I was learning about hashtags (#) on Twitter last week, conjuring up words connected to INJURED PARTIES that could be used on my Tweets to highlight my book. Nouns like ‘murder’, ‘crime’, ‘forensics’ came to mind. Then early yesterday morning, a week after my self-imposed hashtag lesson, way before the pigeons began bellowing from the treetops outside the bedroom window, Dr Helen Davidson’s name jumped out at me…an obvious hashtag! I typed the three words into the Search Twitter box on Twitter’s homepage, tapped the magnifying glass and waited.
I’ve lived and breathed INJURED PARTIES for seven years. The curiosity side of me though is never satisfied. By sheer coincidence I was about to discover the background story of a photo by Joop Snijder, that’s on the front cover of my book. Joop Snijder’s Tweet [@Joopphoto] dated 16 August appeared at the top of the Dr Helen Davidson list. It read:
‘Discovered a book with my photo on cover. Injured Parties Solving the Murder of Dr Helen Davidson by Monica Weller’.
In all the time I’ve lived and breathed my book this was something new and exciting!
Most of yesterday I planned the little story of the atmospheric woodland picture on my book’s cover. Why? Because I’m nosy and because I’m a photographer. And it’s interesting to see what’s going on in another photographer’s mind when they’re taking a photograph.
I asked Joop in an email what he could tell me about the photograph. He said:
“First of all I like your idea about writing something about the photo on your book cover. Please feel free to improve my English writing, because it’s not my native language”. He said he took the photo during a walk in a forest in Arnhem, his hometown in The Netherlands. “My wife and I were walking our golden retriever in the forest. I always carry my photo camera with me [a Canon digital SLR ] and I liked the way the trees were disappearing in the mist. I asked my wife to keep walking until she almost disappeared as well.
“Most of the time I don’t include people in my landscape photos. But this time I thought it adds a sense of scale and sets a mysterious mood. And mood is what I’m searching for in my photography (www.joopsnijder.com). For me it’s always rewarding to see a photograph in action and being on the cover of a book is something special.
“After finishing the photo I upload my photos to a stock photo agency www.shutterstock.com. This is an online photo agency which sells photos for photographers all over the world. As a photographer I can see which photos sell, but don’t get feedback on the usage. So once every month I google for my own name, hoping to find new magazines, books or websites using my photos.
“The publisher of INJURED PARTIES was so kind to credit my photo in the book, so my name turned up with Google Search. After I tweeted about the photo and the book cover, you contacted me on Twitter.
“For me the real joy in photography is the process of photographing. But the icing on the cream is to see my photos in action and meet new people because of my photography.
“By the way, now my wife tells everyone she’s a cover model :)”
I believe in these small stories. Life is made up of stories. To me they’re like gifts. From a personal viewpoint, I find it fascinating that a photograph, described so beautifully by Joop, that he took during a perfect walk in a misty woodland in Holland, should so successfully represent the scene of a grisly murder in Buckinghamshire woodland 50 years ago, on the cover of my book INJURED PARTIES.