Wednesday, 7 September 2011

THE REAL ME by Gabriella De Martino

THE REAL ME by Gabriella de Martino
I am afraid that I have no idea how I came to discover Gabriella's work but what I can say is that it is unique. She seems to be able to get her models to adopt poses that are unusual and yet, at the same time, completely natural for that person. Just look at the wonderful work on her website. Have you looked at it? Because if you have, you will understand why I wanted to be photographed by her. 

I wrote to her in January 2010 but it was not until a year and a half later that she replied apologising and explaining the delay which was due to her having had quite a tough time but saying that she now had a studio and good work was coming in. I'm not surprised - she is a brilliant photographer.

We corresponded by email over the summer of 2011 and agreed that she would come down and photograph me in Brighton. Initially, she would start with full nudes in the house and take it from there but then she heard about the nudist beach in Brighton and so the eventual plan was to shoot me there  very early in the morning and then go to our house for some clothed shots. So it was that I picked her up from her hotel on the seafront by Kemptown at 5.15 in the morning of 7th September. We drove straight to the nudist beach and parked in the road behind. It was still quite dark and I noticed in my lights that some cars were parked ahead. I turned the interior light on but unfortunately, this seemed to spark off a series of movements in the road ahead of us and I realised that this must be an area where Dogging occurs. I should say that I have never partaken in any dogging (although we did own a poodle once) but I had read about it and apparently doggers communicate by turning lights on and off. Suddenly this guy ran past the car and it was then that I suggested that perhaps we return to the bright lights of the seafront and chat there until it got a bit lighter. 

After about twenty minutes, we returned to Dogging country by which time the other cars had disappeared and we walked to the nudist area with the chair that Gabriella had asked me to bring. The wind was blowing and the sea was fairly rough and had gouged out quite a large cliff in the stones and Gabriella asked me to stand on the edge of this cliff and then sit on the chair whilst she photographed me with her beautiful little camera. This took about an hour or so and then I got dressed and we went home where she met Jane and saw her wonderful paintings and then shot some more before she went off in search for a good Brighton breakfast. 

Some weeks later, I received what were an incredible collection of images which I told her were wonderful and I meant it . They were stunning and showed such sensitivity and compassion for her subject. They made me want to cry. I was amazed how she had captured the very essence of me. The pictures of me on the beach at first seemed to speak of my loneliness but then I looked again. I was not alone - I was with Gabriella and, with her unusual skill, she had pulled me towards the viewer and said ''This is Tim. He is like you and he is like me. He is not alone. He is in love with a beautiful wife. He thinks. He feels. He does. He lives and he breathes like you and I and, like you and I, he is unique not because I have made him so but because he is. Like each one of us.''

Gabriella is special. She loves what she does and that produces great images and I am extremely proud to say that I have been photographed by her.

In years to come, people will say ''Wow! What was it like to be photographed by Gabriella De Martino?!?" and I will say, 

"It was..............unique"

Gabriella De Martino

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