|THE CENTRE OF FOCUS by Rob Hudson|
We parked the car just off the road and Rob changed his shoes, picked up his bag and slung it over his shoulder. We turned towards the woods and climbed over the style and made our way up the hill. The ground had dried out and, as our feet fell upon it, there was that lovely soft crunching sound that spoke of the richness of the earth below mixed with dead leaves and twigs all feeding the roots of the trees and the plants surrounding them. We followed and then traversed a dry stream dappled with the grey of the slate washed clean by the winter rain and all the while nattered between breaths as we drew in the fresh morning air and then let it drift out on our intermittent friendly chatter. I looked up at the canopy of the twisted branches seemingly knitted together by some unknown hand or maybe there were boughs invisible to the eye around which the branches had wrapped themselves as they were forced to turn this way and that to produce a crochet of wood, succulent and alive, for our special delight. These misshapen limbs were dabbed with a vibrant green moss which heralded a calamity of colour that will surely follow as finally, happily Spring arrives and when the green woods laugh with the voice of joy.
We arrived at our destination - a small clearing - and Rob put down his rucksack and proceeded to light a cigarette as his brain began to tick and I stood and watched as the all the constituents of the photographs yet to be created began to collect in an orderly manner in the thoughts that had begun to take form the moment he had read my first message to him some days before. He directed where I should stand and whether or not I should move and then we decamped and he circled me as I lifted up my arms at his behest, luxuriating in the physicality of movement in nature. Who would have thought when I sat at my desk some eight years before, that in a few years' time, I would be spending my days with people like Rob in places like this?
After about an hour, I suppose, we retraced our steps to the dry stream, the style and then the car and moved on to the verdant sand dunes overlooked by the satanic silhouettes of Port Talbot fortunately sufficiently far away not to dampen the ardour of the master photographer and his willing model. Only this day, I did not feel like a model - I felt as one with the woodland and soft creamy landscape of the dunes covered by the dry dead of grass rolled out like carpets that children have played on and laid on while listening to stories of old. The tune of "The Fool on the Hill" was playing over and over in my head as we searched for and found a suitable mound where I twirled round and round and round as Rob kindly filmed me for later.
Another hour passed before Rob returned me to Llandaff Station and we said goodbye. Only a day earlier, I had met him for the first time at the bottom of the stairs in my hotel in Cardiff. A tall handsome man slightly shy of me until we relaxed into a genial discussion of his ideas for the shoot the following day over a cup of coffee. His easy manner and casual dry humour foretold of the perfect pleasure of his company on the shoot itself.
Reconciliation by Rob Hudson
And the photographs? What of they? Well, see for yourselves. "The Centre of Focus" represents all that is good about this project and about Rob Hudson. Total concentration and passion merged with my willingness to embrace all things that pass. A fractured tree inhabited by a fractured Tim both feeding on a wealth of goodness in this world of ours. Ours? Yes, we all belong. We all come from seed. We are all born and we all die and in between, we all LIVE!!
''...and all this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered."