In The Beginning
A photographer! How did that happen?
Over the last two years I have had countless emails and messages asking me how did I become a photographer? Where did I study? How did I learn?
Sometimes I sit and look back for that defining moment. Was it something I missed? When did I begin? When did I step over the threshold from just Mum to Photographer?
I suppose there is no easy answer … other than I picked up his camera and simply decided …
At night as I lay in bed reading under the glow of the light, I would hear him working; the tapping and the rhythmical sanding became my lullaby as he worked in the garage below. He had had a dream, a single thought that twisted and turned over and over, until he decided to make it into a reality. Paper piles appeared, smoothed, crumpled and smoothed again, until his plan was done. Learning from his mistakes, perfecting as he went … until finally he built his boat.
He would always do that – be struck with the germ of an idea, a seed of inspiration – and then that was it, a course would be set, his mind firm and resolute fuelled by determination, relentless and unstoppable, unafraid of failure until he was done.
A lifetime of memories were made in the time after he made her. We would rise early. My hand in his we would walk out with the tide, only waders and gulls for company, a trail of holes in our wake as we dug in the mud for worms. Then, placing the wriggling tub in the bag with our lunch without even a glance (Mum and my little brother refusing to brave the waves and remaining on the beach), just the two of us would set sail on adventures new. Always tightly hugging the shore and throwing the tiny anchor over the side whenever the mood struck, we would fish for hours; glimpsing puffins, seals and a rainbow of mackerel if we were lucky.
His camera was always by his side recording our sightings. These were magical times, the times that colour my life. Memories more precious than jewels.
All that are left now are whispers. Memories fade and change with time and age but he knew, as his shutter clicked, that those seconds of our lives were preserved forever with love and care.
And so now my treasure sits in the top drawer of my bedside table. An envelope older than me, hundreds of photographs, faded and curling at the edges. Made sepia the natural way, with pure time. They sit just like they sat in his drawer, these little pieces of time reminders of moments long gone. They show me who I am and where I came from, those tiny squares transporting me back in an instant to another time when I had sand between my fingers, salt on my tongue and his hands on the tiller gently steering our course.
I wonder if my father knew what he was doing when he left me his cameras and that old envelope…. that he would inspire me to pick up his camera and carry on where he left off, recording life now for my children ……I like to think so….
Photography was the constant thread he chose to weave so tightly throughout my life and his…. it connects us still.
And so, if one day some of my photos end up all curly and sepia in an envelope in your drawer, treasures for your future …well … that would be just lovely!
I never intended to be a photographer, but fate – and my father – quietly intervened. I am a wedding photographer based in the gorgeous village of Frodsham in Cheshire …. and I shoot weddings in Cheshire and the rest of the world.
I am Andrea x