When I was 15, I was given my first ever digital camera for my birthday. It went everywhere with me! I’d take it when on walks in the New Forest, at the beach, at home, at parties or even at school. My camera never left my side!
Sometimes people would say, “Why do you take so many photos?” in a criticising tone. I don’t know if they didn’t particularly like having their photograph taken, or if they just enjoyed picking up on this aspect of me that they didn’t like. But, I didn’t listen to them, and continued taking photographs. A standard amount of photographs I would take on a day/night out would be about 150. I got criticism for this too! It really used to bother me as I hated people negatively picking up on things that enjoy.
I used to put up a ‘front’ when I was a teenager – everyone thought I was really confident – but I really wasn’t. When invited to parties that I was worried about going to, I’d just whack out my camera and use it as a safety net so I’d be ‘the girl with the camera’ and people would want to interact with me. And it made me feel great! It’s sad, but true!
One weekend, my family and I went to visit my Grandad who lived in Chester. We drove to the beach and chilled on the pier for a while. I was playing around with my camera – taking shots of windsurfers and boats.
I then turned around and noticed my Dad and Grandad were laughing and joking on a bench. I quickly got out my camera and took a candid shot of them (pictured on the top right). As soon as I took it, I knew it would be an important photograph. I knew that my Dad would cherish it for a very long time and it suddenly hit me how important photographs are. Yes, they are there to capture parties or nights out, but the most important thing is that they capture a single moment of beauty.
When my Grandad passed away in 2010, this photograph was so important to my Dad and our family. Every time I look at this photograph, I remember his brilliant smile and how cheeky he was.The way he is making my Dad laugh in the shot is just so true to their great father and son relationship. I am so proud of myself for taking that photograph. It sits proudly on our mantelpiece and makes me smile every time I see it.
My brilliant dog, Flinty, also passed away that year. I was so grateful for all of the photographs I took of him; it really comforted me at the time and I found that I had over 1000 of him on my computer hard-drive. It highlighted to me how much of an influence he’d been in my life and how much I really loved him. After this, I decided to invest in a DSLR so that I could take even more photographs with great quality. I’ve had the honour of photographing the Queen and Prince Philip and was also commissioned to take shots of Prince Edward and his wife for my local newspaper. I just love photography! The fact that you could capture a single moment in time, at such an incredible speed, has fascinated me since being 15 with my first camera.
I love going through my old photographs and seeing all of the fun I had at school and with my friends. But what I enjoy the most is REMEMBERING. Memories are precious things and I have an awful memory! Yet, these photographs jog my memory and help me to remember all of the crazy and hilarious things that have happened in my life! THIS is why I take so many photographs and why I love doing it! Photography is part of me and I love that!
Recently at a party, my camera wasn’t in my hand and my friend said, “QUICK GUYS! Sarah hasn’t got her camera…who is going to update our Facebooks now?!” I loved that. I was still known as ‘the girl with the camera’ but was genuinely loved for it.
I urge you, take more photographs! It doesn’t matter what camera you have, just try to capture as many moments as you can. To make you smile, laugh or cry, photographs are just so important. Try and take natural, non-staged photographs too!
Keep the memory alive, you never know how important one single captured moment in time may be to you…