As a youngster I was gently haunted for a number of years by an image of a castle atop a craggy outcrop, Carreg Cennen Castle in mid-Wales to be exact. My sister, slightly more than a toddler, stood in front of it one hand in a pocket of a coat fit to fend off hilltop winds, the other hand indecisive. I couldn’t help but feel I’d witnessed that scene with my own eyes but my conscious memory dictated I’d never been to Carreg Cennen. Indeed I’ve not consciously been there to this day.
I asked if I had been there on that day and was told, it was thought, I might not yet have been around at the time.
The image formed the starting point of a presentation I delivered to a group of school teachers recently. The presentation was entitled, wait for it, The psycho-psychology of second child syndrome, memory indexing and making an exhibition of oneself. Photographically speaking. Any second or subsequent children here found they were photographed a great deal less as children than their first-born sibling? :~)
I spent many hours preparing for that presentation as I re-discovered my way through a wealth of imagery from my childhood (indeed the childhoods of my parents even) through my first adventures in photography, my work as a local newspaper photographer at a relatively tender age, my subsequent experimentations and forays into documentary photography, exhibition and wedding photography.
The process proved a real tour de force for me and led to a realisation as to why I’m driven to photograph people, contextualised by environments and underscored by a sense of time. It was a veritable epiphany to be honest.
One day I discovered that I had indeed been there, at Carreg Cennen, in person.