Last Monday night I staggered off the train in the dark and began the weary trudge home. It was rubbish collection day and my cane got tangled up in the first of the many hundreds of large black bins that were hulking over the pavement. I was vaguely aware of people impatiently pushing past me as it was rush hour. A scruffy man in jeans and some kind of huge jumper brushed past me as I hissed and swore at the second black recycling bin I had just put my foot into and walked quickly ahead..
And then there was a bang.
I looked up, startled, squinting ahead down the long road.
Again, ‘bang’!’ Bang!’ And then I saw that the scruffy man was bashing the black bins, smashing them off the pavement one by one as he walked past them…for me. He didn’t look back or slow down but just kept on solidly smashing the bins off the pavement. I watched him disappear into the night leaving just the sound of slightly dented black bins in the air and everything was suddenly possible as it had been when I was a child….good triumphing over evil, peace and magic and talking pigs, pixies, princes and love. The world shifted slightly and I felt like someone had just given me a huge hug.
Just thought I should share that with you.
Today I was a fashion photographer. (I know, I know, this from a woman who thinks £5 is a bit much for a t-shirt.) The creative and fashion directors of an exceptionally posh bi annual magazine had seen our exhibition, Beyond Sight, in December and had asked if a couple of the VI photographers would like to have a go shooting portraits for the editorial. Myself and M got the gig and nervously pitched up at the large studio in Holloway Road. It was so very cool that the band Fightstar were making their music video on the same lot. (I thought the guy said ‘FIVE Star, the teenage phenomenon of the 80’s and got very excited…sadly I’ve never heard of Fightstar. How cool am I!)
The space was ideal and we had a large spot light and two remarkably beautiful and gangly models to work with; a teenage chap who looked like a cross between Rupert Everett and Morrissey and a young woman who looked like a child when she smiled and serious supermodel when she pouted. We were using our own little digital cameras. M, whose sight is limited to about a metre but who has great creative energy and loves finding the shapes and the textures quickly got snapping and I floundered a little before following his example and just getting on with it. With the huge bright light and the endless shadows cast by the models cheekbones I was able to compose and frame more easily then in more subdued light. I am still worried about the focus but it will be easier for someone else to check accurately. (I can’t quite see the sharpness of the photos even blown on this computer.)
Everyone was supportive and incredibly encouraging, the stylists, make up, hair dressers and the two directors. G, who had run the original workshop was there calmly pulling the lights for us and giving us hints about angles and ideas.
No one seemed to give a hoot that M and I were VI. I was surprised expecting some resistance or disapproval from the pros but there was none. They all just let us get on with it! Not one person tutted in my vicinity. I sat on the train home thinking ‘holy shit, did I just do a fashion shoot?’ I looked at the other commuters and wondered if I should tell them…You will be pleased to know I did not.