|DALSTON by Francesca Tosarelli|
I saw a stunning set of photographs in the Sunday Times magazine about female fighters in the Congo and I thought they were so good that I had no hesitation in writing to the photographer, Francesca Tosarelli, asking if she would photograph me although I thought it was unlikely if she was based abroad. As it was, although she was based in Bologna, she had decided to come to England in March 2014. We arranged to meet during this period. I was very excited as she was a documentary photographer and I was intrigued by how she would approach this task. She wrote to me in advance of the day of the shoot saying that what she did was basically photojournalism, that she was not an artist, that she worked with daylight and that she was thinking of creating a very natural portrait possibly in black and white in the metropolitan Dalston environment. And that is basically what she did but there was one thing that was not correct - "I am not an artist" she had said. How can you produce a portrait like this and say that you are not an artist?
Anyway, we met at "to the jungle" cafe in Dalston. I had never been there before but it had a really nice atmosphere and the guy serving me was very nice and friendly. Small things like this help so much to set up my day and make my life the wonder it is. It is like licking an ice cream that one never gets sick of. Each lick takes me to different level of warm ecstasy and yet it is only an ice cream. We strolled around the market in Dalston and she clicked away and, unusually, I didn't feel as embarrassed as I normally do when I am being photographed in public I think because, being a photojournalist, she made me feel relaxed and cool as she took the pictures. We ended up in front of a shutter and Francesca liked my shadow on this and produced another great photograph but, in the end, I went for the 'reflective' one.
I cannot remember my first impression of Francesca but it doesn't matter because we had such a pleasant afternoon and we were good friends by the time the shoot was over. Francesca was keen to get a picture of both of us together and so she asked a passer by to take this one
Francesca and I
So, there we are - my afternoon with Francesca Tosarelli - a thoroughly nice woman, a great photographer, my new friend and.....an artist.