Tuesday, 29 September 2015

SILENT SONG BY Al Brydon and Jacqui Booth

SILENT SONG by Al Brydon and Jacqui Booth

There is a silence in my head when I am asked to close my eyes. Of course, there are noises all around me but in my head, all is quiet. Then the shutter clicks and the volume is turned back on. I open my eyes and I look at Al and he is smiling. I turn to look at Jacqui and she is smiling too. I smile. There is nothing to say. All three of us have heard it. It is the silent song of complete contentment. Of understanding. Of companionship. 

When I answered that advertisement in Time Out in 2007, I could never have known that it would lead to days like these. When I wrote to Al Brydon on 6th April 2013 asking if I could be a speck in a landscape, I could never have known that it would lead to days like these. When I wrote to Jacqui in June 2014, I did not imagine that it would lead to this. But it did. And all I do is stand there and close my eyes and this, this is what comes of it. Two images of such majesty and imagination that I find it hard to find the words to describe how I feel so I look, in silence, and then I close my eyes and I think back to the day. I see Jacqui's happy face as she clambers on to the train. I hear Al's soft voice say hello at Sheffield Station. I hear the twigs crack under our feet as we climb up to the deserted building jutting out of the bank like an Inca Palace. I hear the cars rush past, the drivers oblivious to the naked man looking out. I hear the birdsong in the quarry and the man talking about badger's poo. I hear the fizz as Jacqui and Al suck on their cigarettes. I hear Jacqui lose her phone and I hear Al find it. I hear the breeze on the trees. I hear nothing. I open my eyes and I see these images. I look out of my window, up into the sky and I wonder what each of them are doing now. 

Are they too listening to the silent song?

"Nobody told me there would be days like these....."
John Lennon


Sunday, 27 September 2015

JOURNEYMAN by Dave Wares

JOURNEYMAN by Dave Wares
I was a solicitor from 1st October 1977 to 24th June 2006. I was articled at the firm of Raper & Co in Chichester, West Sussex and then, when I was qualified, I joined the firm of Burley & Geach in Haslemere, Surrey first of all as an assistant solicitor and then as a partner. I worked hard, I worked long hours and towards the end, I found the job very stressful. I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in November 2005 and I retired in June 2006. I think I found the job stressful because of my illness. It is a slow moving condition and certainly, the first signs had appeared in 1999 but, at that time, I had no idea that they were the symptoms of Parkinson's. It maybe that I had the disease well before 1999 but suffice to say that I was battling with an unknown foe for the last seven years of my legal career. I used to dream of giving up the law. Indeed, I had always wanted to become an actor but although I managed to do some acting and even find an agent to represent me, my financial commitments (e.g. mortgage, school fees, fast women, slow cars - spot the lie) were such that I could not really contemplate early retirement and a change of career. I would have had to be extremely foolhardy or brave to have retired in those circumstances. But it was handed to me on a plate. It was as if God had said to me [God speaks in booming voice from Heaven] "I shall give thee what thou desirest but there shalt be a catch....". The catch was Parkinson's. So Lucky Tim was plucked by the angels out of a legal career and dropped on a beach in East Sussex at sunset with a guy called Dave who photographed him facing the sun and holding a case. Hang on, I've missed a bit. The bit in between from 2007 to 2015, during which time I have been photographed by over 360 photographers. A photographic journey full of wonderful people and places. Full of images of me swimming in the sea off the coast of Scotland in my suit, lying naked on a ledge in a wood near Huddersfield, dancing on the steps of St. Pauls, running along a beach in France, dancing to Madness on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, sliding into an MRI scanner and hanging on to a branch of a tree wearing only underpants on a freezing day in February.A journey full of films about Zorro, The Black Thumbnail, Mr Merryweather QC, The Wiggle Woggles and Roger A Destroyer. A journey accompanied by my colleague Parkinson's Disease and its incessant attempts to make things more difficult by giving me a tremor, stiffness, slowness, dyskinesia, freezing of movement, slurred speech, loss of sense of smell, erectile dysfunction and loss of balance. A journey from lovely Ravenswood in Milford, Surrey to Brighton, East Sussex. 

Where was I? Oh yes, Dave Wares. Well, I found out about him through a link to his work on Twitter. I went on his website and there were glorious photographs of castles, deserted buildings, landscapes, seascapes and street photography. I contacted him by email. He hadn't heard of my project but he looked at my blog and my film of my talk at Brighton Medical Centre and he said yes. So, not very long afterwards, I was on the beach at Birling Gap at sunset, holding a case and being photographed by Dave who had driven all the way from Hastings to Brighton to collect me. He had several ideas most of which were very successfully executed. This was the first to be tried - holding my case and looking out to sea and beyond. It might be thought that this was a representation of my past and in some ways it is but it also shows me now, still travelling with a case full of memories and tools with which to cope with a unknown future, a future that we all contemplate every now and then.   

