|DARK AND DEEP by Al Brydon|
If you happen to go down to the woods in the Peak District today then you can be sure of a number of surprises including bumping into a very strange man called David Spew. Actually, I made that up - as far as I know, there is no-one called Spew in the Peak District or anywhere else in the UK unless he is ex-directory. No, if you do go down to the woods in the Peak District, you might come across a man taking wonderful landscape photographs that take your breath away and, if you do, it is likely that you have met Al Brydon. And if you have met Al Brydon, then you will have discovered also one of the nicest men you could wish to meet in the dark, deep woods of north east England. My introduction to Al was through Twitter (for me, the new Flickr, the new Gumtree) via the great Rob Hudson. Having seen how an approach to a primarily landscape photographer like Rob worked out so successfully, I had no qualms about approaching Al and when I did, he agreed to photograph me. He lives in Sheffield - a place from my past. I fell in love with a girl called Susan in 1971 but soon after we started going out, she went to Sheffield University to study music and I went to London to read Law. But I was not only in love with her, I was in love with love and so I went up to Sheffield to see her and carried on doing so every second weekend until we split up six months later. One day, we decided to catch a bus to the countryside south of Sheffield and we got out at a stop on a road in the middle of a place called Nowhere and walked into the woods and..............well, I was curious to revisit the woods again. However, I had no idea where Nowhere was which is just as well because a pilgrimage is not necessarily conducive to a good photographic shoot.
I met Al at Sheffield Station and immediately he was friendly and chatty and I knew that our day together was going to go well and so it came to pass. We did a lot of walking and set up some shots in one location and I posed as Al asked me and, whilst he fiddled with his camera, I looked around me and marvelled at the beauty of England which suddenly seemed much bigger than the country described by the weird journalists at The Daily Mail writing recently about the population explosion (bloody single mothers) and the end of the world as we know it. Daily Wail more like. Anyway, enough of all that - back to Al. We then moved on to this place which was below a large bank. I don't know what it is about large banks but, so far, when me, a large bank and a photographer come together an incredible image is created and this is no exception.
We travelled on to a few more locations and in the middle, took a short lunch break but basically we worked together until it was time for Al to take me back to Sheffield to catch the train home. I received his selection of shots shortly after. God, I was so excited by them and so proud. Proud to have met Al, proud to be a part of his work. This image was the one for me and Al agreed, thankfully. So I now have a wonderful new image for my project and a very nice man not called Spew as a new friend.
Susan died of breast cancer only recently. I had not seen or communicated with her for almost 40 years. Unfortunately, I couldn't go to her funeral but I wrote to her daughter Olivia and we met in Dartford and I gave her a bundle of the letters her mother had written to me in 1971. She was my first love. She was witty, bawdy and beautiful. She had dark hair and brown eyes.
AL BRYDON'S WEBSITE: http://www.albrydonphotography.co.uk/