Saturday, 22 March 2014

SPOTLIGHT by Jo Renshaw

SPOTLIGHT by Jo Renshaw

When I was younger, so much younger than today and I was still living at home, my mother owned two volumes of Spotlight, the actors' and entertainers' directory, dated 1959 and 1960 respectively and they contained people like Bruce Forsyth, Dickie Henderson and David NIxon. When Jo sent me a selection of the photographs from our shoot, this one stood out for me and reminded me of the photographs in Spotlight - hence the title I have given to the image.

I found one day in January 2014 that Jo had started following me on Twitter and I looked up her work and found it fascinating especially her research and documentation of her family which struck a chord with me because I had recently made a documentary about my family home in West Wittering in Sussex. However, in addition to this sort of film, I have also been making short silly films and putting them on Vimeo and You Tube over the last 5 or 6 years and it was the person behind those films that Jo wanted to capture in her photographs of me.

She arrived at my house in Brighton with all her lights and backdrop, the whole works in fact and set it all up in the sitting room. She had a very clear idea of the type of shot she wanted and this picture really does succeed in that and every other respect. It is crisp and clear, it has the feel of an actor's head shot and really does capture my personality. As I have said many times before, I do not feel that I am acting in front of the camera on these shoots. Every photograph shows one aspect of the real me - I am not putting on a show. That said, I always wanted to be an actor and used to bore everyone who cared to listen about this dream of mine. It began when my headmaster's wife, who advised on careers at school, asked me what I wanted to do as a career. I had been reading a crime novel at the the time and said that I would like to be a barrister but she shook her head and said that was no good. I asked her why and she said that all barristers were actors and she had seen no evidence that I could act. Now, although I had never done much acting apart from the odd little show at Primary School, I knew that I could act. She said I had to prove it to her so I enlisted for three school plays and proved it to her and then became a lawyer! Nevertheless, I did eventually do some acting including two one-man plays and I even got an agent but I had to decide between a regular income as a lawyer and the unpredictable job as an actor and I had to choose the former. Now, I am doing some acting of sorts in my little films


I really like this photograph for the reasons set out above but also because my expression says "So? I wanted to be an actor but I never really got there but hey, so what? I have had a great life and I have no regrets whatsoever". This is what Jo very cleverly found and brought out in the image. It is not always an easy thing to do but with her skill and determination as well as a huge dollop  of talent, she did it and did it brilliantly. 


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