Extract from 'I am your Mirror' photography book ...
Robert is the third “stranger” I met for my photography project titled “ I am your mirror”.
I call him the Christian”.
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.
Then, I asked to write down a few words, something that could represent them.
Robert answered to my advert on Internet, saying that he was pleased to take part in my photography project and that it was fascinated by the title.
His idea was to pose nude in a forest.
He is married, with 3 children, and he didn’t want to use his house in Sussex (that was my suggestion. I always loved to photograph people in their houses) even if his wife would have knew that he was doing a naked photo session with me.
By emails, we agreed to meet up straight away outside Epping underground station, the same day of the photo session, without knowing each other.
For few months Epping forest was my personal photography studio, during the Summer.
It was an amazing experience!
Robert, my stranger, loves nature.
Epping Forest was the perfect spot for his pictures. He wanted to be represented like an animal, naked with his face covered.
That day, I brought with me few masks, I wasn't sure if he wanted to use them.
A week before, I asked my niece Erica, to draw and send me a couple of masks.
She is 6 years old and she lives in Italy. She made for me a colourful rainbow fish and a bear. I like the simplicity of her drawings and that was what I was looking for.
I brought them with me and two more masks, a pig and a bull, that I bought in a party cakes shop in Dalston, London, once I was walking around that area.
I found them funny.
He said that he is Christian and that he goes to church with his family, every Sunday.
He is part of a community and he doesn’t want be seen by the people in the church, because they will not be able to understand him and mis-interpret all.
I went to Epping.
I arrived 10 minutes earlier.
I am always punctual, I learned this from my previous paparazzi/press job and I waited outside the station impatiently.
I didn’t know him, he didn’t send me any of his pictures so I didn't know his face, but he knew me. After 5 minutes waiting outside the station, he called me on the phone asking me to walk up the street and reach him, as he was waiting for me inside his car.
I followed his instruction and began walking up the street, I couldn't wait to see my third subject.
Then, at some point, I saw someone walking towards me smiling and introduce himself.
Hello I am Robert, how was your trip to Epping?
He sounds gentle.
I said that it was good and that I was happy to meet him.
I jumped in his car, I was beginning to feel comfortable meeting strangers randomly in that way, and while he was driving to the forest to find a place where to park his car, we talked about who he is, his past when he was bullied, his family, his wife, his job and his children.
Then, he parked his car. He said he knew the forest very well.
For me it was the first time.....
Earlier this summer, the Guardian revealed that car parks and wooded areas in Epping, Waltham Abbey, Chigwell and Abridge were being advertised on web sites as meeting places for sex between strangers, an activity known as "dogging".
I asked him if actually Epping forest is used for sex between strangers.
He confirmed, saying that few times in the woods, he saw people having sex.
I was utterly fascinated by the place, so immense, magnificent, theatrical and so obscure.
He suggested to go and walk deeper inside the woodland, he didn’t want to be seen naked by those people that were walking around Epping Forest.
My stranger didn't want to be seen ....
.... 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.