|Reflective Rain by Travis Hodges|
Well, it was like this you see, I was at Miniclick at The Old Market Theatre in Brighton and I found a seat at the back next to this guy and we got talking and I told him about my photographic project and he introduced himself as Travis and said that he was a photographer and he gave me his card. It is sometimes the case with a chance meeting like this that it subsequently becomes hugely significant and that is precisely what happened here. At the time, I thought immediately what a very pleasant person he was - very genuine and good company, albeit for the brief period we chatted. The next morning, I looked up his work on his website and I thought ''this guy is good''. I found his work quite inspirational. The portraits had a quirkiness that made me think back to the man whom I had met the previous evening and realise that he had flair and imagination - in bucketloads. I scrolled through the gallery and stopped at the portrait of Big Issue vendor Dave. It shone like beacons can sometimes shine - bright and dazzling. Dave is looking up into the sky dreaming of what? His life before? His future? His drink on the way home? His supper? His kids? Whatever it is he sees in the clouds, it has painted a look of wonder on his beautiful face. Did I say that Dave, a Big Issue Vendor, is beautiful? Yes, he is and not because Travis has made him so by employing some sort of photographic trickery but because he has recognised and captured the innate beauty of a human being in his lens and reproduced it for all to see. It is a great photograph. Beautifully lit and composed and considered.
I received notification from Twitter that Travis was following me and the next thing was a direct tweet from the man himself saying he had an idea for a portrait if I was interested. Interested? I'll say I was and I replied saying just that but explained that it would have to wait until January because my diary was so full up to Christmas. Travis then responded saying he was happy to organise the shoot in the new year. At the same time he informed me that his idea was a studio style portrait with the expression being everything. He wanted to shoot through wet glass to give a dappled pattern which he felt would give a separation between the viewer and subject, a physical barrier that mirrors an emotional one. He proposed to shoot wider to include a bare chest; with nudity being a recurring theme through my project, the glass would become a protecting element. As I said at the time, I like it - let's do it.
Then the significant bit happened. Travis mentioned that he organised a talk series in London called Photo Forum, much like Miniclick and wondered if I would like to show my project, talk about the ideas behind it and some of the individual images and possibly invite a few of the photographers along to talk about their own image. I replied saying that I had been invited by Brighton Medical Centre to give a talk about my project in December and that I would be very happy to do something smilar at Photo Forum. Why was this hugely significant? Well, because I did give a talk at PhotoForum on 14th February 2013 and ten of my photographers were there and spoke and my family were there too and heard perhaps for the first time exactly why I was doing what I was. I was so moved by the fact that the photographers came along at all but even more so by the kind sentiments which they expressed that night. I hope to write in more detail about the evening in another post.
The talk at PhotoForum was preceded by my shoot with Travis who welcomed me warmly when I arrived at Calumet in Euston where both the talk and the shoot took place. Travis set up a slide projector showing an image of water on glass and he reflected that on my body. I was completely knocked out by the two images he sent to me and I told him so. I was very torn between the two and so was Travis who has ended up presenting them as a diptych on his website. I was very tempted to do so but I felt that this image was so strong on its own that I couldn't dilute it with another, admittedly superb, photograph. The expression is all. It is dripping with emotion and the dappled effect only enhances this. I am so very proud of this photograph which was taken on a day of huge significance for me, a day on which I stood before family and friends and told them what my project meant to me. A day on which I was photographed by Travis Hodges.
05:51 PM - 16 Nov 12