Breakfast time: Christopher Anderson’s best phone picture

Christopher Anderson often makes breakfast for his family (eggs, pancakes), but what caught his eye here was the light and the colour, the repetition of shapes. Blue plate, yellow circle. Of course, the pose his three-year-old daughter Pia struck just as he moved into position with his phone – well, that was all her. “You have to know her to understand,” he says. “She has this comedic flair, this sense of timing.” And that gesture – her toddler finger primly poking the yolk – lends the image its satisfyingly tactile quality. “The squishiness of the egg and the squishiness of her,” as Anderson says.

Family life was the subject of Anderson’s book Son, for which he trained his lens on Pia’s brother Atlas. He never consciously set out to make one of his daughter: that was all her, too. If Pia, the book, came about at her insistence, the photos in it are also a collaboration of a novel kind. “It’s not just a collection of cute pics of my kid,” he says. “It’s an exploration of the photographer-subject relationship.”

And it’s really about himself which, to Anderson’s mind, is true in all photography. He says he often thinks about Being John Malkovich. Looking at a photo is like crawling into the portal between the seventh and eighth floors, and seeing the world through Malkovich’s eyes. “In that sense, the subject is the photographer’s gaze rather than what he’s gazing at.”

Anderson uses his phone all the time. “It really is no different from using my camera. It is my camera. I can’t change lenses or control other aspects of photographing the way I do with a ‘real’ camera, but it does allow me to react to things in a very immediate way. I can be very fast with it.”