Overview: becoming one with the Suffolk landscape | Photography

Emma Hardy took this picture on the way home from run school on a February morning in Suffolk. She had dropped off her two oldest children at their schools and was almost home, with her youngest daughter, too young for school, still in the car.

There was, however, something about the light, the morning and the tall grass that excited him. On her way home, she said, “I was so happy to see that the strange weather combination of frost and fog, which are usually mutually exclusive, still held. I had noticed it on the way to school, but making my kids late for a picture was not something I could do; we were usually late anyway. But there was still time. “I had my camera with me and my youngest daughter’s coat matched the frost and misty sky perfectly.” She took the photo.

There are plenty of moments like this in Hardy’s new book, Permissions, a collection of transcendent images in which the lives of his family – primarily his mother and children – often seem to become a magical part of the landscapes around them. Some of them are captured little epiphanies of domestic joy, some of them stolen glimpses of vulnerability, some of them, like this, beautifully surreal interludes in crowded days. “As a photographer,” says Hardy, “while being a full-time mother of three young children, I always wanted to be ready and open to the images that presented themselves without much attention. Like the world showing me something I wanted to see but didn’t know until I saw it. It was very often like that, those beginnings of young motherhood: one eye on my children, one eye scanning the world around me, one hand ready for my camera, the other close to my heart.

  • Permissions by Emma Hardy is published next month by Gost (£40). An exhibition of the project will be on view at 10 14 Gallery, London N16, from 1 December 2022 to 27 January 2023

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