|MY CHARLIE CHAPLIN by Maja Daniels|
I am afraid that I cannot recall exactly where I first saw Maja's work but I think it was in a Sunday or Saturday supplement and then I went on her website and was blown away by how good she was. Anyway, it led to me writing to her in October 2011 asking if she might consider photographing me. She replied almost immediately saying that not only had she seen my project mentioned in the press but also that she was Zed Nelson's partner. Zed had photographed me in the garden of their flat only a month before.
There was then a gap but, in the meantime, we met at the Taylor Wessing Awards Private View and I am not sure if it was there that she told me that, when Zed photographed me at their flat, she was in fact upstairs lying low. I wrote again in January 2012 and she confirmed that she was still keen to work with me and explained that she was so interested in me and in what I was doing that she wanted to be sure to do it right. I found that so moving because she is a top photographer and to think that she was giving me that sort of consideration very much surprised me but then she is a serious artist and a very nice woman as well so maybe I shouldn't have been surprised.
We set up a date for the shoot and she asked me to bring a quirky hat with me and some white braces and to think Charlie Chaplin. I travelled up to her flat in London on 9th February and we chatted a fair bit until we got started with some shots inside. It was then that I asked if Zed was upstairs this time and she said that he was! Then we went into the garden and Maja took several shots including this brilliant one. As with Zed, she only sent one picture after the shoot but, if you get as good an image as this, you don't think of what the others might be like. She explained that she preferred the exterior shots and she felt in this one I looked quite strong but yet, like Chaplin, there is a darkness haunting me and it almost feels like the branches are coming for me.
I was so pleased with this and it just shows what a great photographer Maja is. It is a very strong image with beautiful contrasts of colour and it captures a moment when I show a depth of feeling in a life full of fun and games. She had the intelligence and skill to discover this about me in our long chat beforehand and then brought it to the fore so adeptly in the photograph. I am so impressed every time I look at this.
After Maja had finished, Zed came down and said hello!
P.S. Maja engages - that's what she does.