Thursday, 18 June 2015

MILO AND ME by Viveca Koh

MILO AND ME by Viveca Koh

As is often the case with some photographers, I am afraid I cannot recall exactly how I came across Viveca's work but come across it I did and I was very impressed so I sent a message to her in August 2014 and about 9 months later Viveca was going through unread messages and came across mine. She explained in her response that, unfortunately, her DSLR had been stolen but she had been experimenting with iPhoneography and she suggested that I come up to her in South London and that we meet for lunch and she would snap away. Now, with someone else, this may not have sounded too thrilling but this was the person responsible for some wonderful images displayed on her website which showed her to be an exciting and imaginative photographic artist and so I was very keen to proceed on this basis.



I caught the train to East Croydon but forgot to bring with me not only my directions but also Viveca's mobile number but I just about remembered where she said she would be parked. As it was, she called me once I stepped on to the ancient streets of Croydon and, when I told where I was, she confirmed that I was walking in her direction. I had no idea what she looked like but I recognised her car from the scraps of information she had given me and that lay scattered about in my brain. As I approached her rather snazzy and sporty motor, she got out and hugged me hello. She looked very pretty in a long flowing summer dress. It was a beautiful June day and the portents were good. We started chatting immediately and she told me that she had decided to photograph me at her home against a plain wall and that she would stop to buy some sandwiches for lunch. I love the sound of those two words; Sandwiches and Lunch. They remind me of the time when I read The Famous Five books written by Enid Blyton. I didn't say this to Viveca at the time because the thought didn't occur to me then although, funnily enough, she offered me some Ginger Beer when we arrived at her place. Hurrah!

We proceeded to scoff our sandwiches and quaff our pop (please forgive the excess of Blytonese) and it was absolutely topping (sorry) and we began a longish discussion about my diagnosis, my project and Siamese cats, the latter subject prompted by the presence of Viveca's gorgeous little Chocolate-point cat, Milo. He was a bit shy at first but then started showing off and generally making loud yowling noises as he misbehaved in the garden room which was normally out-of-bounds. We swapped cat stories and I told Viveca of our love affair with Siamese cats which began with Indiana and carried on with Ernest, Theo and Henry.



Then we got down to business. Viveca explained that she had subscribed to an App on her iPhone called Hipstamatic which basically gave her various different lenses to produce different effects with the camera on her phone. But, even more interesting was a feature which picked a lens at random out of the many on her phone whenever it was shaken. She said that she wanted to use that feature and for me to adopt a different pose or expression every time she shook the phone. This reminded me of the scene in "Hard Day's Night" where George Harrison is being photographed by a press photographer during an informal junket where journalists and other guests were invited to interview and take pictures of the Fab Four. Viveca wanted to produce a square collage of these random portraits and we eventually agreed on 49 and so, each time she rattled her iPhone, I adopted a different expression. Of course, Milo joined in and this was my favourite of all of them.


It was all over pretty quickly but, as you know, these shoots are not all about photography - they are about communication, friendship and discovery. We talked about our respective families, the books on her shelves, her interest in the History of The First World War, Saving Private Ryan (not a great film, apart from the thrilling sequence when the troops disembark on the Normandy beaches), Lee Miller, my films and respectively Viveca's friendship and my shoot with Louise Haywood-Schiefer the latter which had taken place only a few weeks before in the same neighbourhood.

I had arrived in Croydon at 12 noon and it was almost 4pm and yet the photographs had only taken about fifteen minutes. Viveca showed me the shots on her laptop and I purred with appreciation and so did Milo as I tickled him behind his ears. Time to go and Viveca drove me back to East Croydon and we hugged goodbye. It had been a grand day. The sun was shining as I walked towards the station and picked up an Evening Standard. The train arrived within a few minutes and I turned to the Crossword over which I dribbled biro ink as I nodded off and dreamed of smugglers' caves, egg and cress sandwiches wrapped in waxy Wonderloaf paper, bells on handlebars and Victoria Sponge Cake until the train gently came to a halt in Brighton. My shoot with Viveca is another lovely memory now to go with all the others; Viveca herself is another person who, as I sat at my desk in my office some 9 years ago, I could never have imagined meeting and this photograph and the collage are reminders of a beautiful day in Gipsy Hill.   

Sunday, 14 June 2015

NO EXPECTATIONS by Erika Szostak

NO EXPECTATIONS by Erika Szostak

I came across Erika's work in Absolute magazine and then looked up her work on her website and, immediately, I was taken by her fresh and lively shots which to me indicated that this was a fresh and lively imagination at work. I wrote to her and she responded very positively, saying that she had heard of "Over the Hill" and knew some of the other Brighton-based photographers who had already partaken in the project. She also said that she had thought of an idea already for the shoot! We arranged to meet in the Red Roaster in Kemptown and there we discussed her idea over a coffee and her newish baby who she had brought with her. The idea was for me to pose as Mr Havisham, the male equivalent of the character from Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations" but in a more modern setting and she thought maybe a modern hotel room would be suitable. Now, this was a new one on me because, so far, I had not posed as someone else; all the photographs had some real connection with who I really am - I was not playing a part. However, Erika's enthusiasm for the concept was such that I felt it was better to go with it than not. As with my reaction to seeing her portfolio, I was persuaded by her vitality and energy to stick with it and go along for the ride.

After a long period of broken correspondence, we finally set a date for the shoot which now was to take place in her sitting room at home and would not be anywhere as near as ambitious as we had originally discussed which in some ways allayed my fears about it looking too artificial as far as my character was concerned. Erika had arranged for Elloise India Willett to come along to do the hair and make-up - I had worked with Elloise before and we had had a lot of fun so this boded well. However, I was no prepared for what came next.

I arrived at Erika's house and she explained that her partner was no at all well and therefore he was not able to look after her toddler, Sebastian (the baby from the cafe) and Oliver, her very young, very energetic, very loud but utterly charming eldest son. The sitting room was quite small (and seemed much smaller once it was filled by Erika, me, Elloise and two small kids) but we set ourselves up in there and Elloise set to work on my hair and beard and displayed remarkable calmness in the midst of a whirlwind of noise and activity. Finally, it was done and Erika set herself up to shoot. It was then that everything clicked and I am not just talking shutters here. Erika settled herself, Elloise added a few dabs here and there and I "became" Mr Havisham. For the most part, I sat on a chair and slowly sank into despondency and loss, thinking of the rare occasions on which I had felt low since being diagnosed. I remembered the times when I felt like an old man but looked into the mirror and slapped my face and told myself to stop it. I could have let myself go after my diagnosis but I didn't, helped by this wonderful project and all the great people I had met along the way. Then I was snapped out of my reverie by Erika announcing that that was it. The end of the shoot. By then, her own enthusiasm had taken over and I recall one moment when she was sitting on the floor with her legs stretched out wide, smiling and clicking away excitedly but she had got what she was looking for in incredibly adverse circumstances.

There was another long break before she suggested we meet to look at the photographs together. They were good and we chose one which we both liked and she said that she would work on that one. I thought about it on the bus home and wrote to her suggesting that maybe the addition of some petals on the floor and some cobwebs would get us nearer to her original notion. She had clearly been thinking along the same lines and agreed. Well, eventually, almost 15 months after the shoot, I received this. Erika had set the original image into her beautiful photograph of the abandoned Hellingly Asylum which has since been demolished. It is so different from anything I have ever done before and I love it because, bit by bit, it has slowly emerged from a real collaboration of Erika's skill as a photographer, my search for a reality, Elloise's brilliant make-up and the Dade Freeman's clever retouching.


"Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken but - I hope - into a better shape"

                                                                  - Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

CREDITS

Photography & production: Erika Szostak
Retoucher: Dade Freeman

Friday, 12 June 2015

FITZROVIA CHAPEL by Claude Savona

FITZROVIA CHAPEL by Claude Savona

One evening in 1962, when I was 11 years old, a stray dog walked into our front garden of our house in Finchley. My mother was on her way back from work as a hairdresser in Fetter Lane and, as usual, my eldest sister Janet was looking after the rest of us i.e. my twin, Sally, and my younger sister, Corinne. Anthony was away at boarding school. We were very excited about this dog. It may be because our own pet dog, Dinah, had died not long before. When my mother returned, Janet was telling her all about it in the hall as we listened over the bannister and my mother told Janet to go upstairs and get us into bed. We all charged back to our bedrooms but, as I dashed across the landing, I tripped on the threadbare carpet and fell smack against the side of my door. Janet came up to me. My nose was bleeding heavily - Janet said it seemed to be broken. My mother called a taxi and I was taken to the local A & E and they confirmed it was broken. Shortly after, I was taken to Middlesex Hospital and a surgeon said he thought it was ''worth a tweak'' by which he meant resetting it - normally they waited until a boy stopped growing at 18 before resetting it. When I was admitted for the operation, I was introduced to the Matron who happened to be a cousin of my mother's, Priscilla Cooper. Whilst I was there, on Sunday I attended Holy Communion in the hospital chapel. This chapel. Years before, my father had been treated in the hospital for his lung cancer but no avail. He died in 1953 when I was two years old. Then, years later, in 1996, my sister Janet received some disastrous laser treatment for her breast cancer, again to no avail. I remember walking past the chapel and recalling my visit there some 34 years previously. 

The old Middlesex Hospital

So, why am I telling you all this? Well, Claude's idea initially was to photograph me in a hospital and he suggested The National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery at Queens Square in London where I had my Deep Brain Stimulation operation but I didn't feel right about that somehow no matter how much I had enjoyed my stay there. We then discussed a museum as a possible location perhaps with a medical connection but that came to nothing. Finally, I suggested a church on the basis that Jesus was a saviour and DBS had saved me and also we could keep the medical connection if we were able to shoot in a hospital chapel. Then I had a brainwave - there was a chapel in Middlesex Hospital with which I had so many connections and so I googled Middlesex Hospital but found it had closed in December 2005 (a month after my diagnosis)  and had subsequently been demolished.........apart from the Chapel! I then discovered the Chapel had been restored and was to be taken over by the Fitzrovia Trust and that the Chairman of the Trustees was a guy called Edward Turner whose email address and telephone number were on the Trust's website. This sort of personal contact information is not always made public and it indicated that Edward was an approachable person. How right I was. He answered my email immediately and then passed me on to Craig Peniston who worked for the company which had developed the site and he said they would very happy for Claude and I to work in the Chapel. 

An early service

Within a couple of days, we were there. It was weird walking down Mortimer Street and for the hospital not to be there. I met Claude in the reception of the new office building which had replaced it and then we both met Craig, a tall friendly man who took us round the corner to this utterly beautiful building. Everything in it had been meticulously restored - the stunning marble walls and alter,  the mosaic floor and the amazing ceiling covered in gold. I felt so privileged to be there. Claude photographed me on his film camera and, over a period of almost three hours, we tried various shots and angles. Afterwards, we had lunch and enthused over what we had achieved. Claude sent me some rough contact sheets and the photographs were universally excellent but gradually I realised that the more relaxed poses and close-ups, however good they were (and they were very good), were not right for the project. It had to be a shot which reflected the magnificence of the Chapel and its significance in my life and so this was the one. My pose is relaxed, not too formal but respectful. The Chapel looks incredible. I could not have planned the shot better and we were both very pleased with this. 

