906This is Emilie Stammers, who contacted me through Twitter to say she liked SOTM and wanted to have her picture taken. We met in Camden, had a coffee and then went round the corner to take her shot by Camden Lock. Sadly, about three weeks after this picture was taken, Emilie took her own life.
I was contacted by her friend Dave who informed me both of this tragic act, and of how Emilie was “very excited” at the thought of appearing on the site. He therefore urged me to use the photo, which comes with a video clip of Emilie explaining the story behind her SOTM.
So I contacted Emilie’s father Robin, to check he was comfortable with the material being used - he told his daughter her SOTM message during an argument. He gave his consent, and went on to explain a few things. He wrote: “The conversation we had was rather more subtly nuanced than me just saying 'You're Directionless'.
"As I remember it, the 'argument' was about the amount of time she spent in her spare room online with friends, rather than going out and doing something. I think I was comparing her generation to mine and their lack of direction as I perceived it. It was therefore a rather more general criticism, which I was not just applying to her.
"I was also dismayed that she choose one of the handful of negative comments I had ever made to her, in preference to the thousands of positive remarks; about how intelligent she was, how well she dressed, what a nice person she was, and how much I loved her.
"Our relationship, with the exception of a few mildly difficult teenage years was good and we enjoyed each other's company. I was therefore wary about agreeing to a tribute that does not in my opinion reflect either her life or death.
"However, on balance I think I should respect the fact that Emilie wanted it to appear, as her death was unpremeditated and she left no other wishes. Thank you for treating the matter so sensitively; it is very much appreciated.”