Friday, 24 August 2012

FLYING SPIRIT by Chris O'Donovan

FLYING SPIRIT by Chris O'Donovan

In early 2011, I saw some photographs by Chris O'Donovan in "You" Magazine and liked the style and so looked up his website to find even more scrumptious images. I wrote to him immediately and he responded extremely positively. He had googled me and thought that some of the images were amazing. He also mentioned that his grandfather had had Parkinson's Disease. Eventually, Chris came to Brighton and it is safe to say that he was captivated by the house and also by Jane's paintings. He is a lovely man who has an attractive boyish face and an enthusiasm to match. I received a long message from him the next day in which he explained that he had been up until 4am brainstorming ideas which fizzed out of his email like little fireworks. One idea he had was to set me in the house watching all my mementoes fly through the air past me but technically this proved hard to do and, as he said, when he arrived for the shoot itself, it would take a long time and he would rather spend time photographing me rather photographing objects. He was also very taken indeed by Jane's paintings and originally said that the wanted to include them somehow into the shot. This never happened but, as Jane is the architect of the layout of the room in which the shoot took place, she does have a strong presence here.

The shoot took place in August 2012 and did not include any flying objects but did feature a fish tank which was perched somewhat precariously between two chairs in our sitting room and then filled with water which worried me and would have horrified Jane......if she had been there! I could not bear the thought of the tank splitting and all that water flooding the room as well as the kitchen below. Thankfully no disasters occurred and Chris shot from below the tank whilst I plunged my head and hands into the water.

We cleared away the tank and then tried some nude shots most which were lit with a lights placed both inside and on the balcony. I had brought down to the room some of my most treasured possessions but in the end we only used my late grandfather's silk top hat. And it was one of these shots that Chris favoured most of all and which I chose to represent as Chris's contribution to my project. I have used this pose in some photographs before but what sets this picture apart is the wonderful lighting and the weird context of the image in that I am seemingly dancing in my sitting room with top hat but nothing else. There is grace and beauty in the picture which are captured perfectly by Chris. And the viewer asks why? And the obvious answer is "why not?"

Chris sent me low res versions of all the photographs he took that day and it was fascinating looking through and remembering how it all unfolded in the shoot. We had so much discussion about what we planned to do and I feel that we had to go through all that to get to this one fantastic image which sums up Chris's zest for life and the undiluted delight that he takes in creating photographs. Very much a collaboration of ideas, feelings and passion.

I adore this photograph.



  1. Dear Tim,

    I am a regular passive viewer of your blog, this time I just had to comment. Your grace in this image is just beautiful as is the light. Really such a stunning photo.

    Sarah x

  2. Thank you so much Sarah. lt is wonderful isn't it? lt was a great shoot to do as well. Thank you for your interest - there's more to come!