|PERSONA by Innis McAllister|
I saw a photograph by Innis in the Professional Photographer magazine (by the way, what a great publication that is) and then looked up his website and thought 'here is a man who loves what he does' and I had no hesitation in writing to him to ask if he would photograph me. Innis replied almost immediately saying that he would. He lives in Brighton (by then, our home town) and he suggested that we meet up but he pointed out that he took environmental portraits using natural light and that he had in mind shooting me somewhere on the Seven Sisters cliffs along the coast from Brighton.
We met some weeks before the shoot at his house and chatted for quite some time and we ended up discussing the Cinema and I think if I hadn't torn myself away, I'd still be there now talking about our favourite films.
As it was, we continued our chatting when, on 19th September 2011, he picked me up and we drove to the Birling Gap on the Seven Sisters (every time I write Seven Sisters, I think of my football team, Tottenham Hotspur, because that is the nearest tube station to their ground). It was a beautifully warm sunny late afternoon which was just what was required as Innis had wanted to capture the low bright golden glow of the setting sun. There were quite a few people around but we walked along the beach a short way and found a small stretch covered in white rock At his request, I wore my old battered work suit which, since I retired, has been worn by me in a swimming pool as well as in the sea several times.
Well, I just love the photographs he took that day and again, as with many of the photographers, it was so difficult to choose just one but this was our joint favourite. Like Innis, I like the pose, my expression, the colour and the background - he particularly liked the figure on the top of the cliff to the right of the picture - but I love the direct stare into the camera and the bruised and battered suit which personifies my struggle through a career in the law to get to this point in my life.
It was a great shoot. We both got on really well and the weather was beautiful and we ended up in his local pub talking about this and that over a beer. Isn't life wonderful?