|ARC OF A DIVER by Julie Mullin|
I first heard of Julie when I was compiling my "Selfie for Stu" video but I made a decision not to approach any of the photographers who contributed selfies unless I heard or made contact independent of the video. That said, I cannot remember how I came across Julie's work - all I do know is that, when I did, I found it be refreshing and fun which was exactly what I was after. Eventually, I hatched a plan to travel to see her in Blackpool and to tie in my trip with visits to Manchester to see Lucy Ridges and Sheffield to see Al Brydon and Jacqui Booth. This wasn't easy because both Julie and I were not well at different times both at the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016. But eventually, we settled on some dates and I found myself in a Premier Inn on the outskirts of Blackpool - not the greatest hotel in the world but everyone I came into contact with on this visit was extremely friendly and welcoming whether it was the staff at the hotel, a woman I bumped into in the lift, various taxi drivers or the cashier in the little shop opposite the hotel.
I got a taxi to Julie's place - a neat little house in a nice road and I was welcomed into her sitting room where I met her partner and her youngest daughter. Now, I often say how much I enjoy the shoots but it is not just the actual photography, it is also very much the people I meet and chatting with them all over a cup of tea was of the nicest times I have had on this long journey. I could have listened to their mellifluous Irish accents all day and Julie's partner was intelligent and charming and their gorgeous daughter a little shy but extremely pretty and fun. Julie then led me into her conservatory where she had set up a little mini-studio and I took off my clothes and we tried various shots and then shot a short cinemagraph, all the while engaging in a very interesting chat about the question of Nudity and how people reacted to this. Although the weather was a bit changeable, the sun in a clear blue sky made the conservatory very warm indeed and after about an hour, possibly less, we were both grateful to retire to the relative cool of the sitting room.
Julie had mentioned her other daughter a few times and explained that she would be home from school shortly and also said that she had told her about photographing me and that her daughter had taken a keen interest in her photography. We all chatted some more until I felt it was time to go. At that point her older daughter arrived and, I hadn't thought much about what sort of person she would be but this lovely 12 year old girl walked in, dressed very smartly in her pristine school uniform and proceeded to introduce herself to me in such a courteous and pleasant manner and with a polite confidence that belied her young age. I was astonished because I do not think I have ever met anyone of that age quite like her and, if she is like that now, she will go far because it is rare to meet anyone so accomplished let alone a 12 year old. What a brilliant family! I came away even more convinced that notwithstanding all the rotten things happening in this world, there are lovely families like Julie's who represent all the good things about humanity.
I received the photographs in dribs and drabs (what is a drab?) but when I saw this one, I was immediately drawn to it. It is very simple but no less interesting for that. It continues to express my interest in body shapes and I love the curve of my back even though my stomach gets in the way of a more perfect arc. The other shots were different and very interesting again with the shapes and layers creating an exciting mix but, overall, this was the shot. It slides into place and stands proudly with the other great images in my project as does the memory of that sunny day when I met and worked with the lovely, talented Julie Mullin.
"......arc of a diver, effortlessly, my mind in sky and when I wake up......"