|INTIMACY by Agatha Nitecka|
Agatha was about three feet away from me when this was taken and so it could hardly have been a more intimate space. We had talked quite a bit before she began shooting (on film) but I think I surprised her (and myself) by how quickly I locked on to the lens in her camera. This could even be the very first shot. It is all in the eyes. The right eye is slightly impassive whilst the left eye is definitely smiling. Afterwards, Agatha said that this photograph seemed to represent the session best and it had the right balance in that it contained something of both of us. She loved the silver tones as well. In fact, everything was grey and silver that day. Horace, Agatha's pet whippet, who lay in the corner seemingly ignoring us, has a beautiful smooth and svelte grey coat. The sky was grey when I arrived in the small estate in South London where Agatha has her studio and the rain fell hard like silver shards being shot from a cannon above. Agatha came running out to welcome me and usher me into the dry. The room where Agatha had set up a back drop was clean and ordered and there were photographs dotted about and all was white with shadows of grey. Agatha's grey was warm and inclusive.
I came across Agatha's work in 2012 and she responded positively to my email but her reply then disappeared into the black hole of forgotten emails for another four years. However, happily this exchange of correspondence meant that my name found its way on to her mailing list and, consequently, I received an email from her in April 2016 promoting her work with silver and I discovered my failure to have answered her last message. I looked at her incredible work again and wrote apologising, begging for forgiveness and another chance. She sent me a delightful reply waving away all my grovelling expressions of remorse and within a few days we had set a date for the shoot.
I looked again at her work and, in particular, the section headed "Fragments" on her website which contains a series of photographs exploring the intimate and how it is shared. It is based loosely on Roland Barthes' "A Lover's Discourse, Fragments" and she quotes a short excerpt which I shall not repeat her because I want you to read it on her site and then look at her work and understand why I wanted her to photograph me.
Agatha said that magic would happen and it did but that did not surprise me. I could tell from the way she spoke and the gentleness of her writing that she would conjure up a trail of exploration, discovery and experience and that three feet would seem more like three inches. She asked me to look in different directions and I followed her hand as she did so. She took 36 shots and asked me to wear my white shirt, my black T shirt, no shirt and a white T shirt. The roll of film was used up. It had stopped raining. I put on my coat, said goodbye to Horace and I was glad when Agatha said she would walk to the station with me. I felt that I needed to unwind with her on the way back to the train. I told her of my previous shoot in the area with Lucasz (aka Lucas Lockie). It was so long ago (was it just dream?). We stopped outside the barrier and said goodbye. I watched her walk away without looking back. She didn't walk fast but then, she didn't walk slow.