Updated: Jan 2
Extract from 'I am your Mirror' photography book by Loredana Denicola
Sean is the sixth stranger I met online. I call him, the underground worker.
I remember he sent me few emails before taking part in the projects. He was a bit undecided, one day he wanted to take part and another day he didn’t want to take part, so it was a bit difficult to deal with him.
My idea was to photograph myself and twelve strangers that I would find through the Internet. These strangers, 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.
I received his email, on Thursday.
‘Hi I am not sure if I would be suitable for this as I am very slim and hardly have any hairs on my chest but I would love to meet you.
I sometimes cross dressing, my size is (8/10) and have always wanted to wear a wedding dress. I also have quite a lot of boy clothes and would welcome the opportunity to take part of your project. I am a genuine person.
My number is… Please, call me.... I live nearby'. Sean
After reading his email, I remembered that I met him, a couple of months earlier, while I was doing some portraits of males for fun, and I was looking for subjects. Even in that occasion, he didn’t want me to take his portraits, after proposing.
I reminded him, I already met him once, and that I didn't want to waste my time anymore, as he let me down. He assured me that, this time, he was committed to co-operate with me, he really wanted to show me the clothes, that he bought from his favorite shop.
He was looking for a wedding dress, but he couldn’t find one.
He is very slim and the size available were too big for him, he bought some dresses that he liked very much and wanted to wear one.
I didn’t know what he had in mind. But I trusted him.
I was looking for subjects who wanted to take part in the project spontaneously. I don’t like chasing people.
I am more interested in energy.
One evening looking at my emails, I found another email.
'Lore, thank you so much, I am off next Tuesday, I don’t know if you saw the text I sent you on your mobile and I would love to meet you for the photos.
I have been gone a bit crazy shopping around, so I have quite new outfits that I want to show you, if you are free.
Hopefully the weather will stay like this.
I finish at 7 pm late shift on Monday so after 10 am that would be great, would be early enough to meet at my home and go together somewhere.
I could bring some of my stuff and do a few changes.
Are you up for this?'
I didn’t know what he had in mind. I understood that he was a bit confused.
I was looking forward to meet him at his place, and I already knew the address. The day after, the sun was shining brightly, high in the sky, not clouds, quite unusual, here in London. I was happy and unhappy at the same time, I had to meet him at 10 am, so, in my mind, I was imagining that I would have taken his pictures outside at 12 am, when the sun is high, shadows were coming from the top, I knew the light wasn't great.
I felt a bit disappointed for the overall situation, not wedding dress and the sun high in the sky. However, at least it wasn’t raining in London and that was good. We could get something. I was positive.
Then reminding myself my project, it states that the subjects could choose a time and a place, to be photographed as they liked.
I woke up in the morning, place together all my equipment, model release, films, light meter etc...and I went to meet him. I was excited.
His flat was not far from Stoke Newington, where I live, and once there, I rang the bell. He lives at the second floor, in a flat inside a block building, near Clissold park.
He didn’t hear me, he didn’t open.
I was worried.
I thought – 'Maybe he changed mind again.'
But after 10 minutes, he came down to open the door.
I saw a big smile on his face.
He looked happy.
'Hello,' he said, 'I was waiting for you!...
Come with me, I want to show you the clothes I have chosen'.
I smiled at him, finally he decided to be in the project.
While we were going up to the second floor, he was keeping talking. Sometimes I couldn't understand him, he had a very soft voice and he was shy. We went upstairs to the first floor, we walked through a long corridor, then we took other stairs to the second floor, where all the rooms were organised on both sides. The building inside looked like an hospital.
We arrived at the last door, numbered 388, which was his room.
He opened the door, and a weird smell came out, something went bad. I got in with him.
He showed me some pictures that other photographers took of him, and selfies of himself dressed like a woman took by himself, that I really liked and that I wanted to take myself, but that day was not the right day.
The clothes that he showed me this time, were completely different.
His voice is low, a bit tender, almost whispering.
I couldn’t hear him sometimes.
I was losing few words.
He looked happy.
He took one bag, layered few clothes in and finally we moved to Clissold park.
to be continued .... by Loredana Denicola
A layout of the book is ready (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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