|COMFORT by Gemma Day|
I first heard of Gemma when she answered my request for a selfie when I had the idea to compile a slideshow for Stuart Pilkington after he had suffered a stroke. She addressed the email "Hello Andrew.." but she signed off "Bye for now.....Gemma" which I thought maybe was significant until I realised that she always signs off in this way. Well, next she retweeted a tweet about me and so I looked up her work on her website and I really liked it; everyone seemed to be having a good time on her shoots. Given my insatiable thirst for having a good time, I thought, yeah, why not and I emailed her. She replied "Hello Tim...." and we were off.
She wanted to photograph me at home and then proposed this idea about Comfort. She quoted some dictionary definitions of the word and asked me to think about what things gave me comfort. Over the next few days, I sent her a trail of things involving comfort eating, watching DVDs and even weeding but mostly comfort eating to sustain my increasingly bulbous stomach. Unfortunately, Gemma latched on to the comfort eating (result!) and therefore is totally to blame for me exceeding 14 stones for the first time. She arrived for the shoot with bags of equipment as well as bags of chocolate and mango slices but she also brought a lovely sense of humour and a beautiful smile and we had a lovely shoot. It helped that I had met her and her chum, the adorable Louise Haywood-Schiefer at the opening of the Portrait Salon exhibition a few days before but even if we hadn't I knew that it would go well. The email correspondence had been easy and chatty and the shoot followed on in the same way. Chat, eat, drink, swallow, joke, eat, chat, swallow, drink, another joke - you get the drift.
I received the photographs shortly afterwards and, as I looked through them, it began to dawn on me what she had done. She had gradually got me to relax and become Andrew...I mean, Tim. Just Tim. Just me. And that is the best example of comfort - being happy with what you are and so, when you look at this photograph, you are looking at the real me. Normally, I would include other photographs that were taken on the same day but this time I'm not going to because this shot is sufficient. It says it all. I wrote and told Gemma which one I liked best and why and she replied and said she agreed and signed off "Bye for now.....Gemma x"
Thank you Gemma........Tim x