Wednesday, 4 March 2015

A PINTOF BEER by Kathy Archbold

A PINT OF BEER by Kathy Archbold

If I go into a pub for a drink, I have to order a pint of beer. Not a half pint, not a glass of wine or a soft drink but a PINT of BEER. There are some great London pubs and this was a nice one on Vauxhall Bridge Road in Victoria but I regret that I cannot recall its name. If I do remember or if I come across the pub again, I shall amend this post. 

I saw Kathy's work on Flickr in 2011 and I wrote to her and she agreed to photograph me but, at the time, we were right in the middle of moving to Brighton and so the email correspondence got buried under all the stuff that surrounds a move. But I saw some of her work again in early 2014 and I was reminded of her talent. She has an eye for people and places, a more colourful and optimistic celebration of today's Britain than that displayed by more celebrated photographers (I can think of one in particular) but maybe that has something to do with her own tendency to look for what is good and bright and hopeful in our world rather than for what is coarse, depressing and dull. Both attitudes are valid but I know which one I prefer. Kathy and I met outside WH Smiths on Victoria Station and went round the corner for a coffee where we chatted and got to know each other. She told me about her celebrity cat who paid for his keep with his pictures on Getty Images. She told me about how she got into photography in the first place and her subsequent career which took her to New York for a while. Now and again, she raised one of her cameras (she had both a film camera and a digital version) and clicked.  She asked me to stand by a glass partition. I didn't really feel I was posing which was fortunate because often I am uncomfortable when I am photographed in public. 
The Glass Partition shot

We then left the station concours and wandered down towards the river and stopped at various places on the way where Kathy took photographs of me in front of buildings which she would have photographed anyway, if I had not been there. By  now, it was getting a bit chilly and so we ducked into the nearest pub after a couple more shots and thereby abandoned our trip to the Thames. We both had a drink and this is where this shot was taken. What do I like about this shot? Well, I have my pint of beer. I am smiling. I like the red leather of the armchair next to me contrasting with the blues and the browns. My left hand is hovering at the edge of the table, ready to pick up the glass. I like the light coming in through the window but most of all I like the photograph because it reminds me of Kathy who was a real pleasure to meet and spend time with. She illuminates ordinary things and makes the world a better place in the process. No one else other than Kathy could have taken this picture because no one else apart from Kathy would have elicited such an expression on my face.

She sent me about five shots afterwards - she wasn't entirely sure about the shot in front of the glass partition on the station because of her doubts as to the layering and maybe because of this uncertainty on her part, I didn't choose it but looking at it again, it is an excellent shot. Kathy was particularly taken by the woman in the red coat behind me who, due to the layering, appears twice.

Well, there we are -  Kathy Archbold. Good isn't she?


  1. Splendid photos.

    Er... ever thought of being drawn? :-)
    20 minutes tops, in conversation, and you don't have to stay still...