AFTER putting a shout out on twitter for volunteers, I was contacted by Emilie Stammers. So we met in Camden for a coffee – or at least I had a drink, as she refused my offer of one, stating that she had just drunk a coffee before my arrival and would “be up all night” if she had another.
We chatted for a while, during which she talked about starting university, her boyfriend, her parents and her dad in particular. Then we went around the corner to a snowy Camden Lock and I took her shot there, along with her video, before we parted.
About a month later I got an email one evening, which I read at the very moment that Ronaldinho scored against Manchester United in their Champions League game. I was shocked by what I read, so I turned away from the football and read the email again to try and make sense of it. It was from someone called Dave, who informed me that he was Emilie’s friend and that she had killed herself about three weeks after I’d taken her photo.
He said she was a big fan of SOTM and “very excited” about appearing on it. He also went on to urge me to use Emilie’s picture and has also set up a Facebook group in her memory.
Although I’d only met Emilie once, I was upset by all this. She was 18, bright, with clearly a lot to live for. But I didn’t want to use her picture if it upset her family, who already had that tragedy to deal with. So I emailed Robin, Emilie’s dad, who looked over the material and gave me his blessing. His testimony about his daughter forms a large part of the blurb beneath her photograph.
So, if you read this blog post, please do visit Emilie’s picture. I think she would have liked that.