|RUSH HOUR by James O. Jenkins|
For me, and I guess for many people, the name of James O. Jenkins will be associated forever with Portrait Salon which James founded with Carole Evans in 2011 as a response to the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. Its aim is to showcase the best of the rejected images from the Taylor Wessing prize. Strangely, I had never met James even though I have worked with many photographers whom he knows well and probably I have attended many exhibitions where he has been present, not least the Portrait Salon exhibition in 2015 at the Embassy Tea Rooms. But I quite like the idea that we had been in many rooms at the same time over the years but never met. However, equally strangely, when I did meet him that day on London Bridge, I felt that we had met before - his face lit up by a lovely smile, seemed very familiar. So what, you might say. So nothing really but these things interest me.
I first wrote to James in May 2013 - 3 years, 156 photographers, a Baby (his, not mine), a brain operation (mine, not his) and 54 emails later, we met at 8am on London Bridge for the shoot. It had always been James' idea to photograph me on the bridge in the rush hour only with me not rushing. Originally, we conceived the idea of a much more crowded bridge and perhaps trying out Waterloo Bridge as well and from a more elevated position (him, not me) but I think this shot as it is works better as a portrait with a bit of space around me. I look as if I am wearing fancy dress but my wife remembers when her father used to dress like this in the 1950s and 1960s as did all the other commuters who rushed across this bridge at this hour of the day.
I like being photographed but the best part of the morning was when James and I went for a coffee and a croissant and had a good long chat about matters photographic. He is such a nice guy and it was an easy and relaxing conversation. Eventually, it was time to go and I said goodbye to photographer number 404 and walked back to the Underground over an almost empty London Bridge. I received the images fairly quickly and they were all excellent but we both agreed on this one.
A nice morning, a nice shoot, a good chat, a lovely guy (him, not me) and a very satisfied model (me, not him).