Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Franka and ChiFi

Two weeks before my op, on Halloween, I met up with a friend, my first twitter follower, a singer who had freaked me by following because of so many shared interests.. then I realised that was the point of twitter. She became a good friend and we met for coffee and chips on the beach at the Southbank. I brought my camera, of course, with the possibility of taking her portrait, but as usual she was having none of it.

I had my camera sticking out of my bag and was aware of a group of teenagers swinging on the wooden structures behind, that hold up the Southbank.  A woman who was with them approached me and asked if I would take their portrait. I agreed, stood up and turned around to be met with a group of five severely burnt African teenagers all looking at me expectantly. It was dusk and I made a hash of the photograph and had to be calmed by a single malt whisky at the local pub. I called Bronwen, the director, the next morning, explained my story..and my scars, and my imminent operation, and she invited me to visit the children in Pinner later the same day to do a proper photographic shoot of the children.

I wrote in my blog fireinmylens.wordpress.com

'In late summer 2014, just before a second cancer operation to remove a sarcoma and yet more organs, I met a group of children on the beach of the River Thames, almost opposite St Pauls. Bronwen, mother to two of the children saw that I had a camera and asked me to take a photograph of them. And so a friendship began between people who knew medicine and scars. Between people who knew how the power of the human spirit can overcome massive obstacles. We shared a joy in living.'

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