In a week where more than a quarter of a million people have been moved by this image, I've never been so proud of just how far I've come, the quarter of a million people is actually a conservative estimate, more than 110,000 have seen this image on Twitter currently and it was shared by the BBC News, The Mirror Online, Huffington Post The Telegraph, The Metro and those are just the places I know about, I have another image on my Facebook page which has been seen by over 75,000 and shared by hundreds so it gets kind of hard to track down and then on Saturday morning I had a Google alert to say I'd been quoted by the New York Times, yes the New York Times quoted me as Mandy Charlton, a writer from Newcastle, that's kind of crazy when you think about it?!
My job was to go out and photograph the happenings around Monument and then get it shared on Twitter and social media as a whole, 768 retweets later I think I achieved more than I'd ever hoped I could set out to do. If I just had £1 for every person who's now seen this image around the world, I'd be able to have a holiday this year, I'd be able to buy a house, and I'd be able to invest in my business.
Whenever I set out to do something I hope that I'll excel, I try with all of my heart to do the best job a person can do, when I write and photograph projects and people and places I do it with great passion, in the world of my work now the images go along with the words in a synergy I can't quite explain, it's the perfect partnership and it's what makes me unique in the career that I've chosen, you can be good at writing or you can be great at photography but if you can put those two skills together then surely the world lies before you. What I hope you don't think is that I am being crass or conceited or that I'm a braggart because nothing could be further from the truth, it took me a long time to have faith in my own work and it's not exactly an overnight success type of story for I have plugged away for every day and night of the last 10 years to be the person that I am today and this is just the start, I hope it leads to new paths and exciting projects, I hope the words, photographs and social media influence will take me to places I never dreamt I would end up, I have sacrificed so much to be where I am today but this bright and shiny future is mine for the taking and at the heart of it, everything that I do is for my children, I want them to be proud and inspired, I want them to lead bright, shining, happy futures, I want to provide a comfortable lifestyle for us all and that is still some way off but I know I can achieve it, I know I can do anything as long as I have enough self belief and courage to put myself and my work out there and if you are reading this nodding along then just remember you can too, you can do anything you want and no one can stop you because you are amazing and you are unique and no one else can ever be you.