Finding the Light

by - 14:24

Recently I have developed a keen interest in photography...I say recently but it's always been there, a little creative spark in the back of my mind, the thought that one day I would learn, one day I would take those amazingly beautiful photographs and creative images you see of landscapes, portraits full of life and character, shots of my kids that capture and hold these precious childhood moments in time. I want to take those photos that really speak to you, where you can feel the energy of the subject and there is a real luminosity to the image and such amazing light... I also want to take great shots of my flowers!

I was so fortunate a number of years ago to have met and befriended briefly the late Robert Lassam, a wonderful, kind and inspirational man who had a huge influence on the world of photography. He was one of the founders of the Fox Talbot Museum at Lacock in Wiltshire run by the National Trust and spent a number of years working for Kodak curating exhibitions among other things.
To this day I treasure a copy of his book which he personally gave to me after my husband and I created a metal 'sculpture' for his garden; I say sculpture, it was very crude and almost embarrassing! However this was the man he was, he saw creativity in people and wanted to help them express it, he saw that I loved his stories, the paintings, photographs and art works that graced his home so beautifully and I told him of my own artistic adventures. He believed it was important for people to express that side of themselves, and positively encouraged it, so after learning my husband did metalwork he asked me to design something in which to mount a piece of beautiful glass he had been given, he wanted to place this in his garden so that the light could dance through it and it would be seen, rather than hidden away in his wonderful study. It mattered not to him that the end result was so crude, to him the pleasure in it was knowing that he had encouraged me, that he had facilitated an opportunity for me to express the creativity that he knew had been locked away for so many years due to the stresses and demands of modern life. I met him at a real turning point in my life, a time when I was letting go of my old life and a period of turmoil and entering into a fresh new chapter of self discovery, his encouragement unlocked something inside and helped me to see that I should be leading a life more true to my soul. Some people you meet, even if you only know them briefly can have such a profound effect on you, Robert Lassam was one of those people to me.

His book 'Portrait and the Camera: a Celebration of 150 Years of Photography' is a beautiful book, I would urge anyone with a keen interest in portrait photography to find themselves a copy, in it he features the most wonderful and moving portraits taken by some of the worlds most celebrated photographers, a number of whom he knew personally. I remember him regaling me with many stories of the fabulous, talented and famous people he met and his service as an RAF photographer during the 2nd World War. I look back now with regret at not spending more time with him and his lovely wife Margret, asking more questions and learning more from him, I guess at the time I didn't have the maturity to understand just how much he had to offer and how much it meant to him in his final years to still have someone to 'take under his wing' and encourage, I look back at the brief time I knew him and I see it now, the benefit of hindsight...

I know he would have loved the fact I decided to change career and do something I truly love, I know he would have loved my flowers and most definitely would have taken his camera out and photographed them! I hope that now as I start my adventure into photography {and I have a long way to go!} that he is looking upon me in spirit and guiding me in the right direction. Every time I pick up my camera I think of him sat in his armchair at his beautiful home in Bath with that wonderful twinkle he had in his eye and wonder what he would make of my journey. 
I think he would be delighted that I am finally finding the light...

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