|(c) Louise Fago-Ruskin|
On 18th December 2018, I am given an early Christmas present; I discover the work of Louise Fago-Ruskin. It is unusual. She states on her website that she aims "to deploy the camera much like a contemporary confessional box". When I read that, I said to myself, 'take me there!'. And over three days and two nights, that is what she did.
We first met in Brighton where she used to live. She had come over from Exeter to see her aged grandmother in her rest home and we arranged a meeting at my home. We talked - I cannot remember what about but there weren't any gaps and she departed with us both looking forward eagerly to the next time when she would photograph me.
On 4th November 2019, I travel down by rail to Cornwall. I watch the fields and trees of the southern counties of England flit by
To me it is home,
It is the green and the gold,
Where I was young,
Where I’ll grow old.
Louise catches my train at Exeter and we text but do not meet until we both alight on the platform at Penzance and hug as old friends hug, with smiles of joy and remembrance and also anticipation. After buying some provisions in the supermarket and Louise recovers from the shock of the beauty of the view from my brother's house in Gunwalloe, we talk at length about so many things - our lives, music, photography and the ideas for our shooting over the next two days. We have an early night and the next morning, I write in my room before I shower and dress and then lay the table. Louise joins me for breakfast and we talk some more about what she plans to do.
I do not feel that I reveal any secrets,
Nor discover any.
It is refreshing this advent;
Louise, dressed for the part in green overalls, begins with her Mamiya film camera and then her Rolleiflex. I love the clunking noise of the Mamiya. I love its size and its weight but, gradually, Louise defers to the digital camera which surprises her. I tell her the story of David Lynch vowing never to revert to using film after using a digital camera, wondering at the same time if I had told her the story before. I tell her that I like her overalls. She thanks me for the compliment but points out gently that it is a jump suit.
You looked cute,
In your trendy jump suit.....
I loved your commanding presence today
I loved your assurance, your acceptance, your balance.
Louise is very keen on using props and she shows me a collection of some interesting items she had brought with her including a large ball of string and a pair of antlers. We have a break for lunch and carry on shooting through the afternoon around the house and end up in garden after darkness sets in. We then call it a day and open a bottle of wine and have a lovely steak for supper and watch some of my films. She loves "On top of the world". We each have an early night - it has been an intense day. She has worked hard and it takes its toll as we decide the following day to take it easy and she takes some still lifes. Nevertheless, we both know there is more to come so there is no disappointment.
Louise is a lovely companion and a very intuitive photographer. I have really enjoyed her company and hope my hug at Penzance station is sufficient evidence of how much. I return to the house and, over the next day and a half I relax and write.....
The rain clouds pass by,
Taking their ammunition elsewhere,
I stand outside the bay window (yes, that one)
And watch them follow the horizon
All things must pass;
One day, sadness,
Another day, joy.
In between, we pick an apple from a tree
We eat it,
For each day is for living.