‘Praise or blame has but a momentary effect on the man whose love of beauty in the abstract makes him a severe critic of his own works.’ John Keats
When it comes to their own work, artists have immutable opinions. For instance, if John Brandwood curls his lip at a particular image, no amount of you or I telling him ‘it’s really rather nice, John’ will change his opinion. So, when it comes to capturing that indefinable image with the iconic qualities that sum up sum-up the whole day, John records anything and everything that alerts his attention. What could it be, this image: a platoon of sherry bottles ready to greet the guests; a single candle burning in the church; a hand draped casually on a shoulder, a stolen kiss? To capture images like these, time – and a flawless eye for detail – is all that is required. In an atmosphere of all-pervading panic, when the schedule is out the window and tempers are fraying, there is no time to collect these easily missed moments, these ‘still life’ compositions that tug at the heartstrings and form the bases of indelible memories. It’s all about feeling comfortable. As always, time is the key. No photographer can imbue a chaotic scene with tranquillity and serenity, but a good photographer is able to impose order on an event so that those quiet moments have time to happen, to emerge naturally and organically, rather than having to be ‘created’ in a blur of ‘just duck your head down’ or ‘can you get a tad closer?’ instructions. The very best photographs are not composed by instructions; rather they are composed in an instant, to be savoured for a lifetime.