Saturday, 8 November 2014

ONE FROM THE HEART by Nandita Lovage

ONE FROM THE HEART by Nandita Lovage

You wouldn't know it but this photograph was taken within a couple of goalkicks from White Hart Lane - you know, that place where Tottenham Hotspur beat Chelsea 5-3 on New Year's Day? That fact is almost totally irrelevant so far as this photograph is concerned except that when one is photographed in a place which has so many happy memories, it must have some affect on the portrait. I think it geared me up for a wonderful shoot with the beautiful Nandita Lovage and her handsome boyfriend, Cesare. 

I had found Nandita's work through the Portrait Salon and a link to Emma Taylor in 2012 and slowly but surely we communicated and eventually met in 2014 to discuss this shoot. We did not talk about the specifics but had a general chat in order to get to know each other a little better. We later spoke on the telephone when Nandita asked me to think of some paintings I liked that we could project onto my body. I went away and thought about this and sent her several examples but they were mostly figurative and possibly said more about the poses I thought I might adopt rather than what would look good being reflected on to my body. Fortunately, Nandita had better ideas involving the wonderful blazing colours and shapes to be found in paintings by Chagall and Turner and that is what we went with on the day of the shoot. 

The shoot took place on a Saturday in a small building which Nandita had a personal connection to when she was little and so that meant she was also in a place physically and emotionally that was full of happiness and good memories. We tried various paintings and went from me sitting naked on a stool to standing and then back to the stool again. We looked at some of the images whilst we worked and it was clear that the few figurative pictures used were not as effective as the landscapes and more abstract works. Although I had had some inkling of how the pictures would turn out, I was still very pleasantly surprised by how good they actually were especially this one. I really like my stare into the distance but whereas some stares into the middle distance look just like that - a look into the middle distance - somehow my look has much more meaning in that it appears to be directed at the viewer even though I am not looking straight at the camera. There is wistfulness to it but it is not in any way devoid of strength or challenge. It still engages and throws back a statement of intent and resolve. I shall survive and I shall live my life. I love the shadow behind me - almost as if the old me is there, not hiding but supporting the new version.

Nandita worked very methodically and inclusively in that, as we looked at the images, she was always concerned as what my thoughts were and willing to listen to suggestions. It was a simple idea of hers beautifully constructed and with such great empathy shown towards her subject even though we had known each other only for a relatively short time.  It is a skill that makes the difference between a good photographer and a great one and Nandita is certainly the latter. 

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