After these shots, we tried others including different poses in front of the sun, which was slowly sinking, and with a flash attached to an umbrella shade. We also played a bit with the case so that Dave could work on the shots on photoshop later. Dave had brought with him a snickers bar for each of us but, as the sun disappeared over the horizon, we agreed that we had done well and now it was time for a beer and something a bit more substantial to eat. All this time, we had chatted mainly about the photographs but in the car he had told me of his own photographic journey from taking snaps on a small digital camera to 35mm slides to his present DSLR. In the pub, we talked more and carried on talking on the way back to Brighton when it dawned on me how extraordinarily kind and selfless he had been to do all that driving. 

I received a set of photographs from Dave shortly afterwards and I thought they were wonderful. I loved the ones with the flash which, as Dave said, had a very surreal quality to them. I was also very drawn to the two of me dancing and initially I earmarked one of those as the photograph for my project. The one of me jumping could have worked but it didn't quite. It was my idea to jump and Dave caught it beautifully but my leap wasn't as graceful as I had imagined it. In the end it was a choice between the one of me standing with the case and one of me dancing. I began to feel that the latter, as great an image as it is, was not quite as genuine as the former. This spoke to me in a variety of ways. It is a fantastic shot, it speaks of the past, present and the future. It means more. The title is Dave's but I was happy to adopt it too. Both the image and the title recall the words of Ralph McTell's song "The Ferryman". Dave has introduced yet another brilliant picture into my project. Fuelled by his imagination, his love of photography and the skills he has picked up over the years, he has created an excellent image. And, yet again, it has been proven that all photographers are really, really nice people

Oh, the traveller, moving on the land,
Behold I give you I give you the travelling man.
And he's very heavy laden
With the questions of his burden.
Lo, and I give you the travelling man.
He has crossed the mountains,
He has forded streams,
He has spent a long time, surviving on his dreams.

WEBSITE: http://davewares.co.uk

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

THINKING OF JANE by Valentina Quintano

THINKING OF JANE by Valentina Quintano

What is the connection between this photograph and Hove Cricket Ground? Well, on 11th May 2015, I was there with an old friend watching Sussex play and, during a break in play, I went to the loo and on the way, I passed a set of photographs displayed on a wall. They had been taken by Valentina Quintano who had been commissioned by FotoDocument, an art education organisation, jointly with Photoworks to create a One Planet Exhibition by means of a photo essay on the theme of One Planet Living. She was one of ten photographers chosen to represent ten sustainability principles and Valentina's was "Health and Happiness". The photographs were good. I could see that Valentina had thought very seriously about the project and what I liked particularly was the respect and admiration she showed for the people she photographed. I noted down her name and, when I got home, I looked at the work on her website. It was full of emotion and vitality and throughout there was a strong sense of empathy for people using what tools they had at their disposal to live their lives but more than that, the pictures had bravura. The movement and colour were wonderful - the billowing grey cloak being dragged across thick green grass, the rich gold of blazing candle light reflected in a man's spectacles. I wrote to her straightaway.

Valentina's response was interesting. She had had a look at my project and she proffered three potential subjects for consideration. First, she asked if there had been a specific question I had been asking myself recently either in relation to my illness or not. Secondly, she asked if I felt like sharing with her something I had never shared with anyone (a thought, action, story, nightmare or dream) and that, upon seeing my work, I felt I wanted to share with her. Thirdly, she asked if there was an aspect of my life that was normal and ordinary for me but which would not be for other people. She explained that she was fascinated by the relativity of the concept of normality. We met in a Dalston cafe (no, not that one) and had an enjoyable time talking around these questions but it needed a further meeting to settle on a specific way forward. Subsequently, we agreed a location and then, on 23rd September, my Mother's birthday (she would have been 96), the shoot took place. 

