|EYE SEE YOU by Martina O'Shea|
Martina is a lovely Irish woman currently based in London who takes wonderful considered photographs. She seems never to be quite satisfied but I do not say that as a criticism. Rather it is a compliment to her artistic endeavour. True artists never feel that they have quite succeeded. Her compositions seem so natural and then she has the greatest skill of all - the element of surprise!
She asked me recently what motivated me to ask her to photograph me. Well, I came upon a photograph on the Blog of Alex B, the model, in September 2012. It was a photograph of Alex taken from behind as she was stretching and it was bordered by a black circle, a ring of some sort. Alex's pose, if indeed it was posed, was unusual but I loved the body shape and the fact that it was framed by the circle. I liked the way Martina had thought about the composition or perhaps had suddenly noticed it and caught it at exactly the right moment. I liked her thought process almost as much as the image itself. That would have been enough motivation to contact her but the work on her website gave off the same message and, if I had been in any doubt (which I wasn't), that would have sealed it for me. I wanted that mind to be applied to a photograph of me. We met for an initial chat and, after discussing various locations by email, we decided on Hampstead Heath and Martina asked me to wear pyjamas for the shoot. I don't have any pyjamas so on the way to meet her, I bought a pair from Marks & Spencer.
The shoot took place on 18th October 2012 and it was a nice early Autumn day just right for strutting around a public place in my pyjamas - as it happened hardly anyone seemed to notice or care. We strolled around the Heath and used various different locations. At one point, I stood in a puddle by the side of one of the lakes. Martina really wanted me to get in the lake but there was no way I could. If I had had some plastic shoes and no Parkinson's, it might have been different. One of the last shots was this one and by then it was getting late and a bit dark. I did think it might have been good to have stripped off at this point but I was scared of potential rapists creeping up on us, overpowering Martina and then ravishing me in the undergrowth. Well, you never know - there are stories like that in the Daily Mail all the time!
We walked back to the Station but stopped for some tea and I think we had some cake too. As Martina got up to leave the cafe, I noticed that she put on some little black leather gloves. We caught the train together and said goodbye at Highbury & Islington where I alighted to catch the tube to Victoria. I sat on the train to Brighton and reflected on the day and smiled.
Martina had shown me some of the shots at the back of the camera and so I thought I had some idea of what the images from the shoot would look like. Well, I had no idea. They were astonishingly different and very, very good. I was overjoyed to receive such fantastic work. All that concentration had paid off. Martina is an exceptional photographer and a very interesting person too. She is sensitive and fun. Aren't I a lucky guy? Lucky Tim they call me.