Saturday, 11 August 2012

103: Beige Babe

Dina started snapping at family parties and even at seven she had the knack of finding anyone who didn't want to be photographed. There had been the brown cords of Grandpa sneaking into the shed to hide. And Aunty Bev popping an extra donut into her mouth, eyes wide as Dina clicked the button. Her favourite had been finding their large wolfhound slinking off his bed whilst a fluffy black kitten snuggled into the padded cushion and fell asleep. That picture graced the wall of the Jones' family lounge for years afterwards.

Over the years Dina took many photos, the subjects often showing her fads and phases. There were flowers and bushes, almost all shades of pink, especially the neon rose in the garden. There were animals, nothing slimy though, just fluff and feather and fur. There was a surprising number of cars and trucks and a run of concrete structures without explanation. Then followed the inevitable clothes and boys.

At fourteen Dina chose photography for an exam subject despite her father cautioning it would never get her anywhere and why didn't she take a language. Her A* partly mollified him and he didn't object to her selection of the same subject for A level. Certificates and awards started to appear even before her A* for A level too. Then she set out to show maybe it could get her somewhere.

Dina didn't surprise anyone by getting an apprentice photographer job, nor by the fact she continued to snap in her spare time. She even sold a few pictures to newspapers and magazines, including one of a boyband singer leaving a hotel with a blond girl who wasn't his girlfriend. That paid for her first car.

Nobody saw the sports thing coming though. Nobody even really knew how it had started. The Jones family didn't even watch football on tv. But Dina started attending local race meets and then national athletics competitions and eventually she landed a job taking sports photos for a large group of newspapers.

Watching his daughter crouched over her camera and long lens worth as much as that first car she bought at the London Olympics, papa Jones was as proud as any competitor's parents. His beige babe, he called her, a nod to the obligatory uniform worn by the press photographers.

Sat in the Wembley crowd at the womens' football final, he nudged his neighbour. “That's my girl down there,” he said. “She got there and I'm so glad I was wrong.”

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