One morning last week it was foggy in the forest, I could sense the children’s excitement with this change to normal ‘rain or sun’ routine as we walked into the school playground. They weren’t the only ones excited, for I had plans to drive straight to the waters edge at nearby Hythe and take some atmospheric photos over the Solent.
Alas it was not to be, for when I arrived the fog was too thick. Muttering to myself about how highly inconsiderate the depth of ‘bastard fog’ was, I started to drive back home, feeling somewhat despondent. As I drove along I spotted a group of cows feeding in a field at the side of the road, they looked amazing. Clocking the small local shop and car park on the opposite side of the road I indicated and pulled over – all was not lost, for now I had bovine!
And then I spotted them. Teenagers. Three of them sitting on the road sign opposite the gate to my intended destination. After the standard ‘shouldn’t they be in school’ question to myself I started to work out what I’d say if confronted about taking photos… I’m typically British you see, very apologetic and easily embarrassed, if I had my way I’d put on some Harry-Potteresque Cloak of Invisibility, take the photos and head home.
‘Confidence is key’ I told myself, people take photos everyday, no one is going to notice a middle aged woman wading through long wet grass and mud with a highly conspicuous white camera taking photos of cows. Are they? Yes, of course they are. But no one would actually say anything to me though, after all we’re all terribly British yes? No, of course they are going to talk to me.
‘Why are you taking photos of cows?’, oh that’s right youths, hit me with the obvious, question was what to reply… I could be taking photos for a school project… maybe I’m halfway through a photography course… or a features photographer for Country Life… or a artistic tourtured soul seeking images to represent mans post-apocalyptic future tragedies. The more I tried to think of a good answer the odder I looked. Aha! I have it – ask an obvious question and I’ll bat an equally obvious answer back at ya…
“I think they look pretty cool stood there feeding in the fog”
What happened next was a highly unexpected and uplifting moment, over they walked, took out their mobiles and took a few photos of the cows too. To passers by in cars it must have been a very odd sight, but crouching there snapping away I decided that from now on I want to be that random person taking photos, the one people pass and notice briefly before going about their business and if I’m really lucky they might look past me and see what I’m seeing and has made me stop and stare too.