Thursday, 2 June 2016

WHO ARE YOU? by Denise Myers

WHO ARE YOU? by Denise Myers

Yes, who the bloody hell do you think you are? Waltzing about the UK (or should it be K?) being photographed by all and sundry? Then blathering on about it on your blog, Over the Hill this and Over the Hill that and it all started by accident - so bloody what if it did? Who cares? Hang on, let's listen for the answer....., nothing.

So what have you got to say for yourself?? Eh? Come on, Mr Blogitall, answer that!

Who am I? I am Tim Andrews and I don't see why I have to answer but I will. I am expressing myself in the only way I know how. I am laying myself open to ridicule and censure particularly when I remove my clothes but you ask 'Who cares?'. I do. I have spent a long time being the person other people want me to be and I was happy doing that and, indeed, I still am happy doing that. But when I step in front of the camera, I am completely myself and I feel extraordinarily lucky to have been able to do that - that is what I care about.

So. What is the answer? The answer to the question - who are you? I am all the people who one sees photographed in this project. I am not acting. I am each of those people. But what if the question is asked of the photographer? I suggested this title to Denise and this was her response.....

"Go for it...  It's sort of apt as part of the shoot was getting to know each other a bit better.  As someone who came to you saying, 'But I haven't done any portraiture for a long time' the 'Who are you?' about myself seems about right.  Teacher masquerading as photographer? Conceptual landscape photographer winging it as a portrait photographer?...........You have shown so many different aspects of yourself throughout the 'Over the Hill' project...  Which aspects are real, which are constructed or improvised as a result of the situation with the photographer and the location? Who are you?  Who do you want to be at this moment?.............The title is playful in itself.  Go for it." 

I was introduced to Denise's work through Twitter although she had previously submitted a selfie as part of the Selfie for Stu get well soon thingy for Stuart Pilkington. I wrote to her in November 2015 asking her to photograph me and, she responded immediately saying that she would even though she had not done any portraiture for some time. However, as she was working as a full-time teacher, it would have to wait until the Easter holidays. Suddenly, Easter had come and gone and I had made the decision to bring my project to an end so we both scrabbled around looking for dates and eventually decided to do a shoot in Finchley where I was born but then the final shoot was delayed so we thought again because the Finchley shoot was going to be squeezed in after another. We decided to do ourselves a favour and meet at Polesden Lacey in Surrey. She had wanted us to shoot in a place which had connections - we used to take the children to Polesden Lacey a lot when they were little (they are big now) and so it was perfect and did not entail either of us having to slog up to town. 

Well, we had a lovely fun time on the day as these photographs show. It was a bit chilly and we had a hot drink to start off with. Then we wandered round and mucked about and talked and then mucked about a little more. We finished off with another hot drink and a quick visit to our respective lavatories and that was it. It was a special day with Denise because there was no pressure to achieve a particular shot. The images came from our connection with each other, naturally and easily, and as for the photographs, well, they worked really well. 

The reason I chose the one I did was because it is dynamic, it questions and there is an element of play acting which I have always done and it is laced with fun. There are not many people whom one could meet for the first time and have such an enjoyable time and Denise is one of them and here are the photographs to prove it. But when she took her photographs, Denise was being serious and that is why her work is seriously good and that is why I contacted her in the first place. 

Who are you? 

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