A moment in time….

Recently I turned 48 years old. I don’t really have much time (pun intended) for my age, although I have to say my body is now reminding me of the lack of care I have taken over it!

But, at this moment, I have had one of those strong personal statements come to the front of my mind. It’s sometimes hard to describe it but you’ll have to bear with me…

Here’s the thing…

As a photographer (and I never say professional or amateur as it annoys me), I take pictures for a living. I suppose the area of images I’m concerned with doesn’t shift opinion, changes views, or make statements. The images I take do not berate, most of the time. I hope they are pleasing to the eye, and invoke a smile on the face, or a volunteered “ahhh” from the viewing audience.

But, today has started differently to most days, because of two actions that are linked to images. None of the images have been taken by me, but still invoke two very different sets of feelings that demonstrate the breadth of complexity that our brains can cope with.

The first image, is a picture of my youngest son. He’s not even one in this image. Right now, both my wife and I hope that he will grow up sharing the passion for horses which were responsible for our first meeting (that’s my wife and I). In this image it is clear that there is fun, excitement, happiness, and the germinating seed of passion? Maybe, but only time will tell with that final wish!

Happiness is a horse to ride?

You could argue that the image is taken in the same style as Martin Parr? Forgive me if you disagree, but Martin is a great observationist. He has a habit of bringing humour, and the focus of the viewer onto the ironic moments that we very rarely pay attention to. He is also very skilled at documenting the natural life of everyday human beings. This is the typical way in which a lot of people take images and then reflect on them later. Visual recall of a moment in time that has a meaning to the person who took it, or the people in it.

As recently as last weekend I jumped in with both feet and carried out my first full wedding shoot. I’d dabbled a couple of times before for friends on a non-commercial basis, but this was my first major paid shoot. It’s effectively the same as taking any other picture, except the risks for a job badly done are a lot higher, and the reliance on knowing how to use your camera (and not just leave it on Auto) is required. There is a high level of attention to detail required, and also a mix of artistic viewing, and organisational skill that any wedding photographer has to have. This is no different to taking pictures of a child on a pony, except the amount of risk involved for getting it wrong. It’s still someones memories.

The difference today though is that there are many people with cameras at a wedding recording the moment, and the “off screen” moments that fill a book for later recollection…

Now the second moment that caused my “thing”…

Do not drop this book on your foot!

I mentioned my birthday a moment ago, and my older son, Dan, bestowed on me an awesome gift. A book of images culled from Magnum.  “Contact Sheets” is a small slice of the work that has made Magnum and it’s photographers known the world over. Martin Parr is one of those, aside from some of the best known names such as Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, & Eve Arnold. The list of photographers is long.

Looking through this book, which is large, heavy, and full of gravitas! I see the other end of the photographer spectrum. These photographs, and their respective creators, have sought to make a statement, invoke discussion, and change opinions. Sometimes at considerable cost to themselves, as they have lost their lives during the process. It’s not a happy book, as there is a lot of death, depression, sadness, anger, and many other emotions. But, it is a beautiful document of a way in which photographers look to make the right image work. To get their point across.

So what was my thing? It was little dotted lines that joined across parts of my brain, that connected all these things together, and made think how lucky I am to have the work I do, the family I have, and the access to knowledge that will educate….

It was a lovely moment in time, and there was only one photographer with no camera to capture the moment….

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