Now I am fully aware that this is a long shot. A very long shot. But I’ve been thinking about writing you for a whole week, and I never take chances, and this IS a long shot, but I thought I’m gonna do it, I’m just gonna bloody do it! So here I am. You see Lucky, it’s not just the fact that you take the most beautiful pictures I’ve ever seen, but when I saw you last year, and when you spoke about your approach to your work and your life, I had a lump in my throat, the whole time. Because I felt like you had raided my brain and were spilling out my thoughts for all to hear. I hope to have my own wedding photography business one day, and your model is pretty much how I’ve always thought I would want to conduct my own business. It was a bit of a revelation, meeting you and I know that sounds dramatic, but it was, and it has all ready changed my life for the most wonderfully better.
It’s not every day you get an email like this one, let alone from the other side of the planet. Deirdre (better known as Deeds) and her partner Doug live in London and the thing she had heard me speak at was the Folio Final Fling (an event put on by my amazing album company Folio Albums). She wrote quite a bit more and ended her email with “So whaddya say?”- I was online at the moment the message came through so I cheekily replied with just “I say I’m in.” A few emails later, it was all sorted, I was going to go to a farm in the south of England in a tiny town called Stoke Charity to share in their wedding day.
This trip to Europe, and more specifically Deeds and Doug’s wedding was something I realised later on that I kinda needed to have done. It’d been a rough few months, Kristen had been quite sick (in the end, so unwell that she was unable to join me on this trip) and on top of that, albeit less significantly, I was having a crisis of self-doubt. I just wasn’t sure how I was making a difference to peoples’ lives and I didn’t know if my work was good enough, either for myself or for the people I was photographing. It’s something I’ve always struggled with but have managed to be able to push it down, just because that was what I needed to do to get things done. But from the moment I arrived at their house in the north of London, Deeds and Doug, along with their friends and family, helped me realise that I DID make a difference in their lives and that I had a lot to offer them, not only as a photographer but as a person too. It’s a bit intangible really and I can think of lots of small specific examples of how it happened but it’s just easier for me in hindsight to say that I felt truly valued and appreciated. And it seemed that this tiny biy of external validation was the kickstart I needed to get myself going again – I remember a conversation with Kristen a few months later when I got home where she said that although things had been really difficult for her and that she missed me, she was also happy that I’d been able to have this adventure and to experience what I had (more on this in the next few blog posts). And as much as I had missed her and at times wished she was with me, I knew that she was right.
I guess it’s no surprise that any of this happened though, Deeds and Doug are kind and deeply caring so it’s somewhat inevitable they will make you feel happy. They’re both nurses and some of that ability to look out for people comes out in them even when they’re not working, it’s just a power they seem to have. And as I’m writing, I know that the world will be just a little more special in a few weeks time as they’re just about to have a tiny new life join them – they will be amazing parents together. If they make that child feel as loved as I did, it’ll be a beautiful thing.