Saturday, 1 September 2012

"菰野とバルーンと裸" ("Naked with Kimono and Balloon") by Poppy French

"菰野とバルーンと裸" ("Naked with Kimono and Balloon")  by Poppy French

Bloody Hell - this was fun! 

Poppy became a follower on my Blog and I looked her up on the internet and discovered that she was a very good photographer so I wrote to her and she answered very quickly saying yes to my request that she photograph me. I met her in Haslemere (where incidentally, dear readers, I started my career as a fully qualified solicitor after completing my training in Chichester) and we got on very well and talked about her grandparents' house as a location for the shoot and some other ideas. Initially, she mentioned that, quite often, she liked to photograph people (and herself) as fine art paintings, creating a small scene out of bits and pieces and then doing a bit of Photoshop. Then she suggested that it would be great if I could think of a favourite painting or someone in History whom I have aspired to be. We talked a bit about this but in the end, it got put to one side. We corresponded over quite some time during which she told me that she was doing a lot with her friend, James Barnett, a keen set designer and they would both like to be involved in the shoot and that they had quite a lot of set pieces which they were quite keen to use.

And on to the shoot itself which took place in and around James' parents house in Godalming. In fact, another legal connection - a solicitor with whom I had many, many dealings over 29 years in both Haslemere and Grayshott, lived in the same road. This was the man who came to our house in Milford once, to collect his daughter (a school friend of my own daughter) and, as he left, looked at the brass door knocker on our front door and said, "You know what you need to do with that Tim? Work on it with some wire wool" Bloody nerve! And then a few years ago after l had retired I met him in Waitrose in Godalming and said, "Hello, David, How are you?" and he said "I'm sorry and who are you?" Maybe he's a bit senile now or maybe it's because he never looks you in the eye. Anyway, I digress - back to this shoot.......

A few days before the shoot, I asked Poppy what she wanted me to wear. She asked for a number of jackets and an assortment of T shirts, ordinary shirts, trousers and shoes but I really needn't have bothered because I arrived at about 12 noon, stripped off and put on the kimono but apart from that, I was starkers for the rest of the day part from the odd see-through cape, a balloon and a ruff. James was a real hoot and he and Poppy are real soul mates and I tuned in to their way of doing things right from the start. We started off with the kimono, as I said, in a sort of Japanese garden area but eventually this was discarded and I posed naked in other areas of the garden before we strolled off to a nearby field with a helium filled balloon to play with. More nude shots but some clothed too. James was helping the direction of the shoot but also filmed part of it. 

And all the while, we laughed and chatted and chatted and laughed and then laughed some more. We were like little kids meeting up for a day when we could play whatever games we liked. It was such a relaxing day with many little highlights and just great, great fun. I chose this clothed shot as Poppy's contribution to my project. Basically, it is such a good photograph - the colour, the directness, the questions without answers. The whole experience was wonderfully bizarre and bizarrely weird in a very innocent, unashamed way. The sort of day that one wants to repeat very often. And we finished in time for "Doctor Who".

Thank you Poppy and James - for EVERYthing! Here's to the next time. 

Poppy and James

TWITTER: @poppyfrench

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