Saturday, 5 March 2011

IN THE CELLAR by Jane Andrews

IN THE CELLAR by Jane Andrews

Jane is a painter. When I began this project in May 2007, neither of us had any idea where it would go. We found out soon enough. My illness has been very difficult for Jane. Initially, there was the shock of the diagnosis, then the shock of my deterioration, then the shock of my immediate recovery under the heavier medication and then the shock of having to deal with someone banging on about what a great time he was having with all these young artists. In the meantime, she produced an astonishing body of work in the form of the series of paintings entitled  "Station of the Skirt", the full significance and meaning of which is now slowly beginning to dawn on me.

Furthermore, it was Jane's idea to have an exhibition and she has given me huge support and wise counsel in the face of the difficulties that I have brought to our door. We discussed several times over the last three years whether Jane would make a contribution to the project in the form of her own photograph and it was when we had to start clearing our beloved Ravenswood at the time of the sale that we thought of photographing me in the cellar which housed all my old junk, a large proportion of which consisted of old Beatles' and Spurs' cuttings dating back to the early 1970s. I knew that it was all down there but then the enormity of what I had done dawned on me - I had spent hours each day reading the articles, reports, league tables, top twenty music charts, reviews, gossip columns, obituaries and then cutting them out with a view to sticking them into scrapbooks to then read all over again at some time in the future. I was preserving the past and taking it with me.......for what purpose? The great thing was that I now knew that I was free of all that.

And so I emptied out a whole suitcase full of this stuff and suggested I stand or sit in the middle of it all. We tried that and also some additional lighting but it didn't quite work for Jane who decided on a lower level of light and that I should bend down and scoop and throw the paper all over the place. As I did so and she clicked away, I saw this period of my life flying past me on its way to oblivion.

I really like the golden, almost sepia like colour of the whole shot which reflects the age and hue of the cuttings themselves and I love the sweep of arm over my shoulder and the fact that my head is obliterated by the blur of paper seemingly rising up from the floor and in the middle of all that movement, the page from the NME with the McCARTNEY headline on it sits there, still and clear, waiting for its turn.

When, subsequently, the British Journal of Photography published a piece in their Endframe section, they asked me to send about a dozen images one of which they would print with the article. I sent them a selection including Jane's photograph and they chose hers. They asked me to let them know the name of the photographer and where I had met him or her. I replied saying her name was Jane Andrew sand I had met her at home! 

A brilliant and worthy addition to the project by a great artist.


1 comment:

  1. A fantastic project and I just love this image. Looking forward to more