Friday, 8 May 2015

SPECIAL OFFERING by Al Brydon and Jacqui Booth

SPECIAL OFFERING by Al Brydon and Jacqui Booth
There was a marvellous film made in 1958 called "The Big Country". For me, it had everything - it was a western, it starred Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons and Charlton Heston, it had a stirring musical theme and it had a great story. What more could a seven year old boy want? Well, not Polio which is what I got that year but, I survived and it only affected the muscle in my right hand although I have always felt that my co-ordination on the right side of my body was affected too and that is why I never ever reached the level of playing football to which I aspired.

Anyway - back to The Big Country. The closing shoot-out of the film takes place in a canyon which looked very much like the quarry where these shots were taken but unlike the canyon in the film, this quarry had been formed by unknown human hands decades ago and I could sense the presence of these quarrymen in the air. The walls of this huge pit looked down on us with a benevolence that invited us to put the space to a different use.

And then something happened, a tiny thing which I have not discussed with Al or Jacqui and so I don't know whether they will agree but I felt they were both tentatively waiting for a signal from me before we could start. As we slithered down the side of the quarry on to the flat auditorium I saw the boulders as altars and I saw myself lying on top of them as a human fossil waiting to be sucked into their core. There was a silence between us even though we moved among the stones and wondered at their size and shape but there was palpable joint sigh of relief as I suggested I took off my clothes and lay on one of the rocks - we were off.

There was no more awkwardness that day as we all concentrated on what we had come there for. At one point, Al walked back up to the lip of the quarry and photographed me below while Jacqui shot me close up and the images shown above came from this. Sometimes, I imagine how a particular shot will turn out and a lot of the time I get it wrong but these two were very much how I envisaged they would be, my only surprise being how good they were. Why I should be surprised when they were taken by two such intuitive and talented artists I don't know - of course I do; people like Al and Jacqui are always striving for excellence and end up going beyond what they have achieved before. One identifies them with the level they have previously attained and then suddenly the bar is lifted even higher.

I adore these two pictures. They say everything about the moment, the day and my friendship with Al and Jacqui as well as the excellence of their photography.

Fat Boy Tim and slim Al


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