I don't know if I am a storyteller by nature, not even if I am that good of a storyteller, but the fact is that I have been telling stories all my life, putting into words what I feel, see, think, create, imagine, live. As soon as I came to grasp the essence of putting words together to make sentences, I was writing stories.
I remember when I was twelve and wrote a novel that was about 50 or 60 pages long, based on Duran Duran's videoclip for "The Wild Boys" and sharing it with a girl in my class, and as she sat reading it through our geography class, the geography teacher caught her at it and confiscated my novel. I was in shock at the thought he was going to read it, and next day he called me up in recess and told me I had a talent there and should not waste it. I never forgot those words, because that is exactly what I did: if there was any talent there at all, I wasted it, or kind of lost it. But I never stopped writing stories.
You see, ever since my son started going to nursery he asks me for a story for the road. I used to tell him stories of a little mouse that lived on a farm who was best friends with a wild rabbit that lived in the woods nearby. Now that he is in elementary school, he wants stories of dragons, and I am actually considering putting these down to paper, as I have to make the story up as we go to and from school. Are they any good? Dunno. Kid likes them.
So I do like telling stories. Writing stories. I love the written word. I was never any good at drawing or painting, nor sculpting, so there was no telling of stories through images - although I really wished I could draw because writing a graphic novel is kind of my dream! When I went to college I had this photography class for one year, and found it fascinating, but photography as an art or a hobby was way out of my league, moneywise, until the advent of digital photography and computers.
As soon as I layed my hands on a digital camera - on a mobile phone, yes! - I started playing with images. With angles, with light, with composition and texture. Snapping away at little details inside my house, vignettes I made for my home decor, and I realised that to me photography is all about setting a mood, creating an ambiance.
I have come across many people talking of photography as a telling of a story through images, and the more I read that kind of words, the worst I felt, every line telling me that I should be able to choose from the array of photos I have taken on a certain subject, just four or five that would tell a story. It was like Jamie Oliver all over again, talking about food and telling us to remember that we were telling a story with that dish.
Because I'm not built that way. I am not telling a story when I cook and then style and serve a dish. I'm not telling a story when I photograph something, anything, be it a loaf or a cup of tea. What I try to do, both through my food and my photography, is set a mood. I am trying to set a mood, create an ambiance. The story is up to you to make. I'm just giving you the setting, but I want your imagination to work. I want you to look at a picture I took and be transported into something, a place in your imagination, in your mind.
The same wth my food. I am setting a mood there. I might cook a roast dinner of chicken and potatoes and carrots and squash, all roasting in the oven for hours, sweet and tender as can be, and I might serve it on a huge roasting tin, still charred from the oven, on a wooden board, with very rustic plates and cutlery, and I am not telling you a story, I am setting the mood for you to create your own story. I want you to be the storyteller.
Maybe you will come up with some story of farm living and a family dinner on a farm, a table filled with people sitting round and talking loudly and cheerfully. Or maybe you come up with another kind of story, a medieval chateaux where the chatelaines are having a quiet dinner of simple food, a minstrel strumming his viola gently and singing soft tunes of love and idyll. Or you may even come up with the story of a gathering of friends on an early Autumn evening, where the adventures of Summer holidays are shared around a table that is set on the outside, loads of candles lighting the night, laughter echoing through the patio. It has to be your story, not mine. I am just forcing you to create one.
Like this cup of tea, barely seen, and the walnut next to it. I am not telling a story here. I'm giving you the tools for you to come up with one. I know what story I would invent through this image, but I don't want to tell my story here. Nor do I want you to tell me your story, I want to make you dream of it. I want you to look at the images and immediately be transported to that safe place in your mind where imagination and dreams run rampant. I want you to feel a tingle of joy as you gaze at this picture and feel warm, and comfortable enough to let yourself be inspired by something as simple, as banal as a cup of tea and a walnut.
Because it's not just a cup of tea and a walnut, is it? There's a whole surrounding to it. The pillows, the rugs, the overlapping of prints, and textures, and colours, the way they compliment each other and seem to fuse into one. The way the light shines differently in every picture, making you think that it was raining on one image and the sun was starting to break through the clouds on another. Making you put down to words what you see, constructing a tale within your head. You may start with a sunny morning, a lazy day, a bohemian household, someone dressed in layers of satins and velvets and fringes, reading Baudelaire sitting on the floor over layered oriental rugs, sipping tea, when suddenly it starts raining outside... and there you have the start of a story... because that is what I dream of doing through my pictures, my vignettes, inspire you to create a story in your head, inspire you to let out a sigh of satisfaction as the images you see wake up something inside you that is filled with joy, and warmth, and a wonderful story.