We shot in the woods, the inside of the house, the pool and on the trunk of an enormous tree which had been cut down. The photograph below is one of Valentina's chosen favourites and it was not easy to reject this as I loved it. The photograph in the pool reflects the despair I felt (thankfully not too often) of the disease slowly pulling me under and yet paradoxically, I love the water. I am not afraid to confront and play with the idea of my mortality and Valentina is not afraid to photograph it. But the image which means so much to me is the one above. I stood there and gazed up into the sky and thought of someone, the difficulties we had encountered alone and together, her strength, her honesty. I have spoken of her before in relation to some of the photographs in my project but I have never had my thoughts of her photographed. If it is a beautiful image it is because she is so. If it is a brave image, it is because of her that I dare. If it is a brilliant photograph, it is because Valentina is an excellent photographer and she took it having planted the question in my mind. 

Other people love each other, other people are beautiful, other people have honesty and courage but no-one thinks what I was thinking. 

What was I thinking? 

I was thinking of Jane.

Monday, 21 September 2015

TIM by Lydia Goldblatt

TIM by Lydia Goldblatt

On 22nd May 2010, I wrote to Lydia Goldblatt having seen some photographs of hers in the Guardian Weekend magazine. She did not respond but I am sure that she must have received a massive response to her work. Fortunately, I was reminded of her talent when some more of her work was published in the same magazine a year later. I wrote again and this time she replied, thanking me, praising my project but explaining that she wasn't sure it was the right thing for her. However, about two years after that, I saw her speak at a Mini Click event in Brighton and, after the various speeches, we talked and she was very kind and explained that her previous reluctance to collaborate on a shoot was due to the fact that her father had been been very ill and she had been photographing him and that, therefore, it simply wasn't possible for her emotionally to fit me into that mix but that now she was very keen to do so. Another two years passed but this time we kept in touch regularly trying to pin each other down to a meeting at her flat in London. Finally, we did it and had a wonderful hour or so talking about what we could do. I realised then that Lydia was an extremely committed artist. She takes her work very seriously indeed and, therefore, she does not take it on if she is not in the right place to give it the attention she feels it deserves. 

So, why was I so surprised at the quality of the photographs she took? Why was I so moved when I first saw them and every time I look at them? Well, of course, I knew they would be good but they are not just good, they are superb. And you can see the amount of thought she has given to producing them. I am constantly amazed by the time and effort that photographers invest in taking my photograph but these are special. The colour, the depth, the contrast, the gentle eye that she has cast on my hands. The light which bathes my back in a honeyed glow. The daring displayed in the close ups of my face; I feel almost as if her lens has touched my skin in the process, as if she has climbed into my eye to really discover and understand what lies behind it. But she did all this so gently, so quietly, so intimately.  

She presented them as a grid first of all but then took all the images and presented them as a slideshow of three screens which she preferred. She said that, from the start, she knew how she wanted to make these 'fragments' that built together for a couple of reasons: first, I had been photographed so many times that she felt it was almost impossible to think of me and my image representation any longer as singular - as the project had grown, they had become myriad, multiple. Secondly, given the nature of Parkinsons as something that repeatedly shifts and moves the body and expressions, she wanted to think about how she could represent that photographically and the slideshow of images was like the idea of slowly moving round the body and exploring its movements, in an almost cubist way. 

I understand this but in some ways, the images do not need any clarification. They are simply beautiful. They come from a mind that is beautiful. If you know Lydia, this will not surprise you. If you do not know Lydia, you then have an opportunity to discover this. It will be like watching a butterfly break out of a chrysalis and slowly reveal its beauty before lifting off into the sky and then dropping every so often to touch gently on what interests and inspires it and fires its imagination; each touch is so light, one can hardly feel it and yet one is left so enriched by its short visit that life will never be the same again. She is there, she is gone. Like the fingers of a pianist brushing, rushing delicately over the keys of a piano, like the water in a stream lifting up over pebble and rock in a symphony of sound and sparkle. Yes, if you do not know Lydia Goldblatt, look hard upon the these images. Not hastily. Take your time to enjoy each one before moving on to the next. Then look again at an object or person you love and you will find that your mind has been prised open and that you will discover elements which were present before but which only now are revealed to you. 

Then you will know.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

LOST by Izaskun Gonzalez

LOST by Izaskun Gonzalez

Location: Epping Forest. Date: 16th September 2015. Weather: wet. Ground: muddy with puddles. Photography and Make-up: Izaskun Gonzalez. Model: Me. Two year old asleep in buggy all through shoot: Izaskun's little girl. Add the odd dog walker and the threat of rain and what have you got? This amazingly weird photograph of my overweight 64 year old body which has clearly seen better days and yet, if I had been a lithe 63 year old, would it have worked any better? Well, with a great photographic artist like Izaskun, it probably would have but this project is not about making me look good but me being documented by different photographers during this part of my life and, if I am a pasty, flabby, sad clown then so be it. I don't want to to be flabby but I have a sweet tooth and, until recently, little self control. I get tired more easily and so I snack to keep myself awake whereas a nap would be the obvious answer. But, but, I am turning the corner. Sad? Sometimes but not for long. Clown? I think so, in a sort of understated way.

