|SLEEP, GENTLE SLEEP by Charlotte Steeples|
Charlotte left a message on my Blog in March 2012 saying that she had heard about my project and wanted to know if she could be considered for the project and she included a link to her website. Now this could have been tricky because, although I had not made any rules about who might photograph me, what if I didn't like her work? I need not have worried because I really felt there were some very good images on her site and, in particular, there a sense that this was a photographer keen on discovery and willing to take risks. Oh alright, I'm not a photographer so what do I know? Well, not much, but I do know what I like and, as this is my journey, it can only be down to me to choose. Anyway, I replied to her message positively and we arranged to meet on 26th August as I was coming over to her home town of Richmond-upon-Thames that day to meet my youngest sister as it was her birthday.
We met near Richmond Station (memories, memories) and walked to Richmond Park as we had agreed that Charlotte would take some photographs there even though the proper shoot was scheduled for the following weekend in the City. Charlotte has this infectious enthusiasm and that showed in her pretty open face right from the moment we met. It took us a good 15 minutes or so to get to the park but during that time we chatted about this and that and we were firm friends by the time we arrived. We had talked previously about the possibility of trying some nude shots provided there was no-one about to be offended but at first, we found some good locations for some more conventional portraits. Eventually, we came upon a rough path through some tall grass and I quickly stripped off and lay down for a few shots of which this was one. I got dressed and we wandered some more and did some more clothed pictures.
The proper shoot was the following weekend and for this Charlotte asked me to dance to music in some head phones in various locations around St Pauls and the City. Her concept for the shoot was to focus on the fact that my diagnosis had enabled me to escape from the drudgery of work and so she wanted to portray my new found freedom by dancing. As it was a Sunday, we assumed it would be fairly empty but as I surfaced from the Underground, I was suddenly in the midst of lines of crash barriers as well as dozens of policemen and women and stewards - it was the day of the Marathon in the Paralympics! Nevertheless, we found some good spots which resulted in some very neat photographs. We finished off on the Millennium footbridge (the one that used to shake - I wonder how they cured that..........) and ended up having a full English Breakfast each in a nice little cafe where Charlotte took a few headshots. It was a beautiful day all round and it was an absolute pleasure to share it with someone as nice as Charlotte.
Then I had the added pleasure of receiving the photographs shortly afterwards. The shots in the City were fabulous especially the ones on the steps of St Pauls and on the bridge but I kept harking back to a particular nude in Richmond Park and when Charlotte said she liked it too, I decided that was the one to represent Charlotte in my project.
Charlotte is wonderfully talented photographer with an eye for the unusual and a great sense of fun and yet she takes her work very seriously and, as you can see, it pays off.