Some interesting developments since the Eccentric of the Year Awards on the 1st - suddenly I find myself being ‘In Demand’: in the coming months I’ve been approached for two stills photo-shoots, a couple of film-makers who want to interview me + a personal appearance at an art Exhibition opening later nest week. I shall no doubt blog about them as they arise.
It’s all rather odd - again, since I’ve never considered myself to be an eccentric; I just live my life the way I live it and don’t care about others’ opinions. It does make me wonder if ‘Eccentricity’ has suddenly become flavour-of-the-month. I don’t mind, as long as they don’t approach things like (or try to turn me into) some kind of Victorian freak show.
The first photo-shoot was last Thursday (12th) at Rochester, near Chatham in Kent. A Norwegian student at the University College for the Creative Arts [I remember when it used to be called the West Surrey College of Art and Design at Farnham], Niko Lindgren, is putting together his portfolio: Black & White portraits of Historical Re-enactors and using one of the old plate-photos cameras.
It all went very smoothly. Niko met me at Chatham station (there’s an element of the dandy about him, so we recognised each other instantly) and we walked up the hill to the nearby College. Inside the large studio we started going through what items he wanted me to wear - I brought along a choice of various items: frock coats, waistcoats, stiff collar styles, cravats and pins, monocles/pince-nez, that sort of thing.
Various items selected, he just set about snapping away (me against a white background) for about an hour, with a change of outfit mid-way. After each shot he pulled out another completed plate (later I saw the size of the negatives, each one was about 4” x 3”, very high-resolution I suspect).
There was a general feeling of mutual respect between Niko and myself. He said that if Norway had its own group of Victorian Re-enactors he would join them, but sadly they don’t. I told him “well maybe you should start one”.
I must admit, I had initially approached the session with just a little apprehension as Niko had asked me to also “bring along something modern” to be photographed with “as an experiment”. I decided on a mobile phone, reasoning that the Victorians - being at the then cutting-edge of industrial development, might have so easily invented the cellphone, or even the internet, given time.
In fact, out of the whole 20-or-so shots in the session, only three of them featured the phone. Indeed, the whole experience was remarkably relaxed and over all too soon. Afterwards, we wandered through the cobbled streets of Rochester looking for a coffee and at the antiques shops. Niko has his eye on a vintage manual typewriter in the window of a local charity shop.
What caught my eye, dominating the window of one antiques shop was a glorious vintage Sousaphone in beautiful condition, beaming gold in its magnificence. It had no price on it, but at least it did Not have a ‘Not for Sale’ tag attached. I Must contact Jana of the BHS (Bratislava Hot Serenaders) and see if one of her band might be interested in it.
The first results of the photo-shoot may not be ready for a few weeks yet (half-term); also, in order to transfer these huge analogue negatives into some kind of digitised format for computer transfer, Niko will have to use a high-resolution machine which, thankfully, the University has.
I still want a set of prints on photographic paper for myself, though! So let's see how things develop (Ha! - photographer's joke, there).
Have to go now, Gossip Girl is just starting - xoxo