Well, this was a surprise. It makes one realise that one should not make assumptions based on a few minute's experience. Hibi advertised as a documentary style photographer/artist seeking models or photographers with whom she could collaborate. She is self taught and has been photographing people including portraiture and street scenes since 2007. We met in a cafe near Tottenham Court Road and, although she struck me as a very nice woman, she was fairly shy and unassuming and so I was not certain that the relationship with her would be very dynamic. How wrong I was.
We talked about this and that and, in the process of telling her about me, I boasted about my appearance on the Fourth Plinth, dancing to Madness and that obviously sowed a seed of an idea in her mind about the shoot. She had already explained that she was quite a positive person and wanted to take photographs which had a positive energy and so it turned out. She wrote to me subsequently and said that she was looking to produces images with an 80s' feel and wanted me to dress in Madness style clothes and shoot me against a background of graffiti. She worked hard at finding a suitable location and eventually we met for the shoot on 22nd January 2010 near Regent's Canal close to Cambridge Heath station.
We had great fun choosing different parts of the canal to shoot in and I really enjoyed getting into the Madness mood. When I received the photographs, I had another shock because they were heavily stylised and at first, I was very unsure about them - a bit like hearing for the first time a newly released record by your favourite band. However, the photographs grew on me and now they are amongst my very favourite images of all. It was extremely difficult to choose a final image for the project but this just edged out the others but I could quite easily have chosen four or five equally good pictures.
Hibi, I take off my bowler to you. You are a bold and courageous artist and not only will you end up being very successful, I know that through your positive and witty take on life, you will have great fun in the process.