EXPOSED! Photo secrets of a

misspent life

Days at

No. 109: see Family Fragments


Enough of hiding behind the camera! I can now confess that I am Richard Derwent, ex-journalist, people-watcher and long-time amateur photographer. And perhaps it is time to ask the question: are compulsive cameramen like me mad? The French master Jacques Lartigue described the constant urge to document his life in photographs as a kind of sickness. If this is true, I am still awaiting a cure. As a lad I took pictures of our house and pets; as a student I got all serious and a tad pretentious; as a father I took pictures of the children and holiday snaps; now, as a retiree on the loose, I am free to explore the landscapes, cultural events and urban imagery that interest me, as well as charting my personal journey through an emotional landscape of old age and loss. And the photographic evidence often serves as my defining memory of the people, things and places I experience. On a trip, the holiday doesn’t really start until my first photographs are safely in the bag. And while everyone else is cooing over my daughters’ babies, I am quietly watching them, assessing how the light falls across their features, waiting for the moment that will reveal something unique about them. Somehow, life seems all the more intense for having being photographed. But it would be a pity to let my thousands of negatives just accumulate, to moulder away unseen in their opaque acetate sleeves, so here’s my chance to let the light of day in on some of those captured moments.