John's Bolt Hole

Taking pictures

Taking pictures

I’m not too sure how this all came about, well I am really, but it’s the law of unintended consequences, if there is such a law. I can attribute photography to be one of the more innocent pastimes of my youth, which has now become an incredibly enjoyable ‘senior’ activity.  I have vague, early recollections of wrestling with conventional film, loading it into a camera, retrieving it 24 or 36 shots later, and then sending it away to be developed and printed.  At some stage, the acquisition of developing tanks and an enlarger, resulted in converting the bathroom in my parents’ house into a dark room (temporarily, after checking nobody would need the facilities for the next hour or two!!), and indulging in some DIY photo processing.   It’s difficult these days to imagine the process of sealing up a room to eliminate all sources of light, mixing up messy, and slightly smelly chemicals, and then loading light-sensitive paper and film into tanks/enlargers just to produce an image.   It’s also difficult to imagine the elapsed time between pressing the shutter and actually getting to see the outcome. What a difference to the world of digital photography!!  In my day, son………….!

Over recent years, the mere fact that I have a (digital) camera, computer and editing software, and, subject to availability, have been happy to help when asked if I can ‘grab a few shots’, has brought me in to contact with some remarkable people, remarkable initiatives, and remarkable experiences.  

It started in 2014, when I innocently passed comment on some displayed photographs at a Patrons’ Dinner at the Saracens Sport Foundation.  Probably trying to pretend I knew what I was talking about, my casual reference to terms such as ‘aperture’, ‘noise’, and ‘ISO setting’ as I looked at a selection of prints, resulted in a ‘Oh, do you have a camera, then?’ question, rather quickly followed up with ‘Would you be interested in helping us get better images?’.  Isn’t it remarkable how one very simple, innocent question becomes the catalyst for a life-changing experience?  Life-changing?? Well, it certainly has been, timewise and socially!  Just by just answering “yeah, OK then”, within no time at all, I was photographing a wide range of projects undertaken by the Foundation, covering rugby tournaments, Christmas parties for 300 dancing ladies, Nordic walking (or was it Nordic talking – they were a chatty lot), white-water rafting, rugby camps, Pilates classes, rugby projects inside two prisons, the Houses of Parliament, the House of Lords, Wembley Stadium, The London Stadium, and many other locations that have served as venues for activities run by the Foundation.

I really enjoyed it, and in time, I got involved with other charities/non-profits, offering photography and video services on a voluntary basis.  6 years on, there’s a awful lot of events and people who have appeared in the viewfinder of my camera, and it’s now become a self-indulgent habit at the end of each year to look back across the thousands of photos I’ve taken, just to pull out a few that mean something special to me.  And of course, there are some very special stories behind some of the photos, 

So, the simple act of pressing a button, has managed to lock in some special moments and memories, and these can be found in the following links: 

2016

2017

2018

2019

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