Making Friends in the Age of Stupid.
I watched David Attenborugh’s ‘Climate Change The Facts' programme last night. It was both Shocking an amazing and left you with the feeling that we all need to do more, a lot more, and to act now. Even more shocking was the glimpse into the future in the programme that followed it on BBC 4 "The Age of Stupid' with Pete Postlethwaite. It’s compulsive viewing, very powerful the the content does make you feeling very small and little helpless. Our recycling bin is looking healthy, our rubbish bin is shrinking, but our contribution to reversing Global Warming feels tiny compared to the Increase in Fossil fuel production in certain countries, not to mention the expansion of our local Airport on our doorstep . I hope the government are watching, I hope they take notice.
Back to my Mr Attenborough though (sorry, huge jump here but bear with me. I photographed him a few years in a run up to some king of BBC Anniversary and met him in a BBC house in St Andrews, just off the Gloucester Road in Bristol. He is of course a legend and luckily the job came in fairly late in the day, so I didn't have time to get nervous or worried. He was friendly and warm but seemed to be in work mode, i.e. he didn't seem to have time for idle chat. I was probably on his list of things to do that day and he seemed keen to get the job done and the box ticked ( my box has been ticked many times so to speak ) So I had my 10 mins with him, he was very professional, gave me what I wanted and sent me on my way.
This is in contrast to most of the commercial Portraits that I have to take. Although more often than not I only get a very limited amount of time with the people that I photograph, I always do my best to learn something about them before I point my camera in their direction. I've shot day long portrait sessions where I've photographed more that 50 individuals one after the other, and connecting with and capturing that many people can be exhausting. But generally I'm having a great time (as long as my lighting is behaving itself). I'm making new friends and I always come away with a spring in my step.
Yesterday for instance I had to take 10 portraits during a lunchtime period and in the brief time I had met some really nice people. In that time I learnt that Alan's father served in the Navy which meant that he had no real place that he could call home. I told him that my family hadn't left St George in Bristol for around 200 hundred years. We had a good laugh about that. His father served on a Warship in the Falklands campaign in 1982 and was inches from getting hit by an exocet missile ( the ships not his dad ! ), Alan’s mother was very surprised that he made it home at all. I told him that in 1982 I was 17 and up a ladder painting houses in St Annes , listening to the news my transistor radio and very worried that I was about to be enlisted into the army. It was real and terrifying, that wasn't so funny. I also Learnt that Verity was from Brazil ( Its guessing South Wales ! ) but spent most of her working life in Australia, see missed her family, but loves Bristol ( yay Bristol ! ). Her accent was amazing, and that Joanne was off to a wedding in Hampshire on Sunday. I was able to share with her my wedding photographer stories, a bit envious that I was I wasn't photographing one with such a lovely weather forecas this weekendt, but also happy to be spending this weekend re charging my batteries, clearing out the garage, with a trip to the recycling centre on the card ( guilty as charge… )
So in this 'age of stupid' I guess that the least we can do is make a few new friends, get to know a little bit more about each other and hope David Attenborough keeps making important programmes.
Note - no paper was used in this blog and in all seriousness we must all be doing more. It’s amazing how much crap that I’ve got in that garage.
Here is a link to the Climate Change the Facts https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m00049b1/climate-change-the-facts take a look