The venerable David Stratton was addressing a lunch crowd at a launch of his autobiography, I Peed On Fellini. As he autographed my copy, I reminded him that I had sometimes been mistaken for him at film festivals from Cannes to Honolulu. Similar age, height, Panama hat, beard; easy mistake to make. To some people Australians all look alike. Even imported ones like Stratton.
The title of his book got me thinking. If I found the energy, the memory and the courage to one of my own, I might well title it I Danced With Fonteyn — with perhaps a sequel called I Dueled With Nureyev.
At about the same time as this launch lunch, my son discovered and sent to me an old scrapbook of mine in which was a cringeworthy poem I had written in my 20s about the then binary stars of the ballet universe, Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev.
Read my new page, Invitation to the Dance, for the full story of how the book got to be so named and how I got to dance with Margot Fonteyn.
I can’t paint or draw so I try to make paintings with my camera. Often angling, framing and exposing a shot is a visceral experience. Palpable. Making something, creating a picture that is more like