|DANGER MAN by Blake Lewis|
On 12th September 2015, I went to the Unitarian Church in Brighton to be photographed by Sean Hawkey and found myself caught up in MiniClick's 5th Birthday celebrations of which I had been notified but had forgotten about. I was sitting and listening to one of the photographers who had been invited to speak about their work when the lovely Melissa Campbell tapped me on the shoulder and said hello. I left the party early because I had to get home but, on my way out, I saw Melissa again and it was then that she introduced me to Blake Lewis, explaining that he was also a photographer. We all had a nice chat including a short discussion about Western Films - quite how we got on to that subject I don't know but it is one I love to talk to people about. I got back home and looked up Blake's work and, well, wow! I was immediately captivated by his Opaque Photography experiments which were full of verve, glorious shapes and colour. So, I lost no time in writing to him asking if he might be interested in photographing me even if I was just a splodge.
Well, here we are - me in a splodge and I love it. Blake and I agreed to meet at St Bartholomew's church off the London Road in Brighton but, as I arrived early and the church was open, I decided to spend a few minutes wandering around the building which I had never seen before. I was stunned - not only was it vast but it was beautiful and vast. The greyish brown brickwork stretching up to the rafters provided a wonderful backdrop to the statues and icons the beauty of which was enhanced by expertly placed lamps. However, just in front of the altar rail there was a glorious pool of soft ivory light the tone of which was completely different from the artificial lights. I walked down the centre aisle and stood in the pool, turned and looked up. Sunlight was pouring through a large circular stained glass window above the entrance door. A steward later told me that this window faced south and at noon on a clear day, the sun created this incredible glow. As I stood there, I felt a glow within me and infuse me with a determination to press on and continue to fill my days with experiences like this. I stood there for a few minutes looking up to the window in wonder and then I made my way out and, as I stepped into the daylight, Blake appeared before me grinning a grin.
We walked to the car park where he had decided to photograph me and we talked on the way about this and that and I found him to be a very convivial and interesting companion for the next half an hour or so. The shoot was over pretty quickly and I caught the bus back home thoroughly satisfied with my day's exploits.
I received this shot and, as I say, I loved it. Blake has placed me in the midst of colour and light. I am an interloper, maybe an observer of what photography is capable of producing. In this sense, it is almost my most complete photograph - it combines two completely different fields of photographic art - the figurative portrait, the depiction of me and the more abstract forms of opaque photography which interest and inspire Blake so much. And yet, are they so different? Are we not made up of splodges and atoms and shapes and colours and liquids? I have never been a scientist and so I would not know but I feel that is where I want to be heading in this project - towards the discovery of what we truly see when we look at ourselves and the world about us. There is a path linking the shapes of my body in the images by LIz Orton, the movement of my body in Karen Knorr's film captured in the still image she took to the colours and lines and structures of the trees in the photographs by Al Brydon and Rob Hudson and to this depiction of me in a mass of shapes and lines created by the collision of particles of light and energy. It will take a better interpreter of photographic art than me to explain this fully but this is my modest take on the whole thing.