Story of a Photograph: Watching Lennon


Following on my SOAP series –  (Story of a Photograph)

Number 10: Watching Lennon

‘One doesn’t stop seeing, one doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn on and off, it’s on all the time

This is a quote by the photographer – Annie Leibovitz. It is a quote about photography, but I feel it is also a sentiment that relates to all creative mediums; be it art, photography, music; sometimes the urge just grabs you and the need to capture that moment there and then becomes the only consideration…

I saw it in the man in the chair.

I noticed this guy in the Liverpool dockland-area recently; he had borrowed a chair from the al-fresco restaurant next door and, sat with a sketch-pad on his lap, began to copy one of the paintings in the gallery/shop window. It was a kind of beautiful moment really, to see this old guy so absorbed in his desire for self-expression that he felt the need to sit in front of a shop window and capture what he saw before him, regardless of what anybody else thought. – I likewise felt the need to capture the moment, secure the memory. It occurred to me later that I was documenting him as he was replicating a painting which had been painted by someone who felt as he and I did; a creative urge in triplicate.

Something else that this photograph makes me think of is how – sometimes things align, or at least they seem to, in ways that were not intended; as I talked about in my post Tree-of-Souls. In this case it is a large portrait of John Lennon; a guy who was a keen artist/sketcher himself. In the photograph he seems to be looking over the guy below him, a guardian soul watching a fellow artist go about his work. That he should be present seems in some ways to complete the circle; moments like these rarely happen…

as a photographer we can but play our part.