|Luniere by Steve Bloom|
Steve's photography had been an inspiration to my wife, Jane, for many years in her work as an artist. At Christmas 2009, she received a book of photographs as a present and the book included his famous shot of an elephant swimming taken from underneath. I wrote to Steve and he became and continues to be an enthusiastic supporter of the project. I travelled over to Kent to see an old friend of my late mother and called in to see him on my way back. He welcomed me warmly and showed me some of his wonderful work. He is very keen to try new and different methods of working and unusual concepts so the project really appealed to him.
We kept in touch over the next few months and finally there was an opportunity for him to come to Ravenswood. He then outlined his idea which was to paint me in light. He wanted to photograph me naked and run the light of a torch up and down my body and use a long exposure. The photographs, including this final image, were taken mainly in our bedroom.
The resultant image is stunning; it is absolutely unique and so unusual. Steve entered it for the Taylor Wessing Prize in 2010 and it was accepted on to the shortlist of 60 but unfortunately, it did not win but it would have been a worthy winner in a very strong competition. I felt very proud to see it on the walls of the National Portrait Gallery.
Steve has since become an terrific ambassador for "Over the Hill" and he was the obvious person to speak about his feelings for the project at the Private View of the exhibition at the Guardian Gallery in London in 2013 and, indeed, it was due to his influence and championing of the project that the Guardian offered to put on the show in their building in the first place. Steve is the nicest of men and I would like to think that he and his lovely wife, Kathy, have become good friends of both Jane and I