|STRANGE FISH by Valentina Lari|
I came across Valentina's work through my contact with Greta Wallner a young student whose work I had seen at her degree show at Free Range. Greta and Valentina were exhibiting together and I was notified of the show and saw other people listed including Valentina and so I looked up her website and thought her work was wonderfully atmospheric and beautiful. On the home page there are the words "with love.." and that really sums up Valentina's approach to her art. Everything is done with love and, in the process, she sees the beauty in the human body.
Well, we took a long time arranging the shoot and then it was a long time before I chose a photograph. This was one of the least strange images but I did not in any way shy away from the others but rather zoned in on this one because of the stillness and the directness of my stare as I present the three fishes to the viewer. It is the challenge that this photograph evokes which is similar to the way I have challenged my audience with my new life where I am so much more open and free with my thoughts, my body and what I say. I know that it will seem strange to some people who knew me before my illness and in that respect it will be a challenge for them too. I am the same person but I am just expressing myself in a different way.
Anyway, back to the shoot. Valentina was originally going to bring an Octopus and then it was a squid but eventually, we ended up with with three mackerel! The idea was to produce a still life which would include me. The fish were very bloody and dripped all over the place. I have modelled with fish before and I find that we do get on quite well together. These three were great Beatles' fans and so we had a lot to talk about. We swapped lists of our favourite records. They liked "There's a Plaice" and of course "Octopus's Garden" and "We can work it, Trout". I'll stop now because this is beginning to sound like a poor version of "I'm sorry I haven't a clue". No, seriously, we tried various poses and it all got very sticky and smelly and I had a good wash afterwards.
Then Valentina sent me her photographs and they were all so vivid and strong and their texture was so rich due I am sure not only to Valentina's skill but also the fact that they were shot on film. I know nothing about cameras but I guess that someone really skillful could get close to producing this on a digital camera but not close enough. They have a richness and a beauty much more of which you can find on Valentina's website which I urge you to visit now.
Anyway, I must stop now - I've got a date.... with a skate.