Monday, 25 April 2016



I closed my eyes. "You look beautiful" said Alice. I thanked her and thought what a lovely thing for someone to say. The camera clicked twice and then silence. That was it, the end of the shoot. I opened my eyes and we both smiled. Alice said that these were her first nude photographs. I felt proud. I felt happy. I wondered what 'beautiful' meant. When I received the photograph, I knew. The body is a beautiful thing, whatever shape, colour, condition or size. As I lay on that bed, in the basement below those windows, I did not think that. Nor did I think that I was beautiful when Alice said that I was. I just thought it was a very nice thing for her to say. But then, Alice is a very nice person. Gentle, quietly keen, interested and interesting.

When she arrived at the door with her philosopher friend, Paul, I was meeting her for the first time. Alice had been invited to partake in Critical Voices 2016 and so I looked at her work online and thought, mm, yes, I think so. I wrote and told her I thought so in the words of my standard email, the contents of which have hardly changed since I sent the first in 2008. She responded positively and, eventually, we agreed a date for the shoot in Brighton. When I looked at her website, I was taken particularly by the photographs in her "Dark" series. In many of these, there were no people but they had been there and I do find it very interesting when I see work like this which asks questions. Who was there? What were they doing and why? The photographer takes you only so far and then trusts you to make up your own mind. To create your own story.

So, with "Dark" in mind, Alice looked around the house for suitable places to photograph me but, as is often the case, the photographer is guided away from the original idea and it ends up differently; it ends up looking like this. Of course, there is no whitewater rapid in our basement (unless we have a damp problem far worse than we thought), it is in Coed y Brenin in North Wales but I do love the sound of water. I love its energy. And I have been placed above it, stretched out on a patchwork quilt of trees and rock listening to the water rushing by below me. Or maybe I am oblivious to it.

What I do know is that Alice has created a beautiful image using elements, fragments of light and energy and wrapped it all up into an image shaped like a beating heart. Is it not beautiful? Or am I dreaming?  

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