|CHAINS by Paulina Otylie Surys|
So why do I love this picture so much? It is unique - no other picture in "Over the Hill" has this tone which is so redolent of her work. Beautiful light and shade and body (and I don't mean mine) and the uncanny mixture of humour and gravity in the use of the chains and the leather straps. Am I into bondage? Or am I trying to control my tremor? or both??
In January 2012, I was flicking through Flickr and screeched to a halt at Paulina's photostream. Her work was stunning. I wasted no time in writing to her asking if she might consider taking my photograph. She replied very enthusiastically and, after some correspondence by email, I accepted her invitation to be part of her shoot replicating "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by Hieronymus Bosch as a commission for the British Journal of Photography. I had never taken part in a professional group shoot before and it turned out to be great fun. The shoot took place in a wonderfully atmospheric crypt of a church in London. The models were a little cool with me at first but that was probably because I was a chatty amateur on their patch but Paulina was a darling and handled the whole thing brilliantly and the models warmed up gradually and I think everyone enjoyed the day. Halfway through the afternoon, Paulina quietly took me off into a chapel and took this shot and some others which was so kind because the pressure was on to finish her main shoot and she wasn't feeling well.
Paulina sent the group shots quite quickly and they looked amazing but, as I say, the individual shot of me took a while longer but I kind of like that. I felt very moved when it arrived and very grateful. What a lucky guy I am to have worked with Paulina, not only a supreme artist but also a lovely person with a beautiful smile.