Portrait photographer Suki Dhanda was at the tennis courts in Millfields Park, east London, when she saw Chisom Okoli through the mesh. It was a late summer afternoon; Dhanda had finished work and taken her daughter and dog for a walk. Off-duty, she was without either of her professional cameras – a Hasselblad H2 and Sony a7R5 – but the 22-year-old nanny caught her eye.
“I thought about taking her picture surreptitiously, because I didn’t want to miss the moment,” Dhanda says. “There was something about the way she held herself, how deep in thought she seemed looking at her phone, the way the colour of her clothes blended with the background. But it didn’t feel right to take it sneakily, so I walked around the court, told her I was a photographer and asked permission.”
Okoli responded graciously and Dhanda’s only direction was to look into the lens of her iPhone 14 Pro. “We chatted for a little while afterwards, and I sent her my favourite of the three photos I took using the phone’s portrait mode. I just think she looks so peaceful and relaxed, and I do wonder if her facial expression is a result of the way I approached her. I think she felt safe.”