The photographic record

I've never been one for 'having my picture taken'. It's not out of shyness, just an assumption that nobody would really want me in the way and spoiling their photograph. So, there are very few pictures of me in the field. I do know some people who do nothing but pose for the camera, and then post the images all over the place - each to their own, but not for me. I do, however, like taking photographs of wildlife. My family complain that I will happily snap away at a plant or a moth, but steadfastly ignore them. Guilty as charged...

A rarity - a picture of me in the field! High Pines, Fraser's Hill, Malaysia, April 1994

It's not that I don't like people, it's just that somebody else always seems to be taking care of the photographic 'people' element in my life. My wife and daughter's have tens of thousands of images stored on the computer and backed-up elsewhere. We have a pile of photographic albums, full of old-fashioned prints. These are full of the girls when they were babies and toddlers. I used to take pictures of them back then. Come to think of it, when we had our Cocker Spaniel I did take pictures of her, but rarely people. Maybe she counted as being honorary wildlife?

And another! Negev Desert, Israel, March 1986

There are times when I would dearly love to see pictures of gatherings from way back when, but I don't have them. You cannot have it both ways, and unless I break the habit of a lifetime and start clicking away it won't happen any time soon. Oh to have taken pictures of the observatory at Dungeness when it still resembled a junk shop. To have images of the trapping area when the vegetation was only waist and shoulder high. Pictures of Beddington when it was full of elms, had two houses on site (both lived in!) and a network of concrete culverts and outbuildings that we haunted. All long gone. But they live on in the mind. I'm a great advocate of living in the moment rather than trying desperately hard to catalogue it with cameras and phones. You cannot truly experience what's happening through a lens.

Older and heavier, Sandwich Bay, Kent, June 2011


Derek Faulkner said…
Well it's always nice to put a face to a name if nothing else. Although in reality, if I passed you on a sea wall somewhere, I still wouldn't recall who you were. I'm sure I only get recognised most of the time because of my two little dogs tagging along with me. I love looking back at the old photographs that I took, the rabbit catching days, the eel netting, playing in goal for my Sunday league team - all great memories better seen in a photo than trying to be remembered.
Top Boris Becker shorts in Israel shot, sir!
Gavin Haig said…
Yep, I'm with Derek on this one - I love old photos. I am the sort who will buy a photo-book of the town where they live to see what the place was like in days of yore. Brilliant. I've a photo of my grandparents when they were courting (about 1930 or so) taken on a family day out to Tarr steps on Exmoor. There they all are, posing on the stones that are still there today, while my mum's young cousin (a small child then, but now deceased) is playing in the river. Priceless, and I'm very glad someone took the trouble to record it for posterity.
Unknown said…
Back to the Future was 1985 so I see the inspiration for your footwear in Israel.
Lovely to put a face to the name, Steve. You've got the casual, I'm-busy-watching-nature pose down to a fine art!
Steve Gale said…
Derek, as long as you, or somebody close-by, remembers to take the picture, then you've captured that memory. I am quite happy to trawl through my mind to dig them up though.

Simon - good 1980s sportswear spot!

Yes Gav, in agreement with you that historical photographs are fascinating. Future generations can make do with the few that exist of me!

More top fashion spotting from Andrew. Surprised nobody identified my Duran Duran haircut...

Trouble is Lucy, now you know that I don't look like George Clooney!
lol, if it’s any consolation, Steve, I don’t think you’d mistake me for Mrs Clooney!

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