|A BROKEN MAN TOO TOUGH TO CRY by Daniel Regan|
So there I am in Daniel's flat and he puts some music on. It is Max Richter's "The Blue Notebooks". He hands me his phone and shows me some of the most beautiful still lives I have ever seen. Most of them, if not all, are of dying flowers and they are all Black & White. There is one particular shot, that of a closed rose on a long stalk. It is breathtaking in its simplicity and starkness. The head is strong and erect but it is dying. It is a beautiful image.
Daniel sets up various lights - he has either planned it all carefully or he knows exactly what is likely to work - bit of both I guess. He asks me to sit on a stool facing the window. He is clear in his direction and he considers his shots carefully. I like that. My head isn't straight and continues to fall away which it has done more since my operation but Daniel is patient and helps me but does not indulge me. I like that too. In the meantime, we talk about music not in a general sense but specifically Max Richter's "Sleep" which he says he puts on during the day and finds himself getting drowsy. It is a gentle backdrop to the sounds of our voices, the padding steps of his cat and the clicks of the shutter.
At one point I enquire whether he might photograph me as he does his flowers or even with the flowers, He thinks about the first suggestion but immediately rejects the second. The music winds around all these thoughts and words as we talk about out our respective mothers, his partner Chris, my children, Jane, sadness, racism and homophobia but not necessarily in that order. We bounce easily from one subject to another with humour and seriousness. I begin to realise that this is one of the very good shoots. The lights are changed as is the backdrop, the lenses and my position. By now my shirt and T shirt have been discarded and this photograph is taken. What went through Daniels' mind as he composed this shot? When he saw the hollow in my neck below my right ear what did he feel? When the light glowed on my skin did he smile and think to himself, Tim is going to be knocked out by this? I remember turning to face the side. I remember closing my eyes and being asked to change the position of my left hand under my chin and in particular to close my little finger against the others. All I had to do was sit there and do what I was told but how many lessons, tutorials and seminars attended, how much sincere advice received, how much beauty seen, music heard, words read, people encountered, thoughts thought, kisses received, laughing and crying had been experienced by Daniel's mind and senses to enable him to take such a picture? I shall never know what went into the production of this image. All I know was how I felt when I saw it. Ecstatic. Sleepy. Pleasure. Contentment. Confused.
The others I received, some of which I have shown below were also wonderful images of the highest class. No surprise there as I have now been photographed by a photographer of the highest class - Daniel Regan.