Thursday, 1 May 2014


When this photograph was taken, I was really bad Parkinson's-wise. It was less than three weeks before my Deep Brain Stimulation surgery and I had just begun to reduce some of my medication in readiness for the operation. BUT - there is no way you can tell from looking at this picture. 

I came across the delightful Jo through Twitter - I think Twitter suggested her as a contact on the basis that she was similar to other contacts i.e. a photographer. So clever. Anyway, I wrote to her in March 2013 and she replied saying that she had heard of me already through Luca Sage and that she felt very flattered and slightly overawed at being involved in such an amazing body of work. It is an amazing body of work but Jo was a worthy participant in my view because I really admired her work and I told her so. What with one thing and another, we didn't meet for ages but eventually, she came round to my place and we had a good chat about her ideas and almost inevitably, I subjected her to a showing of my silly films. Even then, it took a few more months before we had our first shoot, in the woods, although the coloured powder which she had brought with her did not really feature. However, we also planned a studio shoot and this is where this image came from. Jo had an idea to photograph me on a chair with flowers strewn around but, as I say, I was not feeling very good that day and therefore not totally relaxed although I found Jo extremely easy to work with. There were a few shots left on the film and we decided to put me on the floor and immediately I felt better. Often, at home, when I felt bad, I would struggle to the floor and just stretch out and allow my illness and my tremors etc to sink into the floor. As a consequence of relaxing more, I had more energy to put into the pose itself. 

I LOVE this picture. It is so romantic. I look normal whereas I certainly did not feel normal. I really feel that of all the pictures I have had taken this is the one of which I am most proud because we got there even though there was so much working against us. Jo is a perfectionist and I know that she had her doubts about the results of this shoot but, as far as I am concerned, it works splendidly.

I am not going to put up any other images from the shoots because I don't need to - this says it all. It says I met Jo, she met me, we connected, we communicated, we tried our best and then, with the help of a little bit of magic, we got this. I don't really believe in God any more although I was brought up to but I do feel that there is a special magical entity somewhere in the ether, in the sky, in our brains, in our spirit which we can draw upon like water from a well and it brings succour in our hour of need and makes things feel better when, but for a few notches the other way on the dial, they could feel worse.

After the shoot, I got dressed, walked unsteadily across the road and stood waiting for the bus trying to look and feel normal. I plugged my earphones into my ears and pressed play on my ipod shuffle. I got my bus pass ready and hailed the bus and sat down in a disabled seat and, as I looked out of the window, John Lennon began to sing "Stand By Me" in the way only he can...

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light I see
No, I won't be afraid
Oh, I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

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