The summer. What us folk in PR call the silly season. When you read articles and news stories that usually wouldn't even have the privilege of being opened by a journalist in their inbox let alone landing half a right hand page in a national newspaper! Endless images of pink people packed onto the sandy beaches across the UK's rarely sun-kissed coast, sweaty suited and booted Londoners soaking up the lunchtime rays in a deck chair in a Royal park, lidos laden with bikini-clad hipsters. You get the picture.
I'm a sucker for a strong visual. I'm a bit in love with Instagram. And those that know me know how much I love a good hashtag. I'm sure you're familiar with the phrase - a picture can paint a thousand words. That certainly sprung to mind when I saw the recent image staring at me on all of the front pages of the newspapers. I'm sure you know the one I'm referring to - the horrifyingly young boy who had been rescued from the rubble. Rather than evoking a thousand words though, it rather rendered me completely speechless if I'm honest. I battled a bit with whether I agreed with it being published or not - knowing that the little boy wouldn't have had any control over saying yes or no to having the photo taken in the middle of such unimaginable trauma.
On the flip side, editors deciding to publish it bought crucial international focus and attention to the ongoing atrocities of this war and its aftermath once again. It also made me appreciate the risk and the sheer determination and guts it takes for that photographer to get into the mess and try to capture an image like that in order to help to expose and, hopefully, ultimately contribute to changing it.
News photography is definitely not something I feel called to or indeed brave enough to attempt, however, being captivated by images and the stories they can tell and the emotions or memories they can evoke made me want to learn a bit more about the art and skill of taking a good photo. Following a course and investing in a bit of kit, I've started trying to capture just everyday, ordinary moments and hopefully some more interesting ones as and when I get the privilege of visiting somewhere different! I think we all think we can take a good photo with our various gadgets and devices but let's just say I soon learnt that the auto setting on an DSLR is pretty useless and an iPhone just doesn't cut it (even with numerous Insta filters applied). My respect for professional photographers has grown exponentially in the small time I've been learning. Maybe I'll try my luck and see if a picture editor will publish one of my images during silly season next year...