|MAKING PLANS by Tom Petkus|
"I want you to be sad and miserable" said Tom as I met him, for the first time, at the Small Batch coffee shop in Hove. He had asked me to come along dressed in a suit and I decided to wear a black tie. It had been raining hard that morning and Tom wiped the seat of my chair dry and then asked me to stare into my empty coffee cup. I have to say that, although my condition is getting worse, it is very rare for me to be sad and miserable and I am very lucky in that respect.
I had made contact with Tom after finding his work on Flickr in April 2012 and sent him my usual email. He responded by asking me for a link to the photographs in my project which I sent to him by return. He replied saying that he would like to photograph me but I did not get back to him until almost a year later and, even then, I was slow to react to his emails and so it was not until January 2014 that we met at Small Batch. Tom has a deep Lithuanian accent (he is from Lithuania) and is about nine feet tall. He is serious about his work and about life but he has an infectious enthusiasm for Photography and underneath the rather austere exterior, he is a very warm human being. He surprised me because I couldn't really make out what he was like from his emails and, even when I met him, it took me a while to figure him out. I found him to be person full of emotion and love; a tall strong man with principles, but with a softness inside. An observer of humanity who does not always like what he sees but nevertheless understands it.
We shot quite a few images at the coffee shop and, whilst we were there, Tom's friend Agnes arrived to help out and what a very pleasant helper outer she was. We moved down into Palmeira Square and he took some photographs outside a mansion building and, at this point, Agnes posed with me or at least her arms did.
After a couple of hours, we slowly made our way to my house and I showed them around and also we had a look at some of my films after which they left. I sat and thought about the shoot and how deeply satisfying it was. Tom's love of photography was clear and both he and Agnes were very good companions for the day.
Soon I began to receive some pictures from Tom and I was very impressed. I knew they were exactly what he wanted. This was my favourite but the ones featuring Agnes were also excellent and I was tempted to choose one of those but I kept coming back to my original choice. It leaves the viewer to work out what is going on but there are intriguing clues - the bent head, the slightly detached gaze into a cup with the rings of dried coffee inside the rim and the great dollops of rain like tears are still visible on the table. They tell a story but Tom credits the viewer with enough intelligence to work it all out. A fine photograph.
"Before you cross the street
Take my hand
Life is what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans"
- John Lennon