Enough of me. What about Izaskun? Her photography is absolutely stunning and if or when you look at her website, I am sure that you will agree. It is full of romance, colour and imagination. As she says, she is intensely fascinated by human nature, pleasure seeking, addictions and other forms of extreme and obsessive activities. She thrusts her brain into a different gear when she takes hold of a camera and uses it to glorify the bizarre and the grotesque and infuses it with a sly but benign humour. This was one of the last shots of the shoot. The rain held off to enable us to set up shots of me wearing a clown outfit by a small muddy pond and then again further in the woods where we chatted briefly to a dog walker who wasn't surprised to be speaking to a man dressed as a clown. "Oh my husband usually walks the dog and he's seen all sorts in here - girls with hardly nothing on, all sorts". She walked on and it was then that I suggested I unwrap the paste and flab for this picture to which Izaskun readily agreed.

I got dressed and we returned to the car. With perfect timing, Izaskun's little girl woke up oblivious to what had been happening over the last hour and a bit. I was dropped off at the tube, kissed Izaskun goodbye, waved at her gorgeous bleary-eyed child in the back and that was it. A lovely little shoot with a charming woman who is an exceptional photographer   

WEBSITE: http://www.izaskungonzalez.com

ANOTHER TAUREAN by Isabella Bambagioni

ANOTHER TAUREAN by Isabella Bambagioni
We were having coffee in a Vietnamese Restaurant in Old Street and I thought fleetingly, how strange it is that we go to Vietnamese restaurants and students travel to places like Cambodia and yet, not long ago, we were hearing about the Khmer Rouge wreaking havoc and the US dropping bombs.

"When is your birthday?", she asked, in a matter of fact way and yet her bright eyes seemed earnestly to be searching some connection.
I knew that my answer would be significant.
''18th May" I said, my eyes returning her gaze with equal intensity. I knew. I was right.
"Oh my God!" she choked. "Oh my God - you're kidding, right?".
Tears welled up in her eyes. I smiled at the sudden loss of her composure, at the involuntary whoosh of emotion.
I remained calm. I knew, somehow I knew.
By the time that we strolled down the street towards the Underground, she had regained her poise and she walked tall (taller than me) and confidently.

Isabella Bambagioni is Italian, born in Bejing and now living and working in London. She has a handsome boyfriend called Jack, loving parents and a sister whom she adores. She is an excellent photographer. On the day she was born, 18th May 1995, I took the afternoon off and went up to London to watch Kieslowski's "Three Colours White" at the Gate Cinema in Notting Hill. I was 44 and probably already had the first little drips of Parkinson's Disease inside me.

Later we met at the tube station near Epping Forest and we walked deep into the undergrowth and Isabella took some shots and we talked about her family, her work, my family, my work. Then we set up a shoot at The London College of Communication. It was meant to be the start of a long collaboration but I guess life intervened and there have been no more shoots.

Isabella is young and has a wisdom that belies her years. She is enthusiastic, intuitive and impulsive. She loves photography and yet I can see her move on to other things in the future. There is no limit to what she can achieve.

WEBSITE: http://ibambz.co.uk/ 

Saturday, 12 September 2015

THE TIN MAN by Sean Hawkey

THE TIN MAN by Sean Hawkey
Brighton 12th September 2015. A 5th Birthday Party. A surprise birthday party for me because I had forgotten that it was on. Oh, yeah, it was in my diary but obliterating the scrawl which read "Min cluck porty" was another entry saying "9am 1pm SEAN". So, when I walked up the steps of the Unitarian Church to meet Sean Hawkey for my shoot with him, I was pleased but slightly bemused to be welcomed by Jim Stephenson of MiniClick who told me that it was their 5th Birthday Party. 

On the screen at the back of the dais inside the church were the names of sixteen photographers who were going to give talks that afternoon eight of whom had photographed me and one of whom might, just might still do so. Kevin Meredith walked past and gave me a strong, warm handshake. Kristina Sälgvik provided a friendly hug and I kissed Lou Miller hello and she asked if I would like a badge made from a Laura Pannack print. I found Sean Hawkey, whom I had never met before, in the back room. He had just finished taking a picture of the great Antonio Olmos who turned, beamed and said "Hi Tim!" as he pumped my hand. I introduced myself to Sean and he explained what he was going to do and I was allowed to queue jump much to the seeming chagrin of a woman who I think was next on the list. Nevertheless, I redeemed myself by letting a guy go ahead of me as he had to cycle to Preston to make an appointment - not sure the woman was impressed by this act of generosity. Oh, well you can't win them all. 

