and if it rains, if it thunders suddenly
where will he shelter looking round
and all that lies to hand is his own bones?
So the composition’s not perfect and the light balance isn’t quite right but hey, I’m not a photographer and my camera’s a ten-year-old point and click, and this is one of my favourite photos I’ve taken this year so here it is to celebrate World Photo Day and the anniversary of the invention of photography. It was taken up on Foggintor near Princetown on Dartmoor in Devon on a blustery March day that had us wrapping our scarves round our noses and drawing our hoods in so tightly that only our eyes were exposed. I’d been for a quick ramble to Foggintor Quarry and with a couple of friends and their dog and we only just made it back to the car when the weather you can see on the horizon in this picture dropped on us.
On 19th August 1839 the French Academy of Sciences announced the invention by Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre of the technique that allowed light to be captured as an image on a chemically treated metal plate. Since then photographic technology has become unrecognisable from its original form but there’s still something magical about being able to capture a moment as an image even if digital cameras and iphones have made the process so accessible and commonplace that we’re all taking unremarkable photos every single day and scrolling past the tedious results on social media.
I got my first digital camera for my 21st birthday and it’s been trustily accompanying me on my trips, slips and social rounds every since. I often get comments along the lines of wow your camera’s so OLD! and look how fat it is as well as don’t you think it’s time you updated it? but it still works and I seem to have managed to take some pretty good shots even if more by accident than design (some of which – like this one – people have even paid money for) and it fits in my pocket so it’s still with me. I often use photography as a form of note-taking as I’ve got quite a visual memory so I’ve been known to take hundreds of pictures on a single expedition, most of which end up discarded, and it’s a great tool for species identification. I can’t imagine life without photography in some form or other, and I’ve no doubt my work and even the way I look at the world would be very different if I suddenly decided to leave the camera behind. So here’s to many more photos, good, bad and better, and Happy Photo Day!
*quote and title from Alice Oswald’s poem Dart
Click here to go to the World Photo Day website and see the pictures people have been adding to the 2016 gallery.