Words and images by Simon Murphy
The year was 2000. A new millennium and a turning point for many. One year earlier I had left my job as a postman and, inspired by some of the postcards I had delivered on my route, I took a leap of faith and decided to study Photography.
One postcard in particular had captured my imagination. A photograph of the Beatles sitting on the stairs of Abbey road studios.
I walked past a bar, somewhere near Pigalle, and from the corner of my eye I saw a woman, older in years and with a face full of character. In my mind I could see the photograph already. The fur coat, the little glass of wine, the windmill of the Moulin Rouge on the mural in the background, the reflection of the woman in the glass surface of the bar. She was magnificent. The greatest photograph that I had ever made, except, I hadn’t pressed the shutter, I had walked by. A feeling much worse than hunger instantly cramped my stomach. Fear. My ego told me that I was an artist, I loved the idea of it. I could compose well, I could focus and I could print, I was even in Paris but the truth struck me like lightening. I didn’t have what it took to follow in the footsteps of those great photographers that I looked up to because quite simply I was scared.
That image shaped me. Since that wonderful moment on the streets of Paris, I’ve seized opportunities, I’ve learned new lessons and I’ve reassessed that which is important to me. These 10 images all represent turning points along an ever-twisting route. Moments of great joy, reassurance and profound sadness. Moments that have humbled me, made me cry but also given me the spark to create more. It's unlikely that little Parisian woman will ever know the difference that she has made to my life. Maybe one day I will be able to tell her.