‘No matter how much you want something, no matter how big your passion is, it can still be a very complicated journey figuring out who you are and where to find it.’
Over the next few weeks, I am going to tell you the story so far from how I have reached a place that nurtures my passion, my creativity and my thinking. I’m sure many of you have been there and will recognise a number of situations. I also think sharing fertilises positivity so come along and enjoy the ride.
Let me start where we should really, at the beginning. I am an only child; hated this at the start, love it now! Everything life offered was so simple, and without any siblings that wanted attention or to argue with it provided me with a springboard into my own independence that sent me into the world of fantasy, creativity, exploration and managing my own space!
I will be the first to admit it was an isolated world. As I was an only child, my mother was overprotective and preferred me to be at home with her. At four years old I was desperate for some companionship. After ages of pleading I was finally allowed a dog; at last, I had a partner in crime! Don’t get me wrong, my parents loved me very much and spent a lot of time doing practical things with me where I quickly learned skills to create and make, hence my love for finding things to build with now. It taught me maturity and how to behave properly as an adult, but sadly I lacked interaction with other children. This was all too apparent when I started school as I had no idea how to communicate with them, isolating me from social aspects in class. This became a very depressing time for me so I just hid away at home and sought solace from my imagination.
In my early years, my grandmother used to tell me a lot of stories. I loved this escape it gave me; the poetic insight into other worlds where my real life worries didn’t exist. This is about the time when I began to think about my ‘other worlds’ and wondered if I could create them myself. I started by developing characters that looked different to us and only had thumbs on their hands, limiting the things they could do with them! I recited these stories to the adults in my life and based them on all the things I thought went on in the world. I imagined how places looked and drew pictures, painted and built things. Then the detail of the characters increased and I loved watching people and drawing their faces, it was much more comfortable than interacting and easier! Without fully understanding it, I was forming my artistic expression. I didn’t have other like-minded children to interact with but I was beginning to enjoy all my discoveries and became very busy discussing with my dog all the things I would do, it was a secret so who better to tell!
As time went on I felt more confident when expressing myself in school. Regularly I was reprimanded for wasting time, to do as I was told and stop illustrating your exercise books; its bad behaviour! Being creative was my protective wall around me from all the negative people, actions and situations that I didn’t understand. Without it, I felt I would shut down. One shining light from school came from art class. There was one teacher that I will never forget at that time; his response to the nine-year-old showing her piece of work was “blimey that’s amazing” then he looked embarrassed for his phraseology! It made me smile and feel good, I can’t remember many other times like that, oh except when my headmistress came to see my parents and said she had never met such an obstinate child …..I couldn’t stop smiling at that one! Still enjoy it now and I haven’t changed!
Determined to keep getting back up and do my thing, I discovered photography at about 10 and my parents gave me a small plastic camera. Capturing moments appealed to me and how you capture that moment when you are looking into the viewfinder makes all the difference. I felt it was more what I see, not so much what was actually there. Soon after my hero became the famous and amazing photographer Henri Cartier- Bresson, the holder of the phrase ”The decisive moment” Oh what an eye that man had!! In my mind, he was either telepathic or sat in places for days waiting for that moment!
So for a few years I was having fun with photography, became friends with someone else interested in it and we joined the school photography club. By about 15 we started having some careers advice groups and in my first one, I said I wanted to be a photographer when I left school. The teacher looked at me and smiled, then said: “but what do you want to do as a serious job”? I sighed and said something along the lines of “ like me, I don’t see many photographers smiling, that’s a serious job in my books! I was told off and made to go away and think seriously about my career! Obviously, on the next occasion, I said I had thought VERY seriously about it……….and I am going to be a photographer!