The power of a picture

08th May 2014
Whilst editing images for Briar Ridge Books next book, 'The Crystal Lake, Part Three of the Journey' I came across some images of a waterfall I had absolutely fallen in love with on finding and darn near fallen in as well (See Whirling Dervish in Shirelands). About the same time I read a post on FB about a young lass of 13 buying a piece of photographic art from a great photographer I am acquainted with, Glyn Davis of Welsh-light fame. He was blown away that a 13yr old could want photographic art instead of all the other things a normal 13yr old would wish for. I know my Niece Maddie is very into art, she astounds me with her knowledge of the photographic masters and I relish the day we can meander the galleries of London's Photographic scene and the likes of the National Gallery, The British Museum, etc. Also a talented artist with her painting and photography it made me realise that art is more important than we realise for children to keep learning for they are our tomorrow. The Future!

My own photographic poetry books (written by Hilary Jane Jones) really connect with children of all ages including adult ones ;). Parents have told us that their children have suddenly looked at books differently and become interested in reading, going for walks is suddenly exciting, seeing what they can see in the wilds of their surroundings. Brilliant isn't it the unleashing of the imagination. I love hearing stories of how our books have touched someone, opened the door to another world for them. It makes me very thankful for the imagination of Aunts and Uncles and the stories and poems my Father told us three girls very much.

I digress, back to the waterfall. I was having some work framed at a framers near to my favourite second hand book shop. Aardvark Books. Big pieces all at least 30x40 inches in size printed onto a metallic photographic paper that I love. The closest to Cibachrome we can get now, thanks to the powers that be prohibiting Cibrachrome printing nowadays, well in the UK anyway. I hope they don't decide to stop making this paper as well. Whilst at the gallery choosing a frame I was asked if I could print another of the image I was working with. I asked why naturally as big prints are costly to produce. Evidently a lady had been in to the gallery and her son had been with her. Whilst they were looking around and discussing work. The son had moved away from his Mother and started to get antsy. It seems he suffered autism. He was obviously bored and not liking the area he was in. Anyway when he saw my image out on the table awaiting for me to arrive to select frames he stopped dead. Actually stopped biting his hand, fidgeting, cracking his knuckles, pulling his hair and all the traits of a child about to lose it. He simply stood looking at the photograph. Whispering softly to himself and taking every detail in.

His Mother came and found him after looking everywhere through the gallery but not expecting him to be in the back where the workings go on. He looked at her and simply said "Waterfall". Evidently this totally floored his Mother, she was so overcome with emotion that she needed a cup of tea. Her son had never in his entire life (14yrs old) connected with anything. Nothing gained his attention and nothing captured him. He never sat still, never read, coloured, watched tv etc, plus to associate the image with the right words when to her knowledge he couldn't even read was beyond her belief. She immediately bought the picture and arranged for it to be framed, it was to be hung in his bedroom and hoped maybe if she got him into photography a further break through could be made. I really hope she did, it would be so lovely.

My framer told me this as he knew I had been very nervous about getting so many big pictures done it was a lot of money and money I didn't have. I am my own worse critic and I never expect folk to love my work the way they do. I simply do the best I can and hope that others see the beauty in the world the same way I do. To tell the truth it was an amazing exhibition! Everyone adored the huge work and I actually sold 3 of them before they even got hung in Ludlow Library, were they were intended for. I do wish I had been there to meet this lady and her son. To know I have captured the eyes of one so locked in and broken, to have reached through all his issues and helped will stay with me forever. I guess that is why I have such passion about the books I work on, for I know that somewhere they will truly connect someone with nature, art, the real world and bring them back to the people they love. To open the imagination and bring the wonders of Mother Nature back to life. Even in this age of everything virtual we still have those that truly connect to art in its simplest form.

Long may it continue.

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