Emotions, stories & connection - Shelley Costello Photography
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Emotions, stories & connection

03 Mar Emotions, stories & connection

Once a month or so I am a guest on the Ady Dayman BBC Radio Leicester show…and in yesterday’s show we talked a bit about how photos can transport you back to a moment in time. Ady talked about this photo of the Peak District that came up on his photo feed and instantly he said he was back to the moment just 10 minutes after the photo was taken, when he found out his wife was expecting their first child. He said I was back in that moment when she said, ‘need to talk’, and I thought I was headed for the divorce court!

The other show guest, Lisa, said one of the photos that stuck in her mind was one of her sandwiched between 2 friends who she and her husband had spent a boozy weekend with in Newcastle. Except that she had found out just before leaving she was pregnant and so was totally sober – seriously not sure what the situation is with these pregnancy stories but mine definitely wasn’t one of those!

When asked, I said, that’s the epitome of photography; every photograph has the power to evoke the emotion felt at the time it was taken. For me it goes much more beyond this – what makes brilliant photography is the photographer’s ability to capture the emotion, essence, experience and truth in a moment. Everyone will perceive a photograph differently, but as the photographer, if you can capture that, then the gift to those you give it to, or who see it, will be to evoke that emotional response. This is why I love wedding photography and the process of editing the photographs after the wedding is such a beautiful thing to me, because I am reliving those moments – with it being a wedding they are obviously happy, joyful and full of laughter.

Later yesterday, I thought more about this because something I always say when asked about my photography style, is that I create a story. Whether it be in one photograph or certainly in the case of weddings, the story of someone’s day, pieced together in photographs; lots of moments that create that wedding day story.

Actually, photographs also act as the catalyst for stories, because like yesterday, when describing a photo that evoked emotion for Ady and Lisa, they then went on to tell us about their story around that.

All from one photograph…I took the photograph in this blog post at Sudbury Hall, in the Long Room. I did some research about the Long Rooms – they were popular in stately homes during Elizabethan and Jacobean times. They had several purposes, but one curious one which a guide at Sudbury Hall had talked to me about. Because women of the time didn’t get exercise during the winter – far too cold for women to be roaming the gardens (rolling eyes emoji definitely appropriate here) –  Long Rooms served to allow women to walk up and down in to exercise.

When I see this photo I am suddenly in Pride & Prejudice. The antique and creamy hues of the photo remind me of grand dresses and romance and I love both! That’s where I am transported to. It isn’t that I have that memory myself of course (I know I am nearing a big 0 birthday, but little too far!) but nevertheless I am transported to that time, the whole emotion that evokes within me and then the story around the Long Room comes up.

So photographs are truly incredible – capturing a moment in time to enable you to relive or evoking the emotion or experience, to tell a story and to create a story. Photography is a brilliant connection that ripples out far beyond the moment in which it is captured.