I listened to some great talks by Alex Bamford, Niall McDiarmid and Antonio. I am afraid that I ducked out of Murray Ballard's talk to get back to Sean and his amazing camera.  Ally Lethbridge, Abbie Trayler Smith and Annie Collinge and Jocelyn Allen were next up. Annie introduced herself to me beforehand and was quite nervous but spoke very eloquently. Ditto Abbie who had been allowed out to play by Harry and their son, Florian. The witty Peter Dench gave a typically amusing account of "Dench in Dallas" and he was followed by Stuart Griffiths and Ewen Spencer. Kevin Meredith then spoke very movingly of his daughter who is also five years old and already taking photographs, some of which were flashed up on the screen. He also paid a deserving tribute to MiniClick. In the meantime, the first shot by Sean was not quite to his liking and by the time he took his second photograph, I had an audience which made me a bit nervous myself but it was fascinating to see Sean create a picture of me on the tinplate. And what a superb photo it is. It is all in the eyes and I really like the fact that I am leaning slightly as it gives the image a movement that perhaps such photographs might not otherwise have. 

Sean's description of the photograph is below:-

"It’s an 8x10” tintype shot with the wetplate collodion method. I used the chemical formula invented by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851, and a Dallmeyer 3B lens made in London in 1872. Early Petzval-type lenses like this have more aberrations than modern lenses, that's why I love them, imperfections make pictures - like people - more interesting.

The chemistry has an ISO of just one, so the exposure has to be quite long. Even with a massive amount of light from a mercury vapour lamp very close to Tim, he had to sit completely still for an exposure of 6 seconds. 

The image is a reversed positive, so it’s not how we see Tim in real life, it’s what Tim sees in the mirror. And the because the wetplate chemistry is mainly sensitive to invisible light, Ultraviolet, and the blue and violet part of the visible light spectrum,  it’s not a record of what we see with our eyes. There’s no app to reproduce that."

I asked Billy Mather to draw the photograph by Solarixx so that I could send it to her in her hour of need. I pondered the possibility of nicking some birthday cake whilst saying hello to Ally who was sitting next to Melissa Campbell and Blake Lewis. I had to leave before the final four speakers but not before greeting the lovely Jack Latham. On the way out, I bumped into Alma Haser and Nick Ballon, talked westerns briefly with Melissa and Blake and Martin Seeds, walked back up the steps to chat to Jo Renshaw and then I was gone.

So, a lovely day full of lovely people and  ended up with this amazing picture by Sean. What more could one ask for on Saturday 12th September 2015?

Friday, 11 September 2015

APRÈS BAIGNADE by Alex Bamford

APRÈS BAIGNADE by Alex Bamford
This is the quickest shoot to blogpost ever for me. This morning, after my swim in the sea, I met Alex who had photographed me before for my project (See Here Comes the Moon). He was on a commercial shoot and on the look out to photograph people in Britain going about their business. He asked me if I would pose on the bandstand (the scene of another minor triumph of mine, the film "Let Yourself Go") and I did. This kickstarted his commission and he said that he found another eight people after me to photograph after me. Voilà! 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015



9th September 2015. The day I met Maria (I feel a song coming on). Twitter suggested her to me and, when I looked at her work, I thought "Yes please" and that is what she said when I wrote to her asking if she would photograph me. She wanted to photograph me in my environment but I dissuaded her as I had had so many photographs taken in my house before. We chased each other over the next few weeks and eventually she asked me if I would like to shoot a photograph and a video at Four Corners Studio in East London where she had an art residency. "Please say yes" she said. I said "Yes".

This was another of those odd occasions when I came to a place where I had been shot before but from a different direction and, as I arrived, I thought "I have been here before" and I had when I was shot by Niccolo Fano and when I came to an exhibition curated by Clare Hewitt.

Now, my memory is not what it was. It used to be....oh I don't know.....better. And so, my recollection of the shoot is a little vague in so far as the concept behind the video is concerned but I don't think that really matters because the video hasn't been released yet and so perhaps it would be a shame to spoil the surprise. But suffice to say that we had fun. Maria is a serious person and she takes her work seriously but she has a quiet smile and when this appears it is like the sun peaking out from behind a cloud and you can't help smiling back. Once we had finished with shooting the video, Maria put the camera on a self-timer and we took these two stills - happy reminders of a happy shoot.

When I first wrote to Maria, I said ''Hello Maria, I came across your work today by chance through Twitter. I think it is incredibly interesting on so many levels but it is the connection with people that l like so much. Your love or interest in Humanity - it must be love, as the song goes............''

Have a look at her website and see for yourself. Go on, you'll be pleased you did.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

MAN IN STREAM NO.1 by Annette Habel


I guess that the offices of Saatchi are as far removed as can possibly be from the part of Devon where Annette and her family live but it was on the Saatchi site that I discovered Annette's work and what a discovery. Each section of her website reveals a person very much in tune with her fellow humans but also a person on a voyage of continual discovery. And she discovers because she has what seems to be an unquenchable desire to find out what makes the world, and the people in it, tick. So, when I received a positive reply to my request, it was very exciting. That was in November 2014 but, what with one thing and several others, I was not able to follow it up until May 2015 and I received Netti's reply. She told me that she and her family lived in an ancient woodland in Devon (about an hour's drive from Exeter) and that that was where she proposed to photograph me. She explained that the woods had not been touched for a long time and had a rather magical quality. This stretch of Devon featured in the work by James Ravilious who photographed it intensively and she suggested that we would walk in the woods and visit a number of locations.

We arranged a date in July for the shoot and Netti wrote to me in advance with more details. She said that she thought we would end up shooting both clothed and nude and she sent me some stills from Andrei Tarkovsky's film "Stalker" and recommended that I watch it. It is a film that has been recommended to me many times before but I just haven't got round to watching it. There was then a longish gap due to Netti coming down with a chest infection and so it was not until 3rd September that I stepped off the train at Exeter station to be met my Netti. Of course, we had an hour to chat on the way to her house which was in the middle of nowhere although oddly, there was another house within a few yards of hers. On the way, she told me the basic plot of Stalker which I shall not recount here in case, reader, you have not seen it. All I shall say is that there is a famous scene in the film where a man is lying in the middle of a stream and a dog runs up to him!

We arrived at the beautiful little cottage where she lived and, as I entered the kitchen, I was utterly bewitched. The lunch was cooking and a young woman  who was looking after Netti's two boys welcomed me with a friendly smile. Then I was introduced to the boys themselves, Ziggy (short for Siegfried) and Kurt, whose faces when they said hello were beautiful. I am sure that they are not always angelic but, for that brief moment, they looked like angels. We finished lunch fairly quickly and I changed into my suit and me, Netti and Alvin the dog  set off into the woods. After a while, Netti found a place where she wanted me to stand in the middle of a wigwam of branches which she built up around me. But the main location was next to a bend in the stream which ran through the woods. Here, she asked me to lie down next to the stream and in the stream itself. She asked me to call Alvin over to me which he was very pleased to do, licking my head and wagging his tail furiously in unison. Then I removed my clothes and we repeated these two poses with me naked. Netti had brought a flask of tea with her which was very welcome as the water in the stream, although not deep, was very cold.

Man in Stream No. 2

Eventually, we reached the end of the shoot and hurried back to the house as we were tight for time. The property was originally owned by the poet, Laurence Whistler, and Netti showed me where he had etched poems on some of the windows each of which described the view one could see from that particular window. I changed quickly so that we could set off for Exeter in good time. I said goodbye to the house and the two boys, their minder and also the indefatigable Alvin. If they could somehow harness the energy created by his tail, the family would never have to pay an electricity bill again.

I was tired but we talked a lot on the way to the station about mutual acquaintances and of her new life with the family in Devon after years of working in London. Her partner is the manager of a firm of architects in London and commutes up to town. The change of air and atmosphere and the different pace of life must be very strange but delightful. I caught the train and promptly fell asleep and dreamed of wandering naked in ancient woodland with only a mad dog for company but it wasn't a dream, was it? Or maybe it was. Did I really meet golden haired angels in a old house with a stone floor, with poems engraved on the windows and did I lie unclothed in a beautifully cold stream and drink tea and talk to a woman called Annette who I had never met before and who l may never see again? And did she photograph me and is that photograph shown here in all its exceptional glory, showing me lying there in a cradle of twigs and grass and leaves like a creature who lives and walks and runs through the trees and who will one day lie down and take his last breath as he looks up to a canopy of green and then slowly sink into the earth? Yes, yes, yes, yes!