When I was six years old, myself and my brother won a photography competition with Kodak. Our winning photo was of us playing in our garden during a Summer’s day. Our paddling pool had a whale in the middle of it that squirted water and the photograph showed us squealing in delight under the drops that shot out all around us.
We even attended a little awards ceremony with our parents where we were presented with the prizes for our winning effort – a brand new kodak camera! One for each of us! I can still remember how much pride I felt at my achievement.
I think that’s when my love for photography began. From that very first white Kodak camera, I have always made sure that I owned one. I always believed that a photo told a story but, more importantly, it was a memory frozen in time and I grew up trying to capture every single one. I took my camera on every family holiday. I took it to friend’s birthday parties and sleepover’s. It came with me on school trips and when I eventually went off to University, it came with me on night’s out. I was probably the only one in the club using my camera and not my phone to take pictures, but to me it didn’t matter because I was catching memories. I was catching them all.
When Ieuan was born, I realised that taking photographs was much more than just a hobby for me. It was becoming a lifestlye. I would take photographs of him as he developed and changed and I started to edit them with the help of Photoshop (and my very patient Graphic Designer husband who taught me how to use it). Each one of my photos would be carefully crafted to perfection and placed in a beautiful family album.
Then, five years ago on Christmas Day, Nick surprised me with a Nikon 3200. It was beautiful and I was overwhelmed. How was I ever going to be able to teach myself how to use it? It looked so complicated and technical.
“You’re taking pictures all the time,” Nick told me, “You may as well have a nice camera to do it.”
So I started practising. I started taking more and more photos and eventually I signed myself up for night courses at college (whilst silently cursing myself that I hadn’t realised that this was what I wanted to do with my life when I went to study English at University).
In time, I became my family and friend’s unofficial photographer – whether they wanted me to be or not! I took photos of their families as they expanded and grew. I took photos of their weddings and children’s christenings. And I enjoyed taking every image over those years. I realised that this was probably what I should be doing with my life instead of working on reception.
When Evalyn was still growing in my tummy, I turned to Nick one night and told him my idea.
“Maybe once I’ve had the baby, I could do some more photography on my maternity leave,” I explained, “And then when I go back to work, I could do reception part time and that would give me more time to focus on the baby and my photography? Maybe I could eventually turn it into a little business over the years?”
“I think that’s a great idea,” Nick said.
But it turns out plans can change whether you want them to or not. And in the intial months after Evalyn passed away, I couldn’t even focus on the day ahead let alone the future. Focusing on work was very much at the back of my mind when I spent my days focusing on just trying to get through them.
But one day I started thinking about my photography again and I realised that even though my world had been turned upside down, there was one plan that didn’t have to change.
I threw myself into putting my little photography business together whilst advertising myself as a family and portrait photographer and sure enough, work has started to come in. I told myself that even if I could make it to the end of the year with only two bookings, then I would be grateful and know that I was heading in the right direction. But I’ve been fortunate to have had more than that and although I am just starting out on my new venture, I feel happy that I am finally doing something that I am passionate about.
And more importantly, I am doing it for Evalyn. I am doing it to prove to her that her mummy can try and follow her dreams. I am doing it to show her that I will live for her and that my dreams and my future doesn’t have to end with her passing. I am doing it to prove to myself that I can become someone better through my grief and that I won’t be defeated by it. I don’t want to remain steadfast. I want to challenge myself again and mould this new ‘me’ into someone positive.
I am doing it to make Evalyn proud of me. . . .
Here’s to new ventures! New dreams and new beginnings!