|FALLING by Mattia Maestri|
I met Mattia when he was assisting the great Giulia Zucchetti on her shoot with me in July 2012. That was such an enjoyable shoot and we all got on very well and so it was no surprise when Mattia wrote to me subsequently asking if he could photograph me. I asked him to send me some examples of his work and he did and I was suitably impressed. He had certainly taken his duties as Giulia's assistant seriously and that conscientious attitude shone through in his own work too.
After a short exchange of emails, I arranged to meet him at a studio in Dalston on 16th February 2013 where he had everything all set up. First of all, he asked me to wear some yellow gloves and to be stripped to the waist and sitting at a table with my gloved hands before me. Then he asked me to remove the remainder of my clothing and for me to stand in various positions and to collapse with my eyes closing as I did so. This sounds quite straightforward but, with my condition having worsened in recent weeks, I found the sensation of falling with my eyes closed rather worrying at first but gradually, I relaxed and we tried different positions and timing until Mattia was completely satisfied. He seemed very pleased with what he had done and certainly, I found the whole experience very satisfying.
I received the glove photographs from him first and I really liked the contemplative pose at the table and the slightly bleached blueness of the shots. These seemed very peaceful and calm. However, then I received the ones where I was falling - I loved the close ups but my immediate favourite was the full length shot because, again, there was a peace and tranquility about the the whole slide of my body towards the floor. It was so louche and languid and gave the impression that I was content to allow whatever was affecting me to lower me gently to the ground. I loved the image and each time I look at it, I love it even more. Why is that? What is so special about it that affects me so much? I think it is all tied up with the relationship with the photographer. I had complete faith in Mattia that he would look after me and help me produce the shots he wanted. I became increasingly relaxed and confident that Mattia would arrive at the place that he had pre-planned with such care and expertise and that he would take me with him. If Mattia does that with all his models, then he will produce great work.
It was simple, clear and easy. Just like falling off a log. Like falling to the ground in soft, slow and sleepy motion. Like dancing, slowly, gloriously.....just like the slow dance that love is...