Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Garden sheds I have known and the stories that come with them ........ the figure in the reflection

Now there is a moment in the film Blow Up when a photographer notices something odd and sinister in one of the pictures he had casually taken in a London park in the summer of 1966.

Peter's painting of the shed
In the process of enlarging the shot he notices a body and nearby in the bushes a man holding a gun and from that point the film takes a series of twists and turns.

Anyone of my generation will remember the film and the impact it made on them.

I know I do.  I was 16 and Britain and especially London was experiencing that exciting and wonderful period when the new from fashion to music to ideas and politics looked different and promised a different future.

Figures in a reflection from the photograph
That said I can hardly really admit to being part of it.  In Eltham in south east London it all looked pretty much the same as it had done a decade earlier, and I guess for Peter living in Preston it was much the same.

But the memory of Michelangelo Antonioni’s film never left either of us and my photograph of our old garden shed stirred something in Peter’s imagination.

I long ago had clocked the image in the reflection and then forgot about it but on a slow evening with just repeats on the telly Peter took up the challenge of painting the shed  and Blow Up took over.

And like David Hemmings in the film he began to explore those images and because he does things in acrylic what followed will become a series of paintings each just a little more detailed than the one before.

Standing in front of the main panel was the man with the camera, but behind him was the figure of a woman.

Detail of the reflection from the photograph
Look more closely and she is holding something, ........ enlarge that detail and there is a gun.

Or so it would seem.

Now in my short life in that house my parents shared it with a succession of tenants, from Millie the Mole and her love partner Boy Boy Jones, to a  man with two wives and a couple who met across the upstairs landing.*

He was Polish and she was German, they fell for each other, got married and moved out.

But his parting gift to us was the shed built in the mid 1950s and still standing today long after we left for Well Hall.

As for the story of the shed, well I will leave that to your imagination.

Painting; the shed in the garden of Lausanne Road  © 2016 Peter Topping Paintings from Pictures Web: www.paintingsfrompictures.co.uk

*The history of the shed, https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/The%20history%20of%20the%20Shed

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