In 1980, Bryan Organ painted a picture of Prince Charles.
I seem to remember there was a fuss. I’ve been googling away and can’t find a trace of what was said at the time. It will be there, of course, buried under all the articles I’m not looking for but I’ll leave that aside for the moment. There’s always a fuss. No-artist can please everybody.
This painting pleased me though.
I remember going to see it in the National Portrait Gallery and how it touched my humour. At the time, it seemed more to be a portrait of a flag and a fence than of a prince. But the flag and the fence would have been much less memorable, would have held much less meaning, if there hadn’t been a man in the foreground. If he had been standing, instead of sitting on a mundane wooden chair (a nice one though, blue) the image would have faded from my mind. And the best thing is, so much space is taken by the flag and the fence and the blue, blue sky, there’s not enough room for the whole of him; one whole foot, a toe and a heel are missing.
I’ve been trying to re-construct how I saw the world before I saw the painting. And failing. I can’t remember whether I liked the painting because I could already see that some things are so important, they don’t fit fully in the frame; that the power of the whole can be displayed more completely if all of the whole shape isn’t in view; that space is as important as content; that straight lines and bold skies are . . . don’t know - but I like them.
I just can’t remember.
Did this painting inspire to such a degree it has influenced the kind of photos I have taken ever since? Or did I warm to it because I recognised a fellow ‘eye’?
Reconstructing is made extra hard because, back then, I hadn’t had much access to a ‘proper’ camera. I have little with which to compare.
The point of this will emerge in a moment.
Just for now, back to hedgerow photos when the light has gone black and white.
When I took this photo, I thought this tree was a young lime (Tilia). I now think it might be a sycamore or maple. I’ll see more clearly come the spring.
From light and twiggy to heavy, dark and solid-leafy all year - Holm Oak (Quercus ilex).
An oak of some other kind. (Turkey Oak? - Quercus Cerris.) (Very scientific, this!)
And . . . tantarantara . . . ! The reed (Phragmites communis - I think!)
which reminded me of Prince Charles.