From time to time I like a challenge, particularly when it involves photography, and it happened that the time was just right when I was nominated for such a challenge by a Facebook friend.
On the face of it, something quite simple: just post one photo each day for seven days and each day nominate a friend to join in. A chain-letter style bit of fun online. It was easy to jump straight in to accept the challenge, overlooking that the photograph should contain neither buildings nor faces. Given some thought, the true nature of the challenge was not in the frequency or regularity of posting but in the subject matter of the posts themselves!
It so happened that on the morning of the day I was nominated I had taken a camera with me on a fairly regular Saturday round of ferrying grandchildren, dog walking and weekly grocery shopping. The weather had turned wet but behind the purple-grey clouds was the promise of sunshine to follow and beautiful contrasty light sparkling on wet surfaces. I had my first post already in the camera!
There’s no getting around the convenience of a digital camera to record images that are to be posted daily but I wanted to use emulsion-based media where time and opportunity permitted.
That opportunity came on Day 2. I chose to use The Countess, a sixteenth-plate camera gifted to me just one year ago, having loaded its plate holders with direct positive paper. Not being a working day I had time to make exposures, develop, dry, scan and choose an image to upload.
With the working week under way, Day 3 was back to digital and what caught my eye was the bright colour of a group of flowers, or perhaps they were weeds (I confess to horticultural ignorance!), growing by the path while out on my lunchtime walk.
Like many others I awoke on Day 4 to the news of a suicide bomber detonating himself amidst a crowd of young concert goers in Manchester. As the day progressed the grim news unfolded of twenty two innocent young lives lost and around sixty injuried, many seriously. My thoughts dominated my choice of photograph to upload. Indeed I wondered whether to pause the frivolity of posting an image at all. In the end I decided to post, along with a summary of my thoughts.
Some days I pause a while when walking on the beach, to watch a ship as it approaches the edge of the world before falling over and disappearing from sight.
Reassuringly I find that ships appear from beyond the edge of the world and I watch them too, comforted to know that beyond the edge is not the end.
Today’s post is for Manchester, for those who have lost loved ones, for those who are suffering physically and mentally, for those who’s lives have been changed by what they have experienced, for those who have sought to help and to bring comfort. For the young people of our society that they might know there is hope.
An incredibly early start to Day 6 gave me time to wander the shoreline enjoying the soft morning light sparkle on the gentle ripples of a peacefully calm sea.
For all that this challenge started out as something fun and an opportunity to take a break from emulsion-based photography if only for the expediency of daily uploading, the bombing in Manchester on Tuesday weighed on my mind. I found myself looking not so much for subject matter to fit the parameters of the challenge but for images to express my emotions and reflections on that dreadful event and it’s aftermath.
What the final image of this series should be has been growing on me over the past couple of days. People from all corners of society have come together, helping, supporting and sharing. I’d like to think that this image is a reflection of the good in our society and of the hope that we have for the future as a result.