|SNAP! by Clayton Bastiani|
I came across Clayton's bizarre images on the internet in July 2010 and, of course, I wrote to him asking if he might be interested in joining my project. About a week later, he respond saying that it would be a pleasure to take part. He said that he lived on the Isle of Wight and that his studio was very humble consisting of two strong lights in a spare room with bits of material hanging from washing lines but that it was what he did with the pictures afterwards that transformed them into something other. It sounded good already! His initial thoughts were to create something with a timeless quality representing the degenerative aspect of my illness, something spiritual, involving childhood ambitions and incorporating personal elements to work into an image as over-laying textures - perhaps a superhero take on the physical ailments.
What with this and that, it wasn't until 2012 that we began talking in earnest again about a shoot but then Clayton's father died suddenly. However, he was still very keen to help with my project and so we plumped for 7th May as the day of the shoot on the Isle of Wight. His idea was to collect me from the ferry and then travel across to the south western part of the island and quite literally walk and talk and take pictures. He had about four ideas buzzing round his head and asked me to wear a suit and a bowler hat.
On the day, we followed his plan but first of all we had a coffee and a chat about how the day would go and then set off to a lovely beach where I donned an overcoat and a top hat and pranced about. Then we travelled around and took more pictures in different locations before going back to his place for lunch where I met his lovely wife and son. We adjourned to his home made studio and did some nude shots of me dancing around my 'body' and then we went off and did some more shots on and under a pier before he took me back to the ferry terminal and I made my way home. It had been a great day - a bit tiring (I actually fell asleep talking to Clayton at one point) but in a nice way. Clayton was great company all day and it never seemed to flag.
So far, he has sent me these four images and my immediate reaction was "Wow!" I thought they all looked incredible. Clayton explained the basic concepts behind each image. The first one portrayed the Island as the Dinosaur Isle as it is known. I wondered what it would be like without the dinosaur but, when Clayton sent me a dinosaurless version, I realised that it didn't work so well as he intimated that it wouldn't. With the dinosaur there, it suggests that either we are out playing together or perhaps he has sneaked up on me and got into the picture. It is more fun and more unpredictable. The second image examined the necessity to split myself into several characters in order to be portrayed differently as many times as I had so far with the project. The third image deals with the reaction to being informed about the illness or being given news that is beyond my control or making and the sense that, at times, it feels as though you are standing at the edge of the abyss or staring at a future that can be both scary and amazing at the same time. The fourth image shows the interior workings of a clockwork cure. Wonderful aren't they? But which one to choose? I went for the first two in the end and of those the Dinosaur just edged it not necessarily because of the Dinosaur but I liked my pose before the camera - it has a chaplinesque look about it.
However, Clayton has two more to send me so watch this space. Either way you can guarantee that they will be interesting and thought provoking because that is how Clayton is. He has a strong intelligence and is a very sensitive person, fully aware of his place on earth and how he wants to relate to his fellow beings. He has a wonderful imagination and this is what enables him to create such amazing images almost out of nothing.