|MASK by Alex Boyd|
I was recommended to this wizard of photography by Julian Holtom and I am so very glad to have made contact because this collaboration must have been one of the most interesting of them all. I wrote to Alex in November 2011 and he replied saying that Parkinson's Disease was an issue close to his heart and that he would be honoured to photograph me. It amazes me when someone of the calibre of Alex should feel honoured to photograph me because he is an incredible man with a huge talent and all I do is sit in front of the camera. Needless to say, therefore, that the honour was all mine. He explained that he would photograph me using the wet plate collodion method like the Victorians used to do. Julian had told me about this and I had looked up some previous work of Alex's on line so I was thrilled to be told that I was to be photographed in this way.
Eventually, in July 2012, I travelled up to Edinburgh for a series of shoots and, on my way back down south, I stopped off at Lockerbie station to be collected by the curly-haired Alex looking very cool in a black shirt and waistcoat and some snazzy checked and slightly torn trousers. Immediately, he struck me as an extremely amiable fellow with a lovely fresh smile which exuded all the intense enthusiasm he had for his art. He took me back to his house where he introduced me to his absolutely gorgeous wife, Louise, who not only had the most stunning hair but was also a lovely person to meet. They are such a beautiful couple to be with and it is not often that one can say that so soon after meeting them for the first time but you know what I mean don't you? They had a way about them which was all their own and it was a pleasure to latch on to.
Me and Alex
Another nice thing (among the many nice things that day) was that Julian and Sol arrived and it was so good to see them again. I had not seen Sol since we met for our shoot in the previous November although we had been in correspondence since then. And Julian's friendly mug had been present at my exhibition in Southport as recently as May. After some delicious sandwiches, we all trooped over to Alex's garage and he set about explaining how the wet plate collodion method worked. First of all, we did a basic test shot which I thought was marvellous and it was fascinating to see the image eventually appear. We then tried some different poses, including this one, and even tried a nude shot. The whole procedure was so interesting and Alex explained everything as he did it whilst Sol clicked away with her camera and Julian kindly filmed the whole thing. The time whizzed by and eventually it was time for me to leave and catch my train. Alex took me to the bus stop and I caught the bus to Lockerbie and, as I sat back in my seat on the train, I sighed. It was not the sigh of despair which I used to breathe when I was working as a lawyer and I was battling with an illness I didn't know I had; it was the sigh of complete and utter contentment. I had had such a great time that day with some people all of whom had become very special to me. I am a lucky, lucky bastard. Even more so when I walked in to our house in Brighton and sat down to tell Jane about my day with the great Alex Boyd.
Of course, I had seen the images when they had been created on the day but my heart gave a little jump when Alex sent them through a few months later. I showed them to Jane and she loved them. I sat and looked at them on the computer screen and my mind drifted back to the day of the shoot and I could hear Alex's voice and see his smile and hear the voices and see the smiles of Louise and Julian and Sol and my eyes closed in on the memory and wrapped it up in a lustrous blanket of golden silk and stored it away in my vault of precious treasures and, every so often, I open the door and brush away the silk and I smile too.
''There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain.
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends
I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I've loved them all''