The Hospital site after demolition with the Chapel remaining

Some times I am approached by photographers rather than the other way round and so it was with Claude who was recommended to me by Christina Theissen, another great photographer who had assisted Jillian Edelstein on the "Brook Shoot" and who had photographed me herself (we have not yet decided on which image of hers will be represented in the project).  He was born in Malta which coincidentally is where my DBS surgeon came from. We met in a Shoreditch cafe and I found him to be an interesting companion. He is quite reserved but quite quickly sheds his diffidence and opens up, his conversation becoming more animated as he begins to express himself. I like him a lot. During the shoot, he worked carefully and methodically  and welcomed any suggestions by me very readily and selflessly. And he produced a superb image as you can see. 

The Chapel on stilts

Who would have thought that the 11 year old boy kneeling in the pew in the Chapel in 1962 nursing a recently tweaked broken nose, would return 53 years later and be photographed there, in the one part of the old Middlesex Hospital that miraculously still exists? And all because of an old stray dog. 

WEBSITE: http://claudesavona.com

Thursday, 11 June 2015

ENYI M by Emma Uwejoma

ENYI M by Emma Uwejoma

It may not look it from this wonderful photograph but Emma and I had a lot of fun and laughter on this shoot. I cannot remember where I heard about Emma's work but it may have been on the Free Range site - Emma is a recent graduate of the BA (Hons) course at Newport, now the University of South Wales. I found her project "Ngwako" very interesting. The project examined her multicultural identity - she was born in Bournemouth of an English mother and a father who is Nigerian and who came over to England in the 1980s and found life quite hard. 'Ngwako' means hybrid and the question posed in her project was "Am I English like my mother or Nigerian Igbo like my father?" As I say, it is an interesting topic and I would urge you to look at Emma's website for a more detailed discussion and to see her brilliant portraits. 

What made me contact Emma? Well, when I was a little boy, we lived in Finchley, North London which was then (in the 1950s) predominately white and Jewish. My mother had trained and worked as a dancer and, through her work in the theatre, she had met and made friends with people of many different races and from different walks of life and she was in many ways quite free thinking for her time. So this investigation by Emma into her roots was intriguing and I was even more excited when Emma proposed that she dress me in traditional native wear from Nigeria for the shoot.


We met for an initial chat at The Mad Hatter in Brighton and then a few weeks later set a date for the shoot at her flat round the corner from me. I wondered why she didn't answer her doorbell when I rang until the penny dropped and I realised that it was the correct flat number but wrong building. She laughed when I told her and, apart from when we posed for this picture, she didn't stop laughing all the time I was there. I love this photograph - not only does Emma look lovely but I love the formality  and the fact that the setting is not perfect in that there is a speaker and a TV in one corner and a bookshelf and a bundle of wires in the other. I like the positioning of our hands and the fact that our left feet are both slightly in front of our right. 

Yeah, this was fun and I am so pleased that I am now her friend and that she is mine. Daalį»„, Emma.  



Tuesday, 9 June 2015

BEAST OF TWO BACKS by Vanessa Mills

BEAST OF TWO BACKS by Vanessa Mills

The Beast is within
It fucks me day by day
It fucks me when I work
It fucks me when I play

Yet, I play the fool
Play The Fool on the Hill
I play it day after day
For the good and for the ill

I remember, my brother,
The time that you ran away
Did you know I was blind when
I saw you perform the play?

My eyes are open now
I allow myself to stray
To leave the path prepared for me
Why? I cannot say

It is within me and without me
This game of chance and jacks
I am fucked I am free
I am the Beast of two backs


I found Vanessa through the Blog of Alex B. the model. In fact, I have nicked quite a few photographers from her blog - I hope you don't mind, Alex. They have all been excellent. Vanessa's response as very positive and her initial ideas comprised using a carousel, a swimming pool and a classic portrait. Gradually over a period of weeks, these ideas were decanted down to "a light filled portrait of me under a stream of light coming through trees" and, funnily enough, that is what we ended up with. 




