|SACRIFICE by Ameena Rojee|
.......and then Ameena and I moved to the other end of the crypt to the small chapel lit by the beautiful dappled light pouring through the stained glass window. Ameena asked me to stop at the entrance with the black cloth wrapped around me and I stood there like Jennifer Jones in the film Salome, although Jennifer Jones never appeared in Salome but, if she had......
I cannot recall who decided that I should lie on the ground in front of the altar but I do know that we were of one mind in this respect. Ameena arranged the cloth about me and I waited. She asked me to move a little to the left - click - and then to the right - click. Silence for a while as Ameena looked at what she had taken. "Close your eyes" - click - "Open them" - click - "Look up" - click. More silence as I heard her move the dials back and forth (I have never ceased to love hearing that noise). "Can you move your right arm behind you?" I do the best I can - click - "Leave the other hand where it is - it looks great" -click - "Right leg up and left leg straight" - click - "Now your legs the other way round". As I lie there waiting for the next click or direction, I begin to feel cold and my mind wanders ahead to handing the keys in at the vicarage opposite. I wonder how the photographs will look - it feels right being naked in this place; there is a curious innocence about it. And why not? Why should the naked body automatically suggest otherwise? It is a difficult subject - there are as many arguments as there are people discussing them.
It was getting late and we had done all we could and Ameena called a halt. We both felt completely satisfied. We had done this place justice. I was shivering as I pulled on my underpants and Ameena started to pack things away. I suggested to her that we took a picture of both of us on the timer, maybe under the cloth facing each other. She set the camera up on the tripod as I stood waiting with half the cloth over me and then she dashed forward and we both laughed as she disappeared under the other half just in time. We tried two more and that was it.
We packed everything away and re-instated what we had moved and then blinked as we stepped outside into the welcome warmth of the sun. We chatted briefly to Henry the vicar and handed the keys back to him. We were both in need of a little smackerel of something so we stopped at an expensive looking cafe/restaurant at the edge of the canal and had a snack and a drink and talked about the day and Ameena's forthcoming road trip across the States. She said that she would have time to send me some photographs before her departure and so she did. And they did not disappoint. There were so many good images that I began to look at them in two sections and realised that I would have to chose one from each.
This was my and Ameena's choice from the chapel. The kaleidoscope of light on my body and on the tiled floor together with the beautiful gold of the reredos, the white altar cloth embroidered in crimson and the green and gold twists of the column at the side combine to create a picture of such richness. Ameena described it as decadent and there is a wanton feel to it but I remembered how I felt as I lay there and so.....oh I don't know, maybe it is decadent now I look at it. Either way, it is a gorgeous image of light and colour and that hand........