‘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.
Jamie looked across to Tracy, ‘She’s not been with us six months yet and she’s planning a takeover already.’
‘Not a takeover, Jamie,’ she said, ‘just my bid for some personal independence from men. I don’t intend to be a kept woman.’
‘Good for you, she said.
Jake chipped in from the other side of the table, asking his wife if she had any regrets about being married. She denied it adamantly.
Lucy, sitting next to Jamie, commented on how well the young people at their end of the table seemed to be getting on.
Mel had missed most of the other conversations that had led to the raised voices she’d occasionally noticed. The occasional bits that she’d heard all seemed to be political arguments about Brexit.
She didn’t get much chance to talk to the grandparents until later – after the meal when they managed to get some room to sit together and talk over coffee.
Duncan, Tony’s grandad came and sat by Mel. She had lots of questions to ask him about his being a wartime military photographer, and he seemed to enjoy regaling her with details of the nature of the work and the equipment that he’d had to work with.
She asked him about how he’d come to be chosen to do that kind of military service. He explained that, before the war, he’d been training to be an optometrist and that he had a good knowledge of lenses. His hobby had also been photography.
In turn, he quizzed her about her graduate studies and about the portfolio that she was still building. He seemed to have remembered all the Malham photos that she’d shot on the outing. He asked about the camera she’d used and how she’d chosen her viewpoints. They talked about cameras they liked. He too had owned and been fond of Mamiya cameras. Like Alec and Carol, he was curious about her reasons for wanting to work in the shop.
By the end of the afternoon, the only people that she hadn’t really had much chance to talk to were Tony and Lucy.
Mel’s dad came to collect her from the hotel and was pleased that she was able to report that it had been an enjoyable and interesting occasion.
Mel had left the family still talking together.
Duncan, Alec, Tony and Jamie were sat around on end of the table while Carol, Fiona, Lucy and Tracy occupied the far end. Baby Elaine was in her buggy between Carol and Fiona.
Jamie mentioned the conversation that he, Tracy and Mel had been having about Mel’s hopes for the future. Tony said that it was still early days, though he could see some merit in the idea of the shop offering some type of photography services to its customers.
‘What’s the problem?’ Alec asked. ‘Are you worried that if the girl starts taking some of your customers’ photographs for them that they won’t be buying cameras from the shop?’
‘Put like that,’ Tony answered, ‘it isn’t really likely, is it?’
‘Anyway, Dad,’ Jamie said, ‘Some of the people who still want to have a professional photographer taking photos of their big occasions may not be shop customers otherwise. Mel might be able to drum up some custom for cameras and so on from people at such events.’
‘It’s all extra income,’ Alec said, ‘it would fit nicely with your limited passport photo business – don’t you think?’
‘Okay, okay,’ Tony conceded, ‘I’ll have a word with her – but that means that she’ll sometimes not be in the shop to do the work that we took her on to do.’
Duncan took his turn in the discussion.
‘Whatever you do Tony, lad,’ he said, ‘don’t lose that girl. She’s bright and she’ll more than earn her keep. I like her. You’ll not get one better.’
Tony gave up and tried to change the subject.
Meanwhile, Tracy and her mum were in deep conversation about Mel’s apparent antipathy to men.
Lucy was disappointed. She really liked Mel – not just as an employee. She’d seen how Mel and Jamie got on together.
‘I do hope that she gets over it soon,’ Lucy said, ‘She’s such a lovely girl. Wouldn’t it be nice if they were to become closer personally? I’d love her as a daughter-in-law.’
‘You’re a real matchmaker aren’t you, Mum? I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I think that Mel wants a career more than a man.’
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 the Perch Rock lighthouse again with what I think of as a spine of rocky blocks stretching out towards the Irish Sea.
I used my Pentax KP 24 MB cropped1/60 seconds at f/9 and 35 mm. The ISO was 100. The shot was tripod mounted and post-processed in Lightroom.