“Events, dear boy, events”
Which as many politically aware Brits will recognise was the answer given by former Tory Prime Minister Harold Macmillan when asked what the greatest danger to any political career was. It’s a salutary reminder that whatever your plans, none of them will ever survive first contact with reality.
Regular readers may have noticed that this blog has been conspicuous by its absence of late. I knew it’d be a while between postings: at the end of March, I had a pretty full diary and I was going to be spending quite a bit of time either taking photographs or preparing them for clients. It went something like this:
25 March – photograph members of pressure group 38 Degrees handing over petition against changes to the NHS to Dan Byles MP. Mail to their publicity officer.
26 March (morning) – travel to That London to participate in the TUC March for the Alternative against the Coalition Government’s spending cuts; (evening) – travel back from London to photograph a 16th birthday party, for delivery to client by 29th March.
27-29 March – put party pictures through post. Mail 38 Degrees pictures to the local Atherstone Herald newspaper because they can’t get hold of 38 Degrees’ publicity officer.
1 April – travel to North Wales.
2 April – travel on special train “The Snowdonian”, which was a part of the build-up to the re-opening of the Welsh Highland Railway later on in April.
3 April – return home. Put pictures through post to try to sell to magazines.
8 April – travel to Derbyshire to attend re-opening of Ecclesbourne Valley Railway between Wirksworth and Duffield. Then try to sell pictures (see 3 April).
9 April – draw breath. Think about new blog entry. Carry on with normal work.
So that was the plan.
I arrived home at tea-time on Sunday 3rd to find my dining room window smashed, my office door broken down and my desktop computer gone. Fortunately, all my files have multiple backups – indeed, no pictures are stored on the computer at all – but suddenly I was without a live Internet connection, which put paid to any idea of hawking pictures around publishers at all quickly. And even though I could do the post processing of my pictures on my laptop (which I had with me), that machine had never been attached to the internet and would take a while to configure properly. Not to mention the fact that I was suddenly faced with dealing with the police and insurance companies, as well as doing all the clearing up that the aftermath of a burglary leaves.
Then the insurance company began to throw spanners into the works. Suddenly, they took exception to the fact that my house was underpinned because of subsidence twenty years ago, even though I specifically chose that company because they only appeared to be concerned with underpinning that happened less than five years ago. So instead of a rapid visit from a loss adjuster, I’ve had to jump through a number of investigative hoops and the case was only referred yesterday to underwriters for a decision as to whether they will honour the claim at all. I get the feeling I’ll be writing more on this later.
Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to get on with building my business. I popped out to photograph a steam special (pulled by 6201 “Princess Elizabeth”) early on Saturday morning, just a mile from my home. Then on Sunday, we had a nice trip out to Calke Abbey in Derbyshire, a crumbling stately home which the National Trust have maintained in a suspended state of decay. It is best described as ‘Gormenghastly’. Although I can’t sell any of the pictures because of the restrictions the National Trust put on commercial photography, I got some very nice material showing picturesque decrepitude. Then on Wednesday, I took myself to Manchester to attend a seminar given by Redeye (the North-West based photographic collective) on commercial photography. I picked up some ideas and leads, had a lot of my business approach vindicated, and had a chance for a walk around Manchester, a city I’ve always liked but not visited for a few years.
And I’ve had a couple of good news items. Firstly, a picture of mine has been highly commended in a competition in Australia – the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney has run a railway photography competition in the past two years, and this is the second time I’ve had an image in the “Trainspotters” category commended. And secondly, I’ve been invited to a photographic agent’s launch party. The Lisa Pritchard Agency runs a contest every two years to see if there’s any emerging talent they should be picking up; and although I didn’t make the final cut, I do get the opportunity to go and mix with other pros next month at the launch party for the successful candidates.
And in the meantime, I’ve got plenty of photographs to review, put through post, print and mount so I can get out into the big wide world and sell, as well as finishing off some spec work that’s been on the back burner because of Events. So, onwards and upwards!