Frequently, being a photographer is a huge privilege – I get to share significant moments in people’s lives, to see sights that matter a great deal to people, and to handle and shoot historic artefacts which are truly unique.
Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be asked to shoot a historic document at St Mary’s Church in Fowlmere, a few miles outside Cambridge.
The document, referred to as the Round Robin, dates from 1912 and commemorates the installation in the village of a water pump the previous year. Around a central inscription, numerous locals have signed the document recording their gratitude for the advent of the pump – the significance of the circular layout being that no one signatory had precendence over another.
I won’t say more about the history for now – I understand that the village has plans to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Round Robin, so if you are interested it is well worth a visit. The well itself is still in existence too, in the village centre, next to the war memorial.
What struck me about the document was the real sense of pleasure and gratitude that it records – a genuine appreciation of an event. It’s fashionable these days to comment on how negative the world news is; some would argue it’s even de rigeur to be a cynic in Britain these days. I’m not sure I wholly accept that – I think we do still celebrate momentous events from time-to-time, and contrary to what the media might tell us I think most of us realise that the world is not mostly about bad news.
But I wonder what would happen if we celebrated just a little more often, and not just for the big things. Maybe if we all took a moment each morning just to notice two or three things we are thankful for, however small they might seem to others, we might start the day in a better place. After all, celebration needn’t always be a major public event – a quiet thank you to yourself while sitting on the bus or standing in the shower can be just as heartfelt.
This may all seem rather homespun and quaint…perhaps it is. But faced with the choice of starting the day with something to be happy about or something to fear or moan about, I know which I’ll be choosing!