|UNTITLED by Lucy Ridges|
Lucy was recommended to me by Jonathan Stead and I looked up her work on her website and couldn't get my email off quickly enough. Her portfolio is excellent. Three days later, I received her reply and it was an enthusiastic yes and she asked if it might be possible to come up to her studio in Manchester. Her initial idea was to project an image of an ocean onto my body using an overhead projector but she said that this was just the first idea and no doubt it would change completely over the next few weeks. It did change but not completely.
We arranged a date for the shoot a few weeks later and she wrote again with more definite ideas. She planned to work with double exposures. She had taken a black and white film out to the mountains in Switzerland the previous weekend and had shot the entire film out there. She intended now to reshoot this film with me in the studio, taking photographs largely of my eyes and face. The loose idea around these images was to recognise the perceived weakness that comes with an illness, in contrast to the strength it takes for a person to live with it. Also, she wanted to photograph me nude sitting on a stool with my legs crossed and to play around with the shadow and with silhouettes and again with double exposures. She wanted to focus on the simplicity of the body for these shots. She also wanted to have a hand coloured image of me. The original image would be nude sitting on a stool and she would print this and hand colour it herself maybe with the colours slightly incorrect to give it a fairly surreal effect. Finally, she wanted to play around with some circular mirrors which she would pin to the wall and have me looking directly at them so that the eventual photograph would show my face made up of many circles.And do you know what? That is exactly what she did! Apart from the hand coloured images that is.
I caught the train to Manchester and, as agreed, I waited for her at the station and after a few minutes, this pair of beautiful blue eyes locked onto mine as Lucy walked round the corner and introduced herself. The eyes belonged to Lucy by the way. The reason I mention her eyes particularly is that they said so much about her. Calm, intelligent, fun and assured. And that was how the shoot went. She had a lovely studio cluttered with all sorts of interesting things - a pair of ballet shoes, the model of a boat, a black and white photograph of a nude woman, a shawl. First of all we had a cup of tea. Then we started on the mirror shots and then the nudes and then back to being dressed. In between, we ate our packed lunches (I love the phrase ''packed lunches'' - it reminds me of special outings at school) and then the sad moment that I always dread when she said that she had finished. She walked me back to the station and we said farewell. It was a lovely day working with someone so committed and interested.
Shortly afterwards, I received an incredible set of pictures all of which I loved. She told me which were her favourites and which one her boyfriend really liked but this was the one I kept coming back to. It is so wistful and sad - like Brian Wilson's beautiful song "Wonderful". Sad is not a bad thing - it speaks of emotion and that tingly feeling I get when watching an Eric Rohmer film when I allow myself to float on a cushion of lazy ecstasy as the story unfolds before me out of my control - bit like my life now.
It is all in the eyes.
...all fall down and lost in the mystery......