Vanessa booked this great studio near Cambridge (where she lives) which consisted of an old Windmill and large grounds as well as a wooded area. We mooched around to begin with and had a cup of tea and then got started. The first few shots were clothed and taken through one of the windows of the windmill. After that, I took my clothes off and they didn't go back on until the shoot was finished. The next sequence of shots were taken inside with my body lit by the natural light from another window in the windmill. I was trying to think of the name of Jan Saudek (but failed) as I described to Vanessa the photographs he had taken in front of a similar window but I'm glad that I didn't get very far because these shots by Vanessa have her own very personal stamp on them. 



Then we ventured back outside and tried few shots on and near a wrought iron fence. I climbed up and grabbed the bars but wished I had the strength (and nerve) to hang with my feet dangling in a sort of crucifixional pose. We stopped at an isolated line of fruit trees and I climbed on one and tried to hang there like a human branch. We rejected the old deserted swimming pool on health grounds. 



We ended up in the wooded area and dragged this cage like structure over into a pool of light and I climbed in and crouched and then stretched my back upwards against ironwork as if I was constrained by this 'thing' which was clamping me down and not allowing me to escape. A metaphor for the continuing war with my illness and the intense pleasure I derive from these various skirmishes on the battlefield. I love this image - my body has become another piece of architecture within the iron cage bathed by the soft light that is falling through the trees. The muscles of my arm show that there is life in the old dog yet. The photographs Vanessa sent to me afterwards were all excellent but with this one, above all, we achieved what we wanted. A mixture of light, beauty, body, nature, repression, freedom and fight. 

I think that on that day,  both Vanessa and I were battling with inner constraints and together we escaped, temporarily, from them and ran wild and free and we felt the better for it. 

Thursday, 4 June 2015

DISTANT by Nigel Maudsley

DISTANT  by Nigel Maudsley
I met Nigel on 19th August 2014 in a pub on the London Road in Brighton at a meeting convened by Brighton Photo Fringe (BPF), the name of which pub I cannot remember. But I do remember how Nigel struck me that day - he is a very sensitive man, quiet and still but with something burning deep inside him. As I was to discover on this shoot, that something was a passionate desire to express himself artistically. During that meeting in the pub, we talked about what we were both doing for the BPF and afterwards, I looked up his work on his website and it was wonderful and so I wrote to him asking if he would like to be a part of my project. After emails to and fro, we met again in Hove in November but sadly, in the intervening period, Nigel's father had died and he had become involved in dealing with his mother's need for more care. Nevertheless, he had very kindly continued to give some thought to photographing me and eventually, we were able to arrange a definite date of 4th June. The weather was perfect, warm and humid, and the sky almost completely clear. The basic idea was to photograph me as the sun was going down.


I collected Nigel from his house in Kemptown and we drove to the Marina and then had fairly long walk to the cockleshell beach where Nigel wanted to take several photographs of me both clothed and naked. There weren't that many people about and those who were there were some distance away. It wasn't easy to negotiate the slippery rocks which trailed into the sea and I thought how impossible a shoot like this would have been if I had not had my Deep Brain Stimulation surgery last year. We spent more time here than we had anticipated but that was because it was all going so well. But the greatest pleasure was getting to know Nigel better. We talked a lot about Family and Life and Death and Nigel's move to Brighton which had proved to be so successful and fulfilling. 


Then we moved on and drove back into Brighton to the Nudist Beach. Unfortunately , we had missed the sunset but I think we both knew that we had got some very good shots already. By the time I dropped Nigel off at his house into the welcoming paws of his dog, we were both pretty tired. But Nigel was too excited to see what he had got and started work on the photographs straightaway and I received an initial set of images the next day. They were fabulous. I had a bit of weird Maths teacher at my primary school called Mr Haddon in the early sixties. He was a Baptist preacher in his spare time and he used to talk about the word fabulous and work himself into a real evangelistic frenzy as he gave a sermon to this class of innocent 12 year old boys about how bad the word was because it meant "out of this world" and he wrapped his Yorkshire tongue around "world" as his eyes almost popped out of his head. Sorry, back to Nigel's pictures -  well, they were fabulous. This one in particular caught my eye. It felt very poignant given our talks about my illness and Nigel's deep, deep love for his father and mother. When I talked to him about how I cried on the day my mother died, he was one of the few people to understand the guttural, wrenching cry that came from deep inside me as if her presence in me was being dragged out and thrown into the air.

