I’ve been a reporter for more than a decade and have stood and watched dozens of photographers at work.
As they’ve snapped away I’ve always been thankful to be their side of the lens, safely behind the shutter.
But recently, thanks to the Clapham family tree, I found my role reversed and I was the one being asked to smile, move to the left slightly and look directly at the camera.
My great-grandfather was one of the founders of the Rover company and some enthusiasts were keen for his surviving family to be present at a photocall, where they were recreating a shoot that featured in a motoring magazine 23 years ago.
My dad was dutifully tracked down by the organisers and said he’d go along. Keen for another generation to be present, I was asked to accompany him (my brother – a huge petrolhead who would have been the obvious sibling of choice – was away).
So a few weeks later, I found myself in a windswept country park in the middle of Oxfordshire swapping pleasantries with a group of Rover fans who knew more about my family then me.
The cars were lined up precisely so the iconic picture could be recreated and it was then time for dad and I – the VIPs – to pose next to the assembled classics. In true British style, the weather was extremely changeable and managed to be both cloudy and bright, with a cold wind whipping us one minute followed by a spell of warm sunshine.
Consequently I am squinting in several snaps, wearing sunglasses in a handful of them and a woolly hat in one when the wind really decided to pick up.
The resulting pictures were not a total car crash however, and dad and I are now the stars of an issue of Popular Classics and the Rover P5 Club magazine.
A different experience for me and one I won’t forget when I’m next directing people to “keep smiling, we just need a few more!”