May 2017 I wasn't working as a photographer.
I had a camera, but it was broken and I felt my creativity was damaged slightly too.
I was in some kind of limbo. With no money to purchase a new camera and a feeling that I didn't belong in the family photographer world I had seen around me, I was lost. I knew from listening to my heart and my empty hands, I was pulled to make images and I spent my days looking at the world as if it was tiny rectangles. Often stopping to capture, but with just my eyes, I knew that photography was my route.
At this stage I would take on anything to keep myself busy and when I heard that a house was in need of clearing I was there.
I am a junk shop archaeologist in my spare time - I was all over this!
Over two days I helped clear a home that belonged to a lady who had passed away. Her belongings drenched in the layers of years which built up her identity for me. The books she loved, the clothes she wore, the items she had squirreled away in draws lined with scented paper and then in a trunk sandwich layered between Christmas decorations- the photos she took.
I clearly remember sitting in the space under a stairwell after finding her photographs and wanting to chuck everyone else out of her home, for they were moving things and filling skips and bins. I didn't want them to touch one more thing. This was a site I wanted to preserve for that fierce archaeologist in me had found something. You have probably gathered from my past blogs and posts that my life is lead with my heart, emotional is my one of my middle names (after memory keeper) and I just felt that the photographs was the last piece I needed to understand her.
Filling the boot I took all of her photos, every single one. Because if I didn't I was told they would be burnt and walking to the car I had tears. Not because she had passed, or even because the house was being cleared, but because these black and white printed images where, history, hi(story), story, her story.
Her story was modest.
Small seaside holidays.
A simple city life.
The same friends through out the years visually ageing in her snaps.
Babies from friends.
Herself as a bridesmaid and her work life documented.
From looking closely and researching, I found out that this lady, Valerie, worked in the city as a photographers assistant and a photographic printer. She had spent a huge amount of time documenting her work life, down to her prepping prints, developing and standing proud in her work space. Photographs where not only important to her in the sense of recording smiles, she seemed to use them as a way of recording her life. No filters, no props. Just her and that sung to me.
Here was this lady, who I never got to meet, showing me her past through her photo-story and the link of our love with printed moments. As well as sorting out her photographs I also sorted through furniture, clothes and items which I went on to sell to people who would cherish the items once again - I even managed to save her wedding dress that still hung in her wardrobe the day she died.
I think she would have liked that, no, I know she would have loved that. New life in her backstories.
And coming full circle, the money I made from that house clearance was the last few pounds I needed to buy the camera I so desperately needed to start my journey and it felt so good. Hers might have ended, but really it just carried on with me.
I knew no one in those photos, but I felt connected to them.
I had never met them, but I didn't need to.
Photographs are our way of passing down our legacy. They are the only way, especially in this crazy fast world to stop the hands on the clock. Photographs are really all we have to leave when our time is done.
So Just think for a moment - what is your story? and is it printed?
I am talking your real story here, your life as it is right now. Your moments that matter, with out polishing.
Are you archiving your life, your children's life, your elderly grandparents life in a way that will help you reconnect with that phase once its long gone? If no, let me help you. Think about the what you want to fill your family albums with, not necessarily your Instagram feed and drop me a message, I would just love to know what you would love to have recorded.
For one day, when you are no longer here, someone will love those pictures - even if you have never get the chance to meet them.
So with this camera, I am shouting out to all reading this. Record your moments, print your loves and write on the back.
I am offering all family sessions, booked this week for 2018 - 2019 a complementory print, a gift from me to you, to place in your family's history album.
Family Storytelling Sessions and Day In The Life Sessions are available across the whole of the UK and beyond.
Based in Portsmouth Hampshire I am perfectly located for families along the South Coast.
Click HERE to contact me today.
Love Karah - The Glass Narrator
OUR HISTORY - VISUALLY - DOCUMENTED - PRINTED - PRESERVED