Alec picked up where he’d left off.
‘You were saying that you felt happy to have your job at Hannays. Would you like to say a bit more about that? I’d have thought you’d be still on the lookout for an opportunity as a professional photographer. Surely it can’t be because of what this ex-boyfriend said?’
‘No, but not many firms are recruiting graduate photographers who don’t have a history of published work. And free-lance photography is insecure. Craig was right to say what he did in a way. Family portraits – photographing babies, toddlers and even weddings are now being done more by family members. If they don’t have a camera, they’ll have a camera phone. Couples who are budgeting will often sacrifice an expensive professional album for digital images they can look at on a TV screen or a computer monitor.’
A waitress approached to announce that their table was ready.
Alec returned to the conversation, walking beside Mel as the party was being led to their room.
‘So, have you given up on the idea of professional photography?’
‘No,’ she said, ‘but working at the shop, I’m now able to keep up to date with the latest in pro equipment and, since Jamie let me loose on a recent Group outing, it looks like my photos will be getting seen in a respected monthly magazine. If I get more opportunities like that, I’ll be getting the best of both worlds – an audience for my work and a regular salary. The shop will get good advertising from it. It’s a win-win situation.’
‘Does Tony know how you feel?’ he asked as they reached their table.
‘I think he may do,’ she said, ‘but it’s not something that I’m deliberately hiding.’
Lucy was, by now, herding people into places around the table. She placed Mel in between Jamie and Tracy. Tracy had been assigned to an end-of-table position with the baby in the buggy, though she was standing at that moment rocking her baby to soothe her. Little Elaine was making herself heard, probably irate at being recently changed. As the howling gradually lessened, Tracy sat with the child in her arms and showed her to Mel.
Mel made the necessary, expected cooing sounds.
‘I assume that you don’t have any children yet,’ Tracy said, ‘Certainly not with a figure like yours. I can’t wait to get my shape back.’
‘Not yet and nowhere in my future either,’ Mel told her, ‘Anyway – I’m off men. They’re not part of my plan at all.’
Tracy laughed, ‘Hmm, I heard about your ex,’ she said, ‘but you can’t let one bad apple put you off fruit.’
Elaine was now asleep, and Tracy got her settled in the buggy before she turned back to Mel.
‘Sorry about that. You were saying…’.
‘I’ve realised that I want to build up my career,’ Mel said, ‘and I hope that I can do that working for your Mum and Dad – perhaps by showing them that I can work both as shop assistant and as the resident photographer for the business. You know, doing portrait and weddings for the folks who still want a professional job doing.’
Jamie had been keeping quiet, but he had been listening to their conversation.
‘Actually,’ he said, ‘I haven’t discussed it with dad, but I’ve been thinking along the same lines. How would it work though?’
Mel waited until they’d told the waiter what they’d chosen to eat and drink.
‘I’d see anything that I did in or for the shop as being extra income for Hannays’ – done as part of my salary – though I’d hope that I could use kit from the business to do it. I’d probably also need use of the shop’s upstairs front room as a studio – you know, the one next to the gallery?’
Jamie said, ‘Okay, I’ll talk to dad about that. What about your personal work, done outside the shop?’
‘I could probably do most of that on the back of the Group outings,’ she said. ‘You told me that I’d retain copyright on any photographs that I took on those trips. It would be great if I could get some of those published – and I’d hope for a share of the profit from gallery sales of my images. I’d also expect to keep all the income from any further magazine work, competitions, or outside exhibitions – if I ever reach those dizzy heights. Does that sound cheeky?’
‘Well,’ he said, ‘I hadn’t through that far ahead. I don’t blame you for thinking big. What you’ve said sounds reasonable in principle to me. I’ll mention that too.’
She thanked him.
A couple of week’s ago, I went to New Brighton – a resort on the north Wirral coast in Merseyside to photograph the sunset. There was too much cloud to see the actual Sun, but I liked the light anyway. Today’s photo in the series shows a long exposure of the Perch Rock lighthouse again with rocks in the foreground being washed by the incoming tide.
I used my Pentax KP 24 MB cropped sensor camera with a Pentax 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens. The EXIF data were shutter speed was 30 seconds at f/9 and 24 mm. The ISO was 100. The shot was tripod mounted and post-processed in Lightroom.