Monday, 12 September 2011

PARADISE by Zed Nelson

PARADISE by Zed Nelson

''The image references the Garden of Eden, our natural vulnerabilities as human beings, and our mortality''
                                                                                                                                           - Zed Nelson

I don't know where first I saw Zed's work but it seems to be everywhere which is not surprising; he is such an incredible photographer that he must be in constant demand. It was in March 2010 that I wrote my usual email asking if he would photograph me. He responded immediately saying that he thought my proposal unusual and fascinating in that, in essence, I was making myself into a piece of living art. He went on to say that he was impressed by the simplicity and apparent honesty of the proposal and was really interested to know more. I was so pleased that he had responded in this way and endeavoured to answer his many questions as best I could. Already, I had a good feeling about this man.    

However, for one reason and another, it was not until 12th September 2011 that I found myself standing on the doorstep of his home in North London wondering what he would be like and what we would be doing. The door was answered by a man with the kindest open face and deep dark handsome eyes - wrong house! No, only joking - the good looking guy was Zed himself and immediately as I crossed the threshold, I felt welcome. In fact, I was lucky to be there because Zed was just about to rush off to an assignment in the Sudan for which he was still awaiting a visa but he seemed amazingly calm about the whole thing. We chatted a bit and he explained that his idea was to place me naked amidst the trees and shrubs of his garden and that this was inspired by him seeing (and I think, photographing) his girlfriend standing in the same spot. He said also that he felt some trepidation about the pressure to come up with something that matched up to the other photographs in the project. This surprised me because I felt no such pressure myself and had never really seen it from the photographer's viewpoint before. So, I undressed and we tried various poses and positions and Zed clicked away, pausing every now and then to carry out some judicious pruning of overhanging branches. I have to say that it was a very comfortable, easy shoot and that had a lot to do with Zed's calm and friendly manner.

As for matching up to the rest of the project, well he really shouldn't have worried. The picture is stunning. I was overjoyed when I saw it. I was in Paradise. 

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