Tuesday, 29 January 2013

OBLIVION by Josie Ainscough

OBLIVION by Josie Ainscough

It took a long time for Josie and I to meet but meet we did and eventually we had a shoot at my home in Brighton and the results were superb. This was just one brilliant photograph amongst the seven that Josie emailed to me after the shoot. Josie's work first came to my notice when some of her photographs were displayed in The Sunday Times magazine. I went to her website the day I saw them and found some wonderful images especially those in her "Clouded" series and I mentioned this when I wrote my first email to her in July 2011. She responded quite positively to my initial approach and asked me what about the "Clouded" series that I liked. She explained that, for that particular project, she photographed through a lens covered in Vaseline  and printed using liquid emulsion, in order to create a distorted and blurred effect, reflecting certain perspectives of body image. I replied saying that I loved the "Clouded'' images because not only showed her desire to experiment and discover which is what all great artists have but also, they were so vital and full of movement even though the figures themselves are obscured. It was the obscurity which resonated with me and my mixture of involuntary movement and the desire to live my life to the full as well as my aspiration to go further and search for the ultimate picture and be in it.

What with one thing and another, we did not meet until October 2012 but we enjoyed a fruitful discussion about what each  of us had been doing and resolved to go ahead with the shoot once Josie had formulated some ideas in her head. A few days later she came out with an idea to photograph me coming out of an egg representing a rebirth such as the one I had enjoyed since retiring. However, she experimented with that but it didn't quite work out as she wanted but then she had the idea of a headpiece of candles which sounded both interesting and slightly dangerous. 

And so it was that Josie came down to Brighton on 29th January 2013 with her necklace of candles. We shot the photographs down in our basement where it is quite dark during the day when the shutters are closed. The necklace and the candles needed some adjustment but Josie got the shots she wanted and we both agreed that they looked excellent on camera. We also tried some alternative shots with me seated and surrounded by candlelight She sent me seven images but this was the best one as far as I was concerned. It is so haunting with the light from the candles reflecting shadowy fingers on the wall behind me but, although it is full of mystery and danger, I look so calm and at peace whilst the fires are raging around me. Josie described it as a phoenix rising from the ashes and said that it was her favourite too. 

She has produced a unique photograph - I have nothing else in my project quite like it. It tells the story of the awful destructive nature of my condition which is closing in on me but, at the same time, it shows me at peace and enjoying my new state which, most of the time, is one of tranquility and calm. Aesthetically, it is an explosion of gold and light suggesting a life full of riches and promise. Josie is a very talented young woman who has demonstrated that she is prepared to think and work hard at developing ideas and then successfully bring them to fruition. She is a photographic artist of rare talent and I was very fortunate to find her.

WEBSITE: http://josieainscough.co.uk/

Saturday, 26 January 2013


Copyright: Sabine Mirlesse

Sabine Mirlesse has had to refuse my invitation to partake in my project because, at the time, she is unable to take on any new projects. I am not surprised - she is a fantastic photographer and is likely to be in great demand. Of course, I am disappointed but I can't have everything.

Nevertheless, in case some of you out there have not heard of her - this is the link to her wonderful website - enjoy!


Friday, 11 January 2013

NADAV KANDER - Bodies. 6 Women, 1 Man

Michael curled away by Nadav Kander

I was very fortunate indeed to have been invited last night to the Private View of the latest exhbition by Nadav Kander,  "Bodies. 6 Women, 1 Man" at Flowers Gallery, Cork Street. I was worried in case my Parkinson's had a detrimental effect which it has been prone to do recently when I have been attending functions of this kind. I don't know the reason for this but perhaps it is nervousness or just timing so far as taking the pills is concerned. However, as I turned into Old Bond Street, I could feel that spring in my step which told me that I was going to be ok.

Of course, the Gallery was packed but not so much that one couldn't see the wonderful photographs. And, dear readers, they are full of wonder. They were also beautifully lit which accentuated their almost ghostly appearance but these are warm blooded human beings painted with white marble dust and lovingly photographed by a master. They are certainly bodies but their beauteous shape seduces you not by sexuality but by Nadav's eye which has looked over every part of each body and has managed to reconstitute that concentrated gaze onto the image.

I walked past four of the photographs and each one gently unfolded before me as I stopped and allowed the magic to work.  When I am feeling good, it is easy to forget that I'm ill but nevertheless I felt a great deal of empathy with these figures some of whose heads were turned away hiding perhaps a feeling of vulnerability but still brave enough to expose other parts of themselves. Of course, with so many people there, it was difficult to have a really good look so I am going to return on another day. I thought about writing a piece on my blog as I left and determined to delay doing so until I had had a better look. But I couldn't wait and I wanted to convey something of what it is like to look upon this fabulous work for the first time.

Elizabeth with hand on shoulders by Nadav Kander

I turned away from the simple beauty of "Elizabeth with hand on shoulders" and a pretty woman came up to me with a lovely smile and said. "Hello, Tim!" For a few seconds, I didn't recognise her but then she reminded me (just as my addled brain was working it out for itself) that she was Christina Theisen whom I had met in late summer when she was assisting on my second shoot with Jillian Edelstein. We hugged and kissed and she introduced me to her handsome companion, Alexandros Vasmoulakis, and we all enthused about the photographs. Christina knew Nadav and kindly introduced me to his First Assistant, Felicity McCabe, a very nice woman whom in turn introduced me to Nadav's Studio Manager, the delightful Zoe Tomlinson, whom I had been emailing over the years with plaintive requests for Nadav to photograph me. I enjoyed my brief chat with Felicity who confirmed what I had already gathered from various people who had worked with Nadav, that he was a charming man of great humility. And it is that humility which shines out like a beacon from this work. This is all about the people he was shooting - it comes down to that simple fact. Often, I look at a great picture and, although I could speak at length about the lighting, the composition, the inner meaning, invariably it is nothing more than what you see. A body. A person. A human shape. Simple but dripping with the emotion, the passion and the loving care of the man behind the camera - Nadav Kander.

Now THAT is why I would love to be photographed by him.

I had to leave and said my goodbyes to Christina and Alexandros as well as Stacey Hatfield but then I wormed my way over to Nadav and introduced myself. Of course, he was charming and afterwards a little cloud bore me down Oxford Street to the Underground as I called Jane and told her that I was on my way home and what had happened the night I saw "Bodies. 6 Women, 1 Man". 

                                                              "Did my heart love till now?
                                                                Forswear it, sight, 
                                                                For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night."