The sleeping baby in this photograph is me! Taken before I turned one with my maternal grandmother, mother, aunt and youngest brother.
It is the only photograph I own with my grandmother and I together. She passed away shortly after this photograph was taken. It’s not an award winning photograph. However, it is the most precious photograph I own.
I felt an immense sense of loss throughout my childhood. All my friends had grandparents who were integral role models. They had close relationships with them – they laughed together, played together, ate together, learnt together, existed together. They didn’t need photographs to remind them of their bond as they were creating real memories in the here and now. I envied these relationships. I wanted that for myself, whilst knowing it would never happen. That time had passed.
I did have this one photograph though. It travelled with me everywhere – university, my first flat, my first family home. I am eternally grateful to my elder brother for taking this photograph, and to my mother for printing it and putting it into an album. It gives me comfort. Looking at it makes me both sad and happy. This single photograph influenced my own parenting decisions, which have ensured that my own children were close to their grandparents and built memories of their own. Many of these memories I have captured on camera too.
This is the power of photographs. They evoke powerful emotions. This is why a camera means much more to me than most. I feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility to capture your memories in a way that is true, honest and real. The tears, the joy, the laughter, the beauty of it all.
Life is precious. Let us capture it. Let us relive it. Let us share it. Let us never forget.