Wednesday, 3 June 2015


Mia favourited a tweet relating to me on Twitter. I looked up her work. I was impressed. I asked her to photograph me. She said yes. She did photograph me. The End. Well, of course, there was much more to it than that. Her work is exceptional. I particularly liked the "Arbor" project, beautifully lit black and white images of trees showing the squirming, writhing trunks spewing up into the air like misshapen gargoyles. I thought how good it would be to be in a photograph like that and I imagined myself naked and wrapped around the trunk imitating the weirdness of its growth. I suggested that to Mia but she did not seem too keen on the idea when we actually got to the location but that maybe because it was a public place and she also felt very strongly that, by then, she had got the image she wanted. I was very happy to accept her judgement in that respect because she has a great eye and a fertile imagination and she recognises a good photograph when she takes it. It was a collaboration after all and, besides, I have been wrong about these things before.

I was very touched that Mia had taken time out of her preparations for her degree show to photograph me. She and her lovely friend, Ellie Rose, lugged huge bags of lights and other photographic equipment through the woods until we found several small wigwam type shelters which Mia thought would be perfect for the shot. I sat inside the one we chose and at first looked at the camera but Mia asked me to look away this is the image I have chosen. My eyes are engaged elsewhere and my arms pulled back as if I am a prisoner in a strange world. It has an air of mystery that is accentuated by my pose. I could see that Mia was pleased with it. But she indulged me and we looked for some different locations. We found a bench and a larger shelter and tried those too and then I also took off my T-shirt and leaned against a trunk but Mia had her shot in the bag and so we agreed that it was a wrap. We went back to Ellie Rose's soopa doopa little car and drove back (very carefully, as the car was a recent birthday present from her parents) to UWE where we had a sandwich and chatted about their future, amongst other things. One thing I have found with this project is that, often when I have worked with very young photographers, there is no obvious generation gap because any awkwardness in that respect is nullified by the fact that we have the photography to deal with. I'm not so sure this was the case with Mia at first but, by the time I left, I did feel that any nervousness on my part (and I do get nervous even after 348 photographers) and hers had dissipated and that we were getting on well. 

Mia and Ellie Rose had things to do and so I suggested they drop me back to the station as I didn't want them to feel they had to entertain me when they had far more important things to get done. So, they took me back to Temple Meads and we said our goodbyes. I had missed Shawn Sobers at UWE as he was at home marking some papers but I called him from the station and said hello. It had been a good day. A very good day. 

Very shortly afterwards, I received the photographs from Mia and this one was clearly the one to choose for my project for all the reasons mentioned above and I wrote to Mia to tell her so. She is an excellent photographer and clearly ambitious and hard working all of which attributes, together with her engaging personality, will stand her in good stead now that she has graduated and sets out on what I am sure will be a very successful and fulfilling career. 

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