|THAT WAS THEN AND THIS IS NOW by Pat Moss|
Pat Moss wrote a comment on my Blog saying that she had read the feature in the British Journal of Photography and how intrigued she was about my photographic project and that all her own recent projects had been about life with a chronic illness. She said that she would love to speak to me about it. Well, I looked up her website and thought that I would really like to be photographed by her. Pat had just started her Phd which was about the difficulties in communication in families when one suffers from chronic pain. She was hoping to make a photographic body of work which might help that communication a little. At around the same time, I contacted a photographer in Stockport and so arranged to go there for a shoot and then carry on to Preston where Pat lived.
Pat met me at Preston station and took me straight to the location for the shoot. It was the site of an ancient, derelict Jacobean house in Bretherton called Bank Hall in the grounds of which what was an old potting shed, the roof of which had now gone leaving only a shell. Pat wanted me to stand in the left hand window and then move over to the right hand window but leave the doorway in the middle empty. She photographed me first of all with her Mimoya film camera using black and white film which she preferred but, in view of the deadline for the exhibition in Southport, she also took some shots with her digital camera and, in fact, thought that colour might look at least as good as black and white. The whole shoot could not have lasted longer than an hour but it was beautiful; there was a very good feeling about the location - Pat loves being there and I picked up on that too.
We went back to her house for a coffee and talked about various things including the exhibition and she voiced her concern about how the framing would be done, especially the mounting or lack of it. So she offered to drive me to the framers so that we could have a discussion about it which we did. The framer was very easy going and was basically happy to do whatever we wanted so it was a relief to have sorted it out with the help of someone like Pat who had prior experience of these situations.
A few days' later, I received the colour digital version of the photograph and I really liked it. It tied in with my story about the meeting I had had with a speech therapist many years ago, shortly after my diagnosis, when she asked me how I had been. I told her that I had recently joined a local Film Society and had gone to the first film which was also attended by many friends of mine. I explained that I had bought a small plastic cup of wine and took it to my seat but shook on the way and I was very aware that my friends would be noticing this and saying to each other or to themselves "Oh look, there's poor Tim, shaking". The speech therapist said "Tim, you are not the Tim Andrews you were before, you are Tim Andrews with Parkinson's Disease and the sooner you accept that fact, the better" It changed my attitude almost immediately and from then on I was almost totally unbothered about showing my Parkinsonian condition in public and that was a huge bonus. Paradoxically, I also feel that, inside, I am the same person as I was before which I guess might be difficult for people to accept because I can behave so differently physically. This paradox is highlighted by Pat's beautiful photograph and, having suffered chronic ill health herself, she would understand this situation very well.
I had a great time with Pat who is a very interesting, down to earth person and very easy. Often, it helps to meet the photographer before a shoot but, in Pat's case, it didn't matter at all as we got on very well. It just so happens that she produced an excellent image as well!
Pat's Website: www.patmossphotography.com