Tuesday, 11 February 2014

WAVES OF JOY by Genevieve Stevenson

WAVES OF JOY by Genevieve Stevenson

The sun was hot and it was a relief to be inside on the day of the Private View of "Over the Hill and Don't Look Back", the exhibition at Farley Farm Gallery which featured some of the photographs from my project and Jane's recent paintings. Most of the guests had left by the time Clare Park arrived with her vivacious friend, Genevieve followed shortly afterwards by my brother and my sister-in-law who had encountered traffic problems on the way. As with all of Clare's friends whom I meet, I got on with Genevieve straightaway. She is full of life, bubbly I think is the word with a mass of curly hair to match. I was told that she was a photographer and indeed she took some lovely photographs that day, photographs that I shall always treasure. After she and the others had looked round the show, we decided to go to the pub in Muddles Green where we had something to eat and drink. Genevieve and I sat next to each other and soon we were swapping favourite comedies - anyone who likes Woody Allen's "Sleeper" is ok by me. 

"When I asked my mother where babies come from, she thought I said "rabies". She said you get them from being bitten by a dog. The next week, a woman on my block gave birth to triplets... I thought she'd been bitten by a great dane"

I think we also talked about her photographing me - at least the seed was sown and in subsequent email correspondence, I raised the possibility and she readily agreed. 

Her initial idea was to photograph me in our bath at home with me lying in coloured water - I warned her that, if we did this, we would have to be certain that it would not stain the bath otherwise Jane, who loves me, would kill me. Whether it was that prospect or an accident which resulted in an intense colour emergency when some tea fell out of a cupboard at her flat causing two bottles of natural food dye to be spilled, that persuaded her to abandon the idea, I don't know. However, Plan B was a shoot at her flat in Wimbledon. Wimbledon - where I had slept out on the pavement from 1968 to 2012 in order to queue up for tickets for the tennis; where I had scene the great Lew Hoad play the first time I went on the Centre Court; where I saw Rod Laver win two years running; where I saw Manuel Santana as a veteran hit "that shot"on Court 5; where I stood with Jane and my friend Richard and watched the first Borg v McEnroe final. Anyway, I digress.


Eventually, I arrived at Wimbledon Station and Genevieve collected me outside in her trendy little car. She is also a painter and she had painted a large canvas various shades of green and yellow and black (I'm sure there were other colours in there but they were the obvious ones) and asked me to sit and then sprawl naked on it. We had a cup of tea and a snack after which I disrobed and laid on the canvas whilst she snapped away (with the camera). At one point, she asked me to close my eyes and she draped a painted piece of material across my shoulder and spent a long time sailing around me taking different shots. I felt so peaceful and I sunk back into the waves of canvas under my body and allowed Genevieve to slowly and gently invade my consciousness. When I opened my eyes, it felt like my brain had been massaged by a supernatural being without being touched. It felt like I was in space for a few minutes.

Then shortly afterwards, I received this photograph. 

I am not going to say anything about it. 

It speaks for itself.



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