Found through a Lens

As the clock moved to 5 a big grin appeared on Carl's face as that click to 5pm meant the weekend was finally here and time to get the camera out!  Carl was an amateur photographer and spent every weekend rain or shine in and around Brighton.  The diverse city of Brighton had so much to offer to any photographer.

The first stop is Brighton Pier.  Carl stayed here until the sun went down and the lights lit up the promenade and walkway all the way up the pier to the rides at the end.  Children eating candy floss and fish chips, young adults in the arcade and couples sitting together on the benches, it was all here for the snapping.

On Saturday the sky was overcast and angry clouds threatened rain so Carl decided today was a good day for the North Laines.  The variety of shops brought with it a variety of people nipping into Snoppers Paradise and bead shops looking for craftwork and bargains.  As the rain came down the streets started to empty and the shops became busy with people hiding from the rain. 

Sunday morning was Carl's favourite time as this was development time.  Carl was old school and had a dark room to develop his pictures.  He liked the anticipation of seeing the picture develop and was no fan of digital cameras with instant images so quick to delete.  Pictures were memories in the making and imperfections were what made them perfect.

As the Friday evening pictures developed it was clear how windy the evening had been on Brighton seafront as this showed wonderfully in the pictures as they were developed.  A girl's hair whipping across her face, a young woman's hand on the back of her thigh quite obviously holding down her skirt and a young boy holding down his baseball cap and then a beautiful young woman dressed in a cowl neck coat holding something small in her hands looking so worried.   Carl didn't remember seeing this young woman but must admit it was busy for a Friday night.

As Saturday's pictures developed this young woman again appeared outside Jaba Yard store wearing the same coat with a matching hat and gloves and again holding a small piece of paper.  Carl at first thought this woman was photo bombing - but that was absurd, or was it?  He watches in amazement at the photo he remembers taking outside Yummies baby clothes store.  There was a seat outside with a bright yellow raincoat left on it and now this young woman was sitting there with the same piece of paper in her hands and a sorrowful look in her eye.  What was she reading?

Why was Carl so drawn to this woman, why was she in so many of the pictures?

Carl took the picture and blew up the piece of paper the woman is holding.  It was a business card.  It was for a photographer  Mr Bill Davis, 15 Bond Street, Brighton.  Carl felt compelled to go.

So that afternoon Carl set off to find Mr Davis of 15 Bond Street.  What he found was Yummies baby clothes store!  Confused and not sure what he was really doing Carl went into the shop and asked if anyone knew of a Mr Davis, a photographer.  The woman behind the counter seemed to drift off into space for about 90 seconds before replying rather excitedly like knowing the answer to a quiz.... YES!  "Mr Davis, used to own this shop back in the 50s but gave it up years ago but continued to live upstairs until last month when his wife passed away and he moved into a care home".  Carl felt the need to meet Mr Davis but not sure why asked the slightly batty shop owner if she had a forwarding address.  To his amazement, the woman did have the address of the care home and gave it up willingly!

As Carl went to Vale Mount care home it occurred to him he had no idea what he was going to say to Mr Davis, who the woman in his pictures was and that he could not explain his actions right now.

Carl was greeted at reception by a very chipper carer who immediately looked concerned (the same look that the young woman in the photos was giving) when Carl mentioned Mr Davis.  "May I speak with him?" Carl asked tentatively.  "You may," said the carer "but I can't guarantee it will do you any good!  Mr Davis has not spoken to anyone since he moved in here, all he says is lost".  "Lost?" questioned Carl.  "Yes, we believe he is referring to his wife who died last month".

The Carer took Carl to Mr Davis' room and immediately Carl could see what a fantastic photographer he once was.  Beautiful sunsets cast over Brighton Pier, the radiant green from the grass outside the Pavillion and the lovely shades of grey with a long shot of the North Laines.

"These are wonderful" Carl whispered as he entered the room.  A sigh came from Mr Davis "Lost".  Carl sat down next to Mr Davis and not really knowing what to say explained the last day's events and finally showed Mr Davis the photos of the young woman.

Mr Davis took the pictures of the young woman and a tear ran slowly down his cheek.  He looked up at Carl and whispered "Thank you, you found my Mable.  I lost my photos of her when I moved here and with my memory fading I never thought I'd see her again"

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