Thursday, 8 March 2012

SACRED DAYS by Susannah Baker-Smith



SACRED DAYS by Susannah Baker-Smith

I went to Islington Art Fair in January 2012 to meet a photographer who had said that she wanted to photograph me and, whilst looking round the Fair after my meeting, I came across Susannah's work being displayed and it really caught my eye. It was similar to Jo Metson Scott's work in that the tones and colours and indeed the whole feel of the images were very gentle but with an underlying strength. 

So I wrote to her and she replied almost immediately saying that she had heard about my project and asked if she could pop down to Brighton to see and asking if there was much natural light in our house. She explained that she was interested in Memory and Imagination and she enquired whether I had any things, place or books which a special emotional significance to me. She felt it would be good to find a kind of narrative rather than do a straight portrait. I said that I liked the idea of exploring memory having just completed the making of a documentary about my childhood home which had recently been sold. I told her that I loved film and the cinema and had loads of books on the movies as well as a reel of film which particularly interested her. I thought of it being wrapped around me but then wondered if that would be wise because it was quite valuable to me and, in any event, would be hard to roll up again. However, she responded saying that she wasn't thinking along those lines (the wrapping idea) but would come with some rough ideas and work from there and see what emerged, her intention being to keep things as simple as possible.


Well, she was a delightful companion on the day of the shoot - very easy to talk to and she worked out fairly quickly where and how she wanted to photograph me. She chose first of all our basement which has a very soft light coming through two windows behind a single bed but then we moved on to other rooms in the house. She declined our invitation to stay for lunch as she had friends in Brighton to see and she left after a couple of hours.

I loved the photographs which she sent through a few weeks later - as you can see the one I chose has a lovely gentleness and, as I look away to one side, it looks so natural and one wonders what I am thinking about. Everything I suppose and nothing. It is a very quiet picture and very simple which is just what Susannah wanted but it says soo much. Mm. 

Susannah liked the title I gave to it very much. It comes from the Kinks' song "Days". For some reason, I thought initially to use another Kinks' song, "Tired of Waiting" as the title but I felt that it would suggest things about the photograph and my pose which were not really true or relevant. I am enjoying sacred days at the moment just like the day I spent with Susannah and her camera. 

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