|A VERY HANDSOME MAN by Michael Birt|
I should say at the outset that the title to this photograph is taken from the subject heading of the email from Michael to which his photograph was attached - I am not having the gall to call myself a very handsome man. I have no idea whether I am or not. But, but - this is a beautiful photograph. The tone and colours give it such depth and he has captured a look in my eyes which is not a complete smile nor is it completely engaged nor is it blank - it has everything. It seems to me to reach back in my life and to represent all the stories I recounted to Michael on the day of the shoot; stories of childhood, of music and comedy, of art and love, of pleasure and disaster.
It also says a great deal about how we communicated with each other. I had met Michael quite a few times before and I noticed that I always felt that we were friends and yet we hardly spoke and had no other history than these meetings which were often at photographic events. Now, having spent such a long time together on the shoot, I know why I should have felt this way. He is a human being with a love of life, of living, of people and of his chosen occupation. For these reasons, I do not feel that anyone else could have taken this portrait. Once, years ago, I said to a photographer that I supposed that with the advent of such super-duper cameras, anyone could take a good photograph now but he replied saying that that was not the case and I think it is true. Really good photographers have to love what they do and know how to do it. They have an innate skill and an imagination. They have to love all that they do and Michael is just such a man.
When I received this photograph, I leaned forward to the computer in anticipation and then looked at it and leaned back in my chair with a purr of pure pleasure. It is a glorious portrait. I felt that it was so good that really I should bring my project to an end now so that this is the last one. I'm not going to do that because I am just too bloody greedy - I want MORE.
I cannot think of anything else to say except feast yourselves on some great photography by Michael Birt, a very special man.