With thanks to Mark Nixon for allowing us to use his image for one of our posters for this year’s Big Islington Toy Give.
“When everything was unknown, they were there. Where anything could happen, they were there. These repositories of hugs, of fears, of hopes, of tears, of snots and smears.Alone at night, they were the comforters, when monsters lurked in darkened corners when raised voices muffled through floors and walls.These silent witnesses… Their touch, yes, but their smell, that instantly calming, all embalming musk, unique to each, soothing and smoothing the journey from consciousness to un, from purity to im, from infancy to adult-terre. Sworn to secrecy, unconditionally there, unjudgementally fair and almost always a bear.”
In June 1995, suffering from a particularly bad case of writer’s block, I bought a camera, thinking a hobby would give me something other than music to think about and I’d be able to go back to writing songs and getting nowhere. I haven’t picked up the guitar since.
Photography came very easily to me. I understood it instinctively and the results, (compared to writing a song, which might take a year, by which time I couldn’t tell if it was any good or not) were instant.
I started getting work immediately and soon had to give up signing on the dole (very traumatic) and even my part-time waiter’s job.
My first big job was a series of book covers for Poolbeg Press, which I couldn’t believe they actually hired me for, since I hadn’t a clue what I was doing. I was given a rough brief and had to find locations, props, models etc. For all you photogs, I was shooting transparency film on a Pentax 67 with no polaroids, using filters, mixing daylight and tungsten and keeping my fingers crossed that they would turn out. I traveled to each location on my bicycle, with the lights balanced precariously in a suitcase on the handlebars, camera and tripod strapped to my back. Ahh, the good old days.
I love photographing people. There is still something magical that happens between the subject, me and the camera that still surprises me.
I feel like I’ve only started.
Thank you Mark, for your generous help of the TOY Project.
Mark Nixon, photographer. www.marknixon.com