Home. I am fortunate enough to have a home to come back to, where I can relax and be me. Often, when I have been out for the day, I come home after dark and I look through the window to see if Jane is there and, if she is, I feel a warm glow of love, affection and companionship. This may all sound a bit sugary and soppy but it is true. There really is no other way of putting it. Home is where your family is and where you are surrounded by your things such as your books and pictures and photographs. Everything is familiar; everything holds a memory.
Tereza's family home is in Slovakia. She talked to me about her home and her family and, in particular, her brother, with whom she has a very close relationship. So, it is not surprising that she took this picture. When I first saw it, I felt quite emotional because I recognised myself immediately. What Tereza had done was capture me where I am the most like the real me - at home- and she did that because she loves her family and they love her and because we had met previously and talked a lot about each other and, on the day of the shoot, we just continued that conversation. But not many people could translate all that into the feeling expressed in this shot. Tereza is an extremely talented photographer.
I had seen her work in 2013 in the Taylor Wessing exhibition for which she was shortlisted whilst still a student at Middlesex University. Her photograph, "Sisters" is reproduced below.
I loved the light and the trust shown by the three girls; it is a beautiful picture. So, I had absolutely no hesitation in writing to her asking if she would be part of my project. Eventually, we met in the Barbican Centre - her idea was to photograph me there which surprised me as I thought we were just going to meet for a chat. It is interesting waiting for someone you have never met before - as each person comes in, you think "That could be her.." but when Tereza came in, I knew it was her straightaway. Maybe because she came up to me and said she was Tereza and I must be Tim. Seriously, she is quite tall and slender and she was wearing a long black coat. She looked like the person who took her photographs. Well, we talked for well over an hour and agreed that she would come down to Brighton for the shoot. We arranged a day in December 2014 but then at the last minute, she had second thoughts because it was just before Christmas and there were other small problems but I managed to persuade her to come as planned and we were both so pleased that I did because we had a lovely day talking about various things and, at the end, as a special treat, I showed her some of my silly films. Lucky girl!
The photographs were taken on a film camera and so it took a while for Tereza to get them scanned but it was well worth the wait. I really loved the light and the connection which was borne of her sensitive personality. The pictures were all very gentle. Like Tereza. She is gentle but she is also someone who is determined to develop her skills. I know that she will continue to grow to be a supreme artist and it is nice to think that perhaps, one day when she is sitting with her grandchildren looking through her old photographs, they will ask "Who is that man sitting looking out of the window, smiling? What is he smiling about?" and she will answer "Oh, what was his name? Oh yes, Tim" and she will smile too. "Why is he smiling? Well, he's smiling because he is thinking about his home and all the things and people in his home which make him happy".