©Jai Tyler

13. Single Parents

"My mother once told me that being a single parent, whilst certainly difficult at times was also a wonderful thing, “you get to parent the way you want to parent, you can make all the decisions and you don’t have to negotiate with someone else about how to bring up your children”. Often, when I tell people that I grew up with my Mum, my brother and my sister people tell me that this must have been difficult, or apologise, but it was wonderful.

Here my mother sits on the beach, with me asleep in the pushchair and her holding Jasmine, my oldest friend. Jasmine’s single mother, Jackie, stands behind the camera and photographs us all. In single parent families there are always ‘significant others’, they’re just not always the ones you expect."

— Jai Tyler

Family Photography Now, directive and week 13: Show us a photo that - to you - reflects the distinctive relationship between a single parent and their child(ren)

"One thing I’ve learned as a single parent is that the pictures we take of our children are different from other family snapshots. As we're often the ‘sole reporter’ on holidays, we're an invisible presence. It’s not that single parent families are not as joyous or valid as any other sort of family because, of course, we are. But the pictures we take feel different to me. No less wonderful. Just different. When there is one parent rather than two, the act of picture-taking and the nuances of expression are different…the single-parent 'snapshot' has its own special quality. I can't define it -- only that I know it exists."

— Robin Cracknell, Photographer