Extract from 'I am your Mirror' photography book ...
James is the second “stranger” I met for my photography project “ I am your mirror”. I call him the business man.
My first idea was to photograph myself and twelve strangers that I would find through the Internet.
These strangers, unpaid, would be free to choose a time and place to be photographed. They could express themselves as they wished, and could be anonymous, or not. I asked the strangers to look at the camera as if a mirror.
One night, I received an email from James. He answered to my advert on gumtree.com saying that he was interested in my photography project and he wanted to take part.
He asked me if I could meet him somewhere before for a chat and introduction. I said enthusiastically yes!
I met him in a coffee shop near London Bridge. The first question he asked me when he met me, was why I am doing "I am your mirror" photography project.
Honestly, at that time, I didn’t know why I was doing this project with strangers, there was no structure in my mind, no a written planned project, so I didn’t know what to answer.
The project for me was a urge of looking for human connections, meeting those ‘strangers” was in a certain way, meeting myself as a reflection of them in the mirror.
I was them and they were me.
I said that I was looking for strangers that could pose in front of my camera like a mirror and represent their obsessions, fears, feelings, themselves as they wished.
I lost my identity to please others.
From 2010, I had the most damaging period of my life without considering the years before..
My mind was obsessed by negative thoughts, I was sick.
I couldn’t imagine that I could lie disrespecting myself in that way, being someone different to please others and suppressing that beautiful being that I am.
Looking back at my experience, after more than a year I have realized that what I was looking for was confidence, courage, passion, identity, trust, respect, communication, connection, sex, imagination, playfulness, my soul but above all Love.
My values and foundations of who I am.
James is a business man, he comes from Canada, he lives in London since 20 years and he works in the same bank since then. His life is pretty much the same every day and he told me he is no free, he has to withstand at the rules of society that he doesn’t like much.
He is handsome, tall, polite, elegant, kind. He said to me that he wanted to be represented in a submissive but powerful way.
He sent me a couple of emails after our meeting, with some pictures of Mapplethorpe's work, as he was giving me some context to the images we might wish to create together of him.
I asked him few questions:
L.'Would you wear tights like those one attached? or high heels? or female underwear...I would like to put together the female and masculine with you.' I said
J.'I would be quite keen to explore that further.
Yes, I am fine with that. In terms of bringing together the masculine and feminine, I think that Mapplethorpe's photo I sent you with the nude male and the clothed female is another way of doing it.'
But I am happy to try different things with you. You are an artist so I will follow your judgement. I am a size 43 shoe size, 34" waist.'
Then we lost ourselves for a month...
I sent him another email asking if he could be free in December. He replayed that he would have been very busy and that it could have been better try in the New Year.
He had a flat in the city that we could use. Not very glamorous but that will serve the purpose.
So we agree to meet in January and that was it.
I didn’t hear from him for two weeks when I receive a text with a time, a date and address, the place was close to Bermondsey, London.
I said that that day I was free and I went to visit him ...
... to be continued ...
by Loredana Denicola
A layout of the book is ready (256 pgg, text & black and white pictures). Hopefully the book will soon be available. Limited Edition. I am looking for funding.
'How I met my strangers', I am your Mirror' photography project .
©Loredana Denicola 2017/2018, All right reserved.
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