Monday, 17 December 2012

THE SIXTH POSITION by Erin O'Connor

THE SIXTH POSITION by Erin O'Connor
Erin was recommended to me by Lisa Wormsley when I asked Lisa if she could suggest any other photographers in Brighton for my project as we were just about to move there in 2011. I contacted Erin via her Flickr page in February 2011 and she answered fairly positively in that she suggested that we meet and have a chat about my project which she had seen featured on The Culture Show on BBC TV. However, before that happened I had a bit of a blip and informed the world that I had decided to end my project because I found the whole thing too exhausting and I needed to prioritise things in my life especially as we were just  about to complete our move to a new house in Brighton which needed a lot of work doing to it. I was so touched by the responses I received from all these photographers most of whom I had not yet met including Erin who wrote the kindest email in response to my rather plaintive cry. As a consequence of receiving those messages, I decided that I would re-assess everything once the house move was completed. So, it was all back on but it took me a while to get round to contacting Erin again which I did in August 2012. We met at her house and, after talking with her for about an hour, I remember coming away with a spring in my step. 

We had a further meeting to discuss a change in her idea for the shoot. Originally, it was going to  involve water somehow but Erin felt, with some justification, that that was fraught with potential
problems and so we agreed on - actually, I cannot remember exactly what we did agree on but I know that I was up for it! It is strange but often photographers come up with some stunning ideas when we meet but if you were to ask me the next day what we had discussed, I probably wouldn't recall much about it at all. I wonder why that is? 

Anyway, eventually, we set up a date for the shoot at some studios in Brighton and Erin said that she would have some footless tights for me to wear. I met her and her assistant, James, in the studio which was white and bright. She explained that we would try the white tights first (I had also brought some bright purple ones which we never used, thankfully) and then we would do some nude shoots. James had a huge fan and I donned the tights and arabesqued my way across the floor of the studio and took up my position with a piece of white silk which I twirled and threw into the air so that it was caught by the air from the fan. I then discarded the tights and we did some nude shots. Erin asked if I wanted to try anything else and, stupidly, I did a few jumps and paid for that later when my hip began to ache  - I must learn to stop throwing myself about.

After the shoot ended, I got dressed and said goodbye to James. Erin walked me to the door of the building where we said goodbye. I walked out into the bright sun and got into my car and put on the CD player really loud and it played "La Luna" by Madness and I was smiling in my heart as I drove home singing all the way.

This had been a very satisfying shoot - one of the very best. I think this was because of the connection with Erin. I saw a different Erin in the studio or rather, a different side to her. She was resourceful, in charge, confident and pretty. I wrote and told her all this and she understood and agreed that the shoot was very satisfying from her end as well. She felt that we were all well prepared and had a common vision and so it felt effortless and she was very pleased that I felt the same way. Although I was her first nude, she said that she didn't prepare for that in any way whatsoever apart from thinking about making skin look authentic; she explained that she liked skin tones very much as they are all so unique. As for the images, well, I was not at all disappointed when I received them.  They were beautifully presented and it was a tough choice between the one I chose (above) for my project and the others. Erin was torn too but felt this was the best overall.


Erin is a lovely person and the more one gets to know her, the lovelier she becomes and that infuses her photographs with a freshness and a vitality that is wonderful to share. She is a thoughtful person too and takes her photography very seriously and that shows in these marvellous images of which I am very pleased and very proud.