Story of a Photograph: The Orme

The Orme – Llandudno

I have a small cherished book at home by photographer Joel Meyerowitz (compiled by Colin Westerbeck), where Joel has provided some text alongside each image as a way of putting some context to the shot; what was happening at the time, his thoughts etc, that kind of thing. I have always found it a fairly compelling book and one of my favourites, probably because it gives an extra insight into the images and reveals a side not at first obvious. There are some people who say you shouldn’t give descriptions to photographs (it should be up to the viewer to put their own interpretation on it). Fair point I suppose. My own personal view is that I suppose it depends on the photograph, some photos are obvious, some are best left to be intriguing, and some can become a story in their own right with a few added words or background.

Fellow blogger Josh White (jtinseoul) did a couple of posts in a similar vein a while back, which he called Back-Stories, where he talked about single images from his archive. I thought I would like to do something similar, if only to give a little understanding about why I take certain shots and maybe make a series of it; I have decided to simply call it  – Story of a Photograph.

*I have just noticed that Story of a Photograph spells out the word SOAP, not sure if that has any relevance but I guess it makes a good tag for the posts: The Soap Series.

First up: The Orme:

Alongside the seaside town of Llandudno in Wales, GB is a mountain/hill known as The-Orme. For some reason that now escapes me I headed up there with my parents in the depths of winter (they were renting a place nearby at the time) for a stroll about the wind-blown summit. We ambled about for a while over the tussock blitzed peak staring at goats, looking through the windows of the shut summit-cafe and reading peeling notices at the information centre, then when we could stand the cold no more we headed back to the car.

As I climbed in I noticed a group of Jewish day-trippers huddled together on a low wall on the other side of the car-park, staring out to sea whilst swaying back and forth singing some religious song from what I could tell. I am not a religious person myself, but somehow I found the sight of them arm in arm fixed in their devotion strangely moving. I pulled out a small compact I had with me and took a shot through the window as my father turned the car to head home.

Later, back at home, I saw something else that I hadn’t noticed whilst I was there; I saw several small crosses on the car-park floor which looking back seems kind of apt.