Wednesday, 2 November 2011

ROSIE HARDY'S WORKSHOP with Holly Griffiths, Karl Young, Lisa Zilver, Krishna Haveliwala and Darren O'Rourke

When I approached Rosie Hardy to ask her if she would take part in my project, she asked me in turn if I would mind the shoot being part of one of her workshops and immediately I agreed not having been involved in a workshop before, photographic or otherwise. I met Rosie at her apartment in Manchester and she introduced me to the five people whom had signed up for it and they were all very nice and what is more, very keen and willing to learn.  I have described the shoot already in my blog entry on Rosie so I won't bore anyone by repeating it all. However, I shall comment on each of the images sent to me subsequently by the class members.
CARDS by Holly Griffiths
Holly sent me three images afterwards, all of which were excellent and so it was difficult to choose just one but this one shaded it. I like the fixed gaze which is seemingly oblivious to the  cards falling about me. To me the cards represent metaphorically the fates that befall individuals who contract one disease or another or whose lives cross with others in a way in which the road one takes is fixed by that chance occurrence or meeting. How I managed to get Parkinson's Disease, I have no idea. Was it because I caught Polio when I was seven or was it because the fields behind our house in Sussex
were sprayed with insecticide in my teens or because I used insecticide on the bloody Mare's Tail in our garden at Ravenswood? Who knows but what I do know is that because I contracted the condition, my life changed totally and on 2nd November 2011, Holly took this great photograph which I am proud to include in my project.
JUST ONE LOOK by Karl Young
When the class clicked away, I tried to ensure that I looked at each of them as they took their photograph  as often I like to engage directly with the photographer and, ipso facto, the viewer. I want them to see into my psyche and connect with me. This image by Karl does just that I feel. It says that I know that you know what I know. Even though we are strangers, we are fellow human beings. It is a beautiful photograph because of that but my pose is only part of the reason for that. Karl took loads of photos that day but he recognised something in this image that said a lot about the person I am and how I communicate with people. It is quite simply excellent and certainly stands comparison with all the other pictures in my project.

GROWING UP by Lisa Zilver
This image by Lisa does not engage with the audience in the same way as Karl's pic in that I am not looking directly at the camera. However, it works really well. I love the movement in the photograph which says as much as any close up gaze might do about the person I am. I am very conscious these days about the way I represent myself to the world physically and intellectually. My intellect is not affected directly by the disease but my body certainly is and, when I shake uncontrollably, it does have an impact on my mental state as well as send out mixed messages to those who come in contact with me. Is he a Spaz or what? I really like this photo because the cocked leg, the outstretched fingers of my left hand and the flabby body say so much about who I am but mostly I like it because it has a voyeuristic element to it. The photographer is looking round from the side and you wonder why she is and moreover, you wonder what the fuck is going on. Great. When Lisa sent me this image, she said that she had seen all the other wonderful pictures on my blog and she felt so special now - and so she should not because of the other photographs but because she has produced something wonderful herself.
KEEPING MY NOSE CLEAN  by Krishna Haveliwala
When I was at school in the 1960s, I found myself in the lowest stream of my particular year because the previous year I had joined the school right at the end of term and so I had no idea what they had been taught and so, after years of being top of the class at my Prep School, I suddenly found myself relegated to the thugs' class because basically I had failed almost all of the end of year examinations the results of which dictated which stream you entered in the following year. My mother had no idea really about all this and so no-one complained and, as a consequence, I kept finding myself in trouble as I adopted the mores of the lowest stream. On one such occasion, the Metalwork teacher told me to 'keep my nose clean' in future. I had never heard this expression before, so I touched my nose thinking that a bogey was hanging from a nostril whereupon Mr Hall clipped me round the ear and and sent me off on a run around the sports field. What has this to do with Krishna's brilliant photo? Well, it forms the title but also says that even the simple act of blowing one's nose resonates with one's past and, therefore, it can speak volumes. Again, an interesting and intriguing choice of photograph.

A GROWING ARTIST by Darren O'Rourke

And finally, we return to the weird guy watering something in the basement. Darren's thinking was to show the whole change of lifestyle that I had gone through, leaving a career in Law behind (burying the law books with the advocate's wig thrown aside for good measure whilst, at the same time balancing on one leg suggesting the scales of justice) and now pursing my creative side which has allowed me to blossom with joy (the growing flower is a Gardenia which is a symbol of Joy). I never fail to be touched by the amount of thought which the photographers I have met put into the creation of their respective images. I feel very humbled by this. All good photographers feel and think in this way and Darren is no exception. It is a very moving photograph even if one is unaware of the background. Darren is an extremely good photographer as you can see. 

                                            Rosie and the Gang plus cat

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