Can we come to yours?

24th April 2020

The doorbell rang furiously with impatience and I rushed to find my keys. I answered to a gang of flagging poor souls.
This was last minute and a messy one but the brief was simple. A black and white portrait with the subjects’ eyes closed. The page ‘I HAVE A DREAM’ has been in motion for decades. When I met the editor in Berlin he proudly presented me the office walls lined with stunning black & white prints.

I adore shooting people with their eyes shut and seem to capture at least one frame nearly every time I shoot. Even as an exercise it takes us back to a childlike state of ignorance; ‘if I can’t see you, you can’t see me’.
When I look at them I feel peaceful and can relate to the exhaling feeling of safety. A strange closeness emerges. They hold the power. It is their choice if they want to show me themselves whilst they wait in a world I can’t enter.
I once started a project on people sleeping; fascinated by the idea of parallel worlds. An intangible distance between us. I would like to continue it but shooting your friends sleeping can also come across as slightly creepy…

A few months later the editor got in touch asking if I wanted to shoot Guillermo del Toro…um YES??!!! Unfortunately the shoot was cancelled. However in June last year another opportunity arose. This time with Anna Calvi. I didn’t know her music but my housemates who were ‘in the biz’ informed me she was a great talent and would be great to shoot.

With the location shifting from one minute to the next and everyone losing their sanity I suggested we use a backdrop….anywhere.

“Ok what’s your address, we’ll come now”.

I had moved in with 5 lovely strangers only a few weeks prior. Before I even had time to blink Anna and her team were waiting in my living room with a cuppa wondering how long this was going to take. It was quite bizarre to find myself shooting in a shared house and I was pretty anxious my new housemates would walk in any moment to watch TV and be confronted by a 9 ft. colorama.

Anna had a softly spoken and down to earth demeanour. Her shyness suited her as she hid behind her hair as I shot. Despite little sleep she ploughed through and we wrapped in haste.

This shoot reminds me that even before lockdown my living room was still a studio. OAO x