I have recently written about a wonderful project in North Devon called The Wholelife Project. Shortly after my pitch was thumbs-upped by Devon Life, I had a visit from an old friend. She answers to many names; Inner Dialogue, Imaginary Friend, Subconscious Suggestion, call her what you will. And this gal is persistent, popping an idea into my head with superglue. No shifting.
I first heard about the above project from Nancy Nightingale’s nephew, Marley. As part of his home-schooling curriculum, he helps out with both the maintenance and crowd control. One day, whilst he was helping out in Nancy’s garden, he mentioned how much he enjoyed his time at Wholelife. The cogs don’t always whirr, sometimes they dawdle. Several weeks later it dawned on me that this small-holding, which specialises in helping those with behavioural problems and learning difficulties, would make a great article. Their work was something that deserved to be shared.
Please bear with me, I will get to the Guest Photographer bit eventually.
Later Nancy mentioned that Marley was very keen on wildlife photography and his work was pretty good. I checked out his Instagram account and it was obvious that this was not just familial bias. Then my head-popping friend crashed the party. Why not? I thought. You should always give people a chance. I did some maths, approached DL, contacted Matt and Emma from Wholelife and when everyone was in agreement asked if Marley would like to take the photographs for my article. Marley is fifteen. A teenage boy, brimming with hormones, in charge of the pictures for my piece, was that a wise decision? After all it is not just about snapping away; the right shots had to be selected, they had to be reflective of my writing, they must mine into the essence of the subject and they had to be submitted on time. Deadlines: love them and hate them! What could possibly go wrong? I did begin to worry that I had been a little rash.
My worry was wasted energy. Marley produced (a catalogue) of wonderful photographs, far better than anything I could have produced myself. They were well lit and crisp, but more importantly they were sensitive, affectionate and intuitive. There are a lot of good photographers out there, but you have to have something a little bit special to succeed. And I have every faith that Marley will do just that.
And when he makes his first million, I think he should buy me a Harley Davidson.