It is Nigel's love of life and his deep sensitivity which invest his photographs with so much emotion. But apart from this, look at the colours and contrasts which give the picture a richness which also tells of the treasure one can find in this life - all we have to do is open our eyes and see.

Our eyes help us to see, know and understand the world around us. They give us insights to the changes as we travel through our lives..... When my father died, the grief overwhelmed me. Visits to my family home, following the loss of my father, saw its reconfiguration for a new journey. I found myself in flux, a man in a child's dimensions......... Frantz Fanon (1925-1961), postcolonial theorist stated: ‘individuals without an anchor, without horizon, are colourless, stateless, rootless’.
- Nigel Maudsley January 11, 2015

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

STRANGE BREW by Mia Rose

STRANGE BREW by Mia Rose
Mia favourited a tweet relating to me on Twitter. I looked up her work. I was impressed. I asked her to photograph me. She said yes. She did photograph me. The End. Well, of course, there was much more to it than that. Her work is exceptional. I particularly liked the "Arbor" project, beautifully lit black and white images of trees showing the squirming, writhing trunks spewing up into the air like misshapen gargoyles. I thought how good it would be to be in a photograph like that and I imagined myself naked and wrapped around the trunk imitating the weirdness of its growth. I suggested that to Mia but she did not seem too keen on the idea when we actually got to the location but that maybe because it was a public place and she also felt very strongly that, by then, she had got the image she wanted. I was very happy to accept her judgement in that respect because she has a great eye and a fertile imagination and she recognises a good photograph when she takes it. It was a collaboration after all and, besides, I have been wrong about these things before.


I was very touched that Mia had taken time out of her preparations for her degree show to photograph me. She and her lovely friend, Ellie Rose, lugged huge bags of lights and other photographic equipment through the woods until we found several small wigwam type shelters which Mia thought would be perfect for the shot. I sat inside the one we chose and at first looked at the camera but Mia asked me to look away this is the image I have chosen. My eyes are engaged elsewhere and my arms pulled back as if I am a prisoner in a strange world. It has an air of mystery that is accentuated by my pose. I could see that Mia was pleased with it. But she indulged me and we looked for some different locations. We found a bench and a larger shelter and tried those too and then I also took off my T-shirt and leaned against a trunk but Mia had her shot in the bag and so we agreed that it was a wrap. We went back to Ellie Rose's soopa doopa little car and drove back (very carefully, as the car was a recent birthday present from her parents) to UWE where we had a sandwich and chatted about their future, amongst other things. One thing I have found with this project is that, often when I have worked with very young photographers, there is no obvious generation gap because any awkwardness in that respect is nullified by the fact that we have the photography to deal with. I'm not so sure this was the case with Mia at first but, by the time I left, I did feel that any nervousness on my part (and I do get nervous even after 348 photographers) and hers had dissipated and that we were getting on well. 


Mia and Ellie Rose had things to do and so I suggested they drop me back to the station as I didn't want them to feel they had to entertain me when they had far more important things to get done. So, they took me back to Temple Meads and we said our goodbyes. I had missed Shawn Sobers at UWE as he was at home marking some papers but I called him from the station and said hello. It had been a good day. A very good day. 

Very shortly afterwards, I received the photographs from Mia and this one was clearly the one to choose for my project for all the reasons mentioned above and I wrote to Mia to tell her so. She is an excellent photographer and clearly ambitious and hard working all of which attributes, together with her engaging personality, will stand her in good stead now that she has graduated and sets out on what I am sure will be a very successful and fulfilling career. 

Monday, 1 June 2015

ALL GUNS BLAZING by Jennifer Balcombe

ALL GUNS BLAZING by Jennifer Balcombe


"You don't make a photograph just with a camera. 
You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, 
the books you have read, the music you have heard, 
the people you have loved."
- Ansel Adams
Once upon a time there was a beautiful little girl who we shall call Jennifer who grew into a beautiful young woman and fell in love with photography. When I say she was beautiful, I don't just mean lovely to look at but she had beauty in her heart. One day, her photography came to the notice of a man who, some years before, had decided that he wanted to be photographed by lots of different photographers. He started in the olden days, on the 7th day of May 2007 when he was only 56 years old and Jennifer was (and I am guessing here) about 18 years old maybe just starting to think about a career in photography. Well, what with one thing and another (and sometimes twice on Tuesday), the man happened to be writing a tweet on Twitter one day in the merry month of May 2015 and he came across a name of a photographer which the nice people who worked for Twitter thought he might be interested in because they knew he wanted to be photographed. 


Now it happened that the man whose name was oh, I don't know, Tim, was very interested in the work shown on the website of this photographer. The first portrait he saw was of a girl smoking a Camel cigarette. The face of the girl glowed in the soft light and the blue of the cigarette packet contrasted with the smooth colour of her skin and she was looking at the camera as if she really connected with the photographer. He decided then and there that he wanted to be photographed by this person. So he started to write an email "Hi Jennifer...." Yes, for it was the Jennifer of whom I have already spoken. She replied to the email the very next day and she said she was honoured to be asked by Tim to photograph him but Tim wrote back saying that the honour and privilege was all his which it was because as Tim had discovered she was a jewel in the world of photography because her photographs are like beautifully cut diamonds which glitter as they catch the light. For Tim, clicking on to her website that day was like he had found a secret chest full of treasure which he just wanted to dive into and swim around in like on a sunny day, he would have swirled around in the sea and seen the sun twinkle through the water as he laughed with joy. 


Jennifer asked Tim if he wanted to meet first for a chat or to go straight to the shoot "all guns blazing". Tim rather liked the sound of guns blazing and so it was that, on the first day of June 2015, Tim found himself in a street in Hampstead outside the door of the building where Jennifer lived. He pressed the bell and the door buzzed and opened like a magic door. He walked in and he heard Jennifer calling out to him in excitement from the stairs. They said hello and Jennifer showed him  into a room where a small set had been prepared with a simple black back drop. They talked as if they had known each other before which they sort of had in that Tim was born and had lived in North London until he was 13 and Jennifer was like the girls he had known at school and so there was an immediate empathy. Guns blazed and Jennifer took her photographs. Then another piece of magic happened. Jennifer had borrowed a film camera from a friend, Elena, so that, in addition to the digital photographs, she could also photograph Tim on film like in the olden days but older olden days that those which I mentioned before. However, the camera jammed and so Jennifer had to call Elena and ask her to come over to help unjam the camera. As they had to wait for Elena, they were able to spend more time together and catch up on the last 25 years during which they had lived their lives but had not known each other. 

Jennifer also had another film camera and again magic was in the air; instead of immediately looking into the back of the camera after each shot as she had done with her digital camera, this time each time after clicking the shutter she looked at Tim and when she did, she smiled and when she smiled, Tim smiled. And when Tim left, some time later and he had hugged Jennifer goodbye, he smiled again and he hop-skippity jumped down the street like a person does when he feels really happy. But the magic had not ended because the very next day some photographs arrived on Tim's computer and there he was in these beautiful pictures taken by the girl with beauty in her heart called Jennifer. 


And do you know? This sounds like a fairy story doesn't it? Well, it's not - there really is a man called Tim who was photographed in this way by a woman called Jennifer and there are wonderful photographs to prove it. Look, can you see them sparkle like jewels? Are they not beautiful?

WEBSITE: http://www.jenniferbalcombe.com