Ayla Akdemir.  Photo credit Laura Jackaman.

Ayla Akdemir.  Photo credit Laura Jackaman.

My grandfather was passionate about capturing moments he loved, of people he loved
 

My name is Ayla, (pronounced like other name Isla,) and I am the chief Wagtail here at Wagtail Productions. I have always been obsessed with taking photographs, even as a child. I documented our lives at home and usually took the photos into primary school, sometimes much to my mother's embarrassment. Sorry mum.

My Granddad Raymond

My Granddad Raymond

I had always assumed creativity was something I had inherited from my father's genes. That was until I found a huge amount of photographs and super 8mm footage that my grandfather on my mother's side had shot. At first glance it was just another family's home movies and snaps. But I realised he wasn't just snapping away, he took great care in the shots. The compositions and the timings were something considered and beautiful.

Old cameras from sixty plus years ago are not easy to use- the image in the view finder can be hard to make out and depending on the camera, displayed upside down.  Unless it's an instant camera there is no way to preview your images and check you have the shot, until your film is developed. I personally love using old cameras and have a growing collection. I've started to use my super 8mm Nizo film camera as an extra when I'm doing wedding videos and the look of the footage is beautifully nostalgic. Film cameras force you to take a different more considered approach- observe your subject as they are in front of you. With digital the tendency is to be snap-happy and then check on the screen after. And if it really goes wrong, there's always retouching capabilities.

Nowadays most people own a camera or a least a smart phone with a camera. You could say that now "everyone's a photographer" to a degree; maybe not a very skilled one and perhaps the convenient auto settings on digital cameras are to blame for that. Most people take snaps of their children, of their lives. My grandfather was passionate about capturing moments he loved, of people he loved, in a time where very few families had cameras of their own and there were no social networks to encourage this kind of behaviour.

Granddad and I

Granddad and I

Sadly my grandfather passed away when I was 15, and I never got a chance to tell him how talented I think he was or for us to explore our passion for capturing moments, together. We were inseparable during my childhood. I find it hard to believe that so many years have passed since we were together because my memory of him is still crystal clear- his voice, his laugh, the way he walked. If I ever feel like my memories are becoming too distant, I watch the old footage, travel back in time and I'm there with him again. And that's what it's all about really- that's what I do now for other people; preserve their precious memories.

Photograph by Raymond Root

Photograph by Raymond Root

Photograph by Raymond Root

Photograph by Raymond Root

My mother and uncle. Photograph by Raymond Root

My mother and uncle. Photograph by Raymond Root