Regular readers of the blog will know that last year, members of Chudleigh Writers’ Circle got together with other local writers, photographers and artists to take part in a joint arts project entitled The Art of Collaboration. Manny Lewis was tasked with writing to a photograph of an old man. So accurate and detailed was her writing that the final piece of art was almost a replica of the original image. This week, Manny imagines what might have happened the night these two pictures met.
“The room was still, no sound or movement. The hushed voices of an Exhibition being displayed had stopped, as had the sound of the steady tread of footsteps across the tiled floor. All was dark in the silent, shadowy room.
Outside a street lamp stood tall and bright. One ray of its beam shone through the window creeping its way across the exhibits on display: photographs, paintings and literary works, prose and poetry. It was as though the light was checking on all the exhibits making sure that all were safe and secure.
Although no human life was present in the room at this moment, the spread of the beam of light had rekindled the spirit of life on particular exhibits. No sound disturbed the silent room but a ‘presence’. It seemingly floated above and around the two pictures, encircling them together, then stopped. On closer observation the two pictures were portraits of the same man, the same but different. Two black and white portraits of the same man.
The portrait on the left was crafted by the creative medium of photography, whilst the portrait on the right had been created using the skills of an Artist. The representation of the Photographer and those of the Artist were amazing, almost as though the portraits were looking at a mirror reflection of themselves.
In fact, the photograph of the face glanced at his companion on his left and mused: Why, he could be me. Perhaps slightly older and more rested, but there is certainly a family resemblance. He chuckled to himself and smiled, I wonder. Who knows what might have been if Fate hadn’t taken hold years back. He closed his eyes for a moment.
The painting of the portrait had been listening astutely. He was careful not to move a muscle on his tightly closed, thin lips. He didn’t want to engage in any trivial dialogue. I wonder. Could we be related? There is an uncanny resemblance to that vagabond on my right. He appears to have the airs and graces of a gentleman of means, yet there is also an air of hard times about him. Perhaps the memory I have of an upset in my earlier childhood may hold some truth. But too late now to resolve, the past is past. His lips opened to a thin but warm smile.
At that moment the portrait alongside him spoke. Oh good, you can communicate. Just then I saw your lips move and you smiled. It certainly makes a difference. I have been thinking about you and what a gift of life we have had to be hung in this Exhibition of Photographers, Artists and Writers working together. He chuckled and said unashamedly By the way, my name is Methuselah. Can we share our thoughts before the Exhibition opens tomorrow?
The painting raised his right eyebrow, smiled again and said Of course. I like that idea. My name is Bob.”