I recently had a portrait sitting with my friend Kurt Schroeder.
Kurt then asked me if I would do a similar image of him, however that didn't happen until I texted him last week and said, "Hey, let's do that portrait of you".
He showed up to my friends' place - whom I was house sitting for - and completely threw me for a loop with a whole different concept and story in mind. He took out a bottle of whiskey and a pack of cigarettes (he doesn't smoke), so I knew I was in for something.
Off we went, I made some breakfast for the two of us and he got to telling me the idea behind the images he wanted to make and how he felt I could best capture the emotions he was feeling. I'm not going to go into the details, because it's not my place**.
Editors Note: ** Kurt will share a little at the end of this post about where he was at, and his ideas for this shoot we did.
We also spoke about some things that annoy us and that will blossom into a project we will work on together soon, I hope.
More on that soon, for now here are the images we made together.
Something that struck me was how heavy the weight of what Kurt felt made itself known by squarely resting on my shoulders in the last few moments in that room. My shooting slowed down, and I remember just looking through the viewfinder, waiting... patiently as he drew on the cigarette; Nick Cave's latest album, Skeleton Tree playing in the background.
Another thing was that in images 2 and 4, where Kurt's hands are clasped around the whiskey bottle and upon viewing them after the shoot, he told me that, that was the closest his hands have been to a prayer position in quite a while. There was something beautifully stark about that.
** Context from Kurt: When Bernard hit me up last week to make a portrait, it felt like divine intervention. Bernaldo, aside from being an exceptional human and a dear close friend, is one of my favourite artists. He has the ability to capture a whirlwind of emotions in a single still image - and in so doing, he stores moments and memories in his pictures.
The last few days of 2016 were like a kick in the pants with a steel-tipped boot; unpleasant. Life got a little harrowing, and I was reaching for panic buttons. I was looking for vehicles or vices, to escape the space I was in. My mind slipped into a pretty self-destructive hole, and it felt all-consuming.
So really, when Bernard messaged me to take a photo, it felt like a rope being thrown into that pit - An opportunity for some catharsis. So I rocked up to the venue with a bottle of whisky and a pack of cigarettes - poured out my head and heart - then asked one of my favourite artists to capture that mess for me.
And that's what he did.
My mind, in these images, was deep in that pit - wallowing, whirlwind, wreckage - but when that last shutter clapped, and Bernaldo said "right, we're done" - I put out that disgusting cigarette, screwed the cap back on the bottle - and started to climb out of the pit.
Bernardo is now one of my favourite therapists too.
Thanks bro - Love you."
I want to thank Kurt for letting me into such a vulnerable space and for trusting me enough to share in it with him.
I want to finish off this post with these lyrics from "Listener - There are wrecking balls inside us" and a final thought.
"There are wrecking balls inside our hearts inside our tongues and they are moving. They’re swinging in our thoughts and fists, and they’re smashing us together, but that’s how we’ll make it through.... I am not alone, and you are not alone. I am not alone, and you are not alone, and we are not alone together".
Let's be vulnerable together and share the doubts, fears and sorrow, but also the joy and victories, because we're alone together.
Here's to 2017,
Thanks for reading.