Monday, 11 January 2016



As I wandered around the Portrait Salon exhibition, I thought to myself, "I am just going to enjoy this evening and not go searching for photographers" - I failed miserably, because I saw a haunting photograph by Kasia Wozniak. Even then, I did not write down her name but, when I got back to the ranch, I looked at the Portrait Salon site and there it was again, beckoning to me. So, I looked at Kasia's website and Kapow! as they say in cowboy language. It was like the Treasure of the Sierra Madre, full of wonderful jewels that I felt I could bathe in and let fall through my fingers.  I did the only decent thing - I wrote to her asking if she might photograph me. By the way, right from early on in the project and throughout, I have never, ever lost the excitement of finding some wonderful work on the internet and then writing to the photographer concerned and waiting for the reply. And in this case, the reply was positive as Kasia wrote saying that she would certainly like to photograph me at her studio close to Elephant & Castle. 

We met her at her studio and immediately, we hit it off. Kasia used the wet plate collodion method which I had experienced twice before but what surprised me was how neat it all was. Kasia was dressed in a skirt with an apron on top and gloves and I loved the way she retreated into another room with each plate and then returned to stack them carefully on a shelf. It was so tidy and, well, gentle as if they were ancient biblical scripts that should be handled with the utmost care. It was fascinating to watch and, all the time, we chatted of this that and the other. It was simply the most lovely time. It was cold as I made my way back to the tube station and thought how privileged I am to to have met and worked with such nice people as Kasia. 

The Winter gradually turned into Spring and, on a warm day in May, I was in the middle of a shoot when a call came through on my mobile. The reception wasn't brilliant but I was expecting a call from a particular photographer and I assumed it was her and arranged to meet her at London Bridge on my way home. Then I began to have doubts that I had heard her name correctly and guessed that it could have been someone else. So I got to London Bridge not knowing which of the two people I was going to meet and suddenly a beautiful, smiling face appeared - it wasn't either of them! It was Kasia. Even then, I had to blink because she was dressed much less formally (in T shirt and jeans) than she had been in our shoot. We then each had a glass of Pimms in the sunshine and picked up where we had left off some four months previously and it was then that she showed me the photographs that she had taken. The screen on her phone was cracked but I could see enough to know that they were good, very good indeed. She explained that the nude shot had not worked out satisfactorily but she preferred, as I did, the composite image. My expression appears to say everything and yet gives nothing away. It has movement and a depth accentuated by the second image hovering on my shoulder.

Kasia Wozniak, the neatly dressed, efficient practitioner has produced a rough, splodgy image full of thought, emotion and substance. It takes its place proudly amongst the superb images created in this project. As I write this, my thoughts travel to the moment I saw her picture at Portrait Salon and then on to the next day when I looked at her website and finally my eyes rest on her photograph of me. Kapow! 

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