Friday, 27 November 2015

JAB by Wendy-Lee Warne

JAB by Wendy-Lee Warne

If I could remember how I came across Wendy's work, I would tell you but I can't, so I won't. However, looking back, I do recall being intrigued by her project "A Woman's Fate" which is a series of photographs which explores female identity through her own experience of growing up as a girl in a traditional chinese family in Singapore. It is a wonderful set of images and includes some old family photographs mixed with later staged self-portraits and it caused me to think on my own family and the heavy influence which my mother (widowed at the age of 34) had on the early lives of my three sisters. One would think that a mother as a single parent would be more understanding of her daughters' needs when they were growing up but it was my brother and I who were cut a great deal of slack and our sisters who were watched closely and dealt with harshly if they stepped out of line. 

I took only a few months of email correspondence to arrange a time for me to meet Wendy for the shoot at one of the studios at the London College of Communication in November 2015. She was with her friend and fellow student, Camille Valbusa, who assisted her with a large format camera. we started off with some clothed portraits but ended up with me naked and trying some fun shots of which this was one.

It is beautifully lit and direct. It is a fiction in that I have never boxed in my life although I do remember that my brother and I owned some worn leather boxing gloves when we were little. I can remember the feeling of putting them on and not being able to pick anything up but I don't remember using them to actually hit a punch bag or a person - maybe the odd cushion perhaps. Since then, I have fought a few battles and so, in that respect, the photograph represents the fighting side of my character . The shoot felt very easy and relaxed and that was due to some extent to Wendy's very tranquil way she went about her work and the fact that we had met briefly at the Portrait Salon exhibition a few weeks before. She is a lovely person with a beautiful smile and an excellent photographer as you can see. If you don't agree, I suppose that I could always punch you in the face but, fortunately for all of us, that won't be necessary.


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