My Favourite Window

April 6, 2011


Looking at Sam's Life as Art website this morning, set me thinking about portraits.  The photo of young Lionel in my last post is hardly a portrait, but family snapshot that it is, it is also the only photo we have of that enigmatic relative. The little boy is so like me at the same age, glower and all, that the poor photograph (possibly as a result of a jammed shutter in the camera) is now a treasure to me.  It tells me that we are truly connected.

Many of Sam's drawings and paintings, as well as capturing likeness and soul, have an old masters quality about them.  This feel comes through in photographic images he creates for friends too.  Here is a photograph Sam took of Elwin, to celebrate Elwin's 60th birthday. The sitting was a birthday secret and contrived between family and photographer to appear like a random dropping in of folk around afternoon tea-time, one week before his birth date.  Elwin, a little non-plussed maybe, posed for Sam's apparently spontaneous photo-shoot, fetching his handmade Tudor shirt and woollen gown to wear, and making room for his four daughters as Sam artfully drew them in to compose a series of lively and loving images.  Sam used a 35mm SLR, and my digital photograph of his framed film print is taken through glass.  
Sam has absolutely captured the man I loved in this image.

I used to work with my father developing, printing and enlarging photographs in our darkened kitchen.  I remember the thrill of anticipation as the images, rippling in the developing tray, grew on the paper.  Now at the touch of a key on my computer I can turn a blurred digital photo into a worthy memory. The coloured pencil effect in my Picture It programme seemed just the right touch to enhance this truimphant finale to my Shepherd's Hey jig, which Andy captured with my unfamiliar camera during Rosewood Morris Dancers' Foxton Fallabout.

And I framed him amongst the red hot cat tails and mother-in-law's tongues 
during a wander through 
the Wellington Botanic Gardens hothouse last month. Andy is a quiet talent and has an eye for form and atmosphere.  He also takes superb landscape and sky photos (he took the  Driftwood at Makara Beach photo).

From the formal to the hastily snatched all our photographs tell a story and those that we choose to keep, acquire with time, a sense of reverence for the secrets they hold and their glimpses into the past.

Red hot cat tails, Chenille plant  Acalypha hispida
Mother-in-law's tongue  Sansevieria trifasciata

No comments: