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Image of the Month: September 2012

This is the section where we invite members to tell us the story behind the photo. This month's submission comes from Mike Morley who has been with the club since 2008. Mike takes up the story about the inspiration behind the image.

Mike's photo of son Luke during a bout
of chicken pox won a camera in the 'Only Human'
competition run by Amateur Photographer.
This photo was taken of my son Luke when he had chicken pox. He wasn't feeling too great that day and I was looking after him at home so took quite a few photos just to pass the time.

They were just for a record but this one really stood out to me and I loved his expression. I had covered his hair in anti-pox gel as his head was itchy and had made a Mohican just to see how it looked for a bit of fun.

Anyway, this photo came second in the camera club portraits competition which was great but also won me a compact camera in an Amateur Photographer competition with the theme of Only Human and was printed in its Christmas issue. This was my first photo success and the comments made by the magazine editor were very inspiring. This is what he said:

"This really is not an easy competition to win, and with the strength of this month’s challengers you’d need to pull something pretty special out of the hat to take the first prize. Amazingly, Mike has done just that, with this incredibly powerful portrait that shows the arrogance of man combined with his susceptibility to the will of nature. It shows strength and weakness in one, power and affliction, beauty and horror. It also, though I’m not sure this is the intention, makes me laugh. We can laugh because, although we know chicken pox is pretty unpleasant, this young boy is not about to die of it. 

I don’t know if that hair is gelled or not, but the impression is that beyond the pox this lad is ready to go out for the night. He has a straight-on defiance in his expression, and a massive amount of self-confidence, as though he is usually a strong and powerful character. Even kings catch a cold, and here a great warrior has been struck down by an ugly, encompassing, but ultimately harmless, disease. No matter who or what you are, you are, after all, only human. And this picture says it all. I think it is a work of brilliance, and I want a print for my wall. Well done, Mike. "

Interestingly, from a photographer perspective, the camera club judge dropped it down to second place because he found the background too distracting so since then that has had an effect on me as I now always try to look around the edges of the viewfinder before I take a photo so I'm learning all the time.


  1. Despite the 'faults' mentioned by the club judge, I think this is a very real and earthy portrait that I really like from the first time I saw it. Great shot.


  2. Great shot, Mike. It can't have been easy for Luke but his grin-and-bear it look gives the viewer permission to smile and even laugh.


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