

Wonderful photograph and an interesting debate.

I agree with Sharla wholeheartedly. It is difficult to see a child in emotional turmoil but, we mustn't feel guilt when it is simply through them being denied something - this is how they learn.

Regardless of all that, this is anything but an explotative shot and I'm very glad you posted it David.

comment by Fellow Eskimo at 03:13 AM (GMT) on 19 October, 2005


comment by mich at 04:18 AM (GMT) on 19 October, 2005

Very oportune shot, great moment :)

comment by lis at 01:11 PM (GMT) on 19 October, 2005

Beautiful !!!! Have a child almost same age...and he looks a bit like her when he is crying... and about Erik's comment...
at this age, they are excelent actors !! and i am sure David would have put the camera away if she was in pain, really sad, or something serious was going on...:)
great photo !!!

comment by Simon at 03:36 PM (GMT) on 19 October, 2005

I’ve said it before (especially when I misidentified the picture of the little girl with the bleeding nose as one of yours), but I am extremely uneasy about using shots of children per se for a photo blog (after all, they have no control over the use of their image, and they are going worldwide), and especially when it shows a child in distress.

Okay, you give the story of what happened in the notes, but with respect (and *not* to say I think this is the case) we only have your word for this: had you just stood on her toe to get the effect, would that make it different? Was your taking pictures of her the thing that got her into an emotional state in the first place? If you’d left her to quietly sit and read a book, or play, would she maybe not have got upset in the first place?

A picture should really tell it’s own story, and without the context all I see is a face of a child in some sort of emotional turmoil, which negates any artistic or other aesthetic merit, I’m afraid to say…

I sem to be in a minority, but I am waaaaaaaaaaaaay confused by just how many people see beauty in this…

comment by RustyJ at 06:48 PM (GMT) on 19 October, 2005

Ahhh...mixed emotions from a picture. I am affected by everything I view. Photographs of subjects I do not like bother and disturb me. Photographs of subjects I do like make me 'feel good' (do not bother me) and do not disturb me.

I like smiling and having fun so I enjoy photographs along these lines. I do not like the emotions I feel when I cry or am angry or hurt so photographs along these lines disturb me. I still 'enjoy' both photographs for the emotions they impart to or stir within me.

After reading all the comments regarding this photograph, a thought struck me. We seem to focus on or question the cause of 'why is she crying?' more than the cause of 'why is she smiling?'. Perhaps something 'bad' was done to get her to smile.

My two boys have the exact same lip skill. They usually use it when I say, "No, you may not have another cookie!" ;-)

Great photo!

comment by Xavier Morel at 10:27 PM (GMT) on 19 October, 2005

she seems to be sad ...
Dont always put this camera between you and your family and your children.
Certainly they prefer to see your eyes instead the lens, above all if the picture goes all around the (web) world

beautiful picture indeed

comment by Calan at 02:04 PM (GMT) on 24 October, 2005

Fantastic photo, although that look would break me every time, glad I don't have to deal with it yet!

comment by amanda at 11:34 AM (GMT) on 25 October, 2005

This is a beautiful photograph because it captures emotion and the soul of a human being. Isn't that what photography, especially portraits, should be about?
David is free to put up any damn photo he chooses and I personally can't understand why anyone would challenge him on this.
I work with children a little bit older than this every day, their worlds ARE emotional, they are egocentric and the are still in the belief that the world is about them and only them at this development in their life. They cry over the tiniest of things, that IS children. Capturing them like this as David has, portrays a normal view of children. Its what they do!
The world is so uptight about the rights of children that we are becoming close to stopping them from living and experiencing life.

She is beautiful and I'm sure in years to come, she will absolutely adore this photograph.

comment by Rod Thomas at 03:55 PM (GMT) on 28 October, 2005

Hi, Dave... been looking at your site and usuing it to inspire my own for many months now, but here's my first comment post. I was driving home last night and had the radio on. An old Jackson Browne song came on, Fountain of Sorrow. When the lyrics "And at the moment that my camera happened to find you, there was just a trace of sorrow in your eyes" came through the speakers I immediately thought of this photo. Love the photo, and it obviously struck a chord in me to come bubbling up in my mind when I heard the lyrics.

Keep up the great work!!!

comment by Legasse at 03:27 PM (GMT) on 6 November, 2005

great capture of the moment adn expression of the face

comment by David Maddison at 01:18 PM (GMT) on 11 November, 2005

Without doubt, the best image you have so far. The emotion simply floods out of the picture.

comment by Andrew at 02:47 AM (GMT) on 4 January, 2006

I just want to hug her and tell her it'll be all right. I like the perfect timing, had you waited 10 more seconds, then you woudl of had tears on her cheeks. Which my not be entirely bad, but this photo captures that exact moment when the eyes get all teary and are just about to 'spill' over. I've saved this photo onto my computer, I think its great. You are an insperation. Thank you.


comment by przemek at 01:51 PM (GMT) on 17 December, 2006

I love this image. Your gallery is great. You are the best.

comment by m a r t a at 03:43 PM (GMT) on 9 April, 2008

Wonderful photo! I was shocked to read how many people were upset about you taking a picture of your crying child. I don't see anything wrong in capturing emotions and that's exactly what you did. I have three children and I know how fast they can go from crying to smiling and back to crying again :)...and if you have the camera around all the time, it's all just a matter of taking the shot. I'm sure she will treasure all these photos when she's grown up. Keep up the good work!

comment by Moeen at 09:18 PM (GMT) on 10 May, 2009

Great shot !