|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.