Jackie by the Grand Union Canal

Let me say goodbye to 2021 with the portrait of Jackie. 

Over the summer I have spent a lot of time cycling with my dear friend Joanna. One day we had a short trip to Rickmansworth. The weather was beautiful and the wind was warm. Our route started in Cassiobury Park in Watford. We have cycled next to the Grand Union Canal with our cameras hunting for a scene to photograph. After a few miles, I saw a woman with dark glasses on and I passed her by. All of a sudden something clicked in my mind and told me to stop. Within a second I put the breaks on without realising that my friend was behind me. Joanna told me many times that I always put the brakes on without saying a word, like she was supposed to read my mind. I always do that when I see something extraordinary. I stop, observe and capture the moment. 

I approached Jackie and she was making wool on a spinning wheel. It was so fascinating. I had never seen anything like that before. She was making small necklaces, bracelets and key-rings by hand using wool, wire, paints, plastic and metal. The most shocking thing to me was that Jackie is suffering from cataract. The dark glasses helped her to protect her eyes from the strong sunlight and slightly improved her vision. 

When I saw Jackie, I wanted to photograph her but I also wanted to support her by getting some of her handmade jewellery for Joanna and myself. We went to the nearest cashpoint not realising that none of us had a bank card to get some cash out. The only way to get some money was to buy some scratch cards. Luckily, I was able to pay for them with my phone. We both were scratching the cards and no one won anything. I bought more scratch cards hoping to win at least £1. I found this moment really stressful and exciting at the same time. We won £2 and I felt like we won millions! After our lucky win we went back to see Jackie who was still outside her boat. We bought two bracelets and then I asked Jackie for her portrait. I kindly asked her to remove her glasses because I wanted to see her eyes. It was my first time when I photographed a person who was blind. Jackie followed my voice and her eyes were almost closed. Looking at my contact sheet, after the fifth shot I managed to capture Jackie with her eyes open looking directly at the camera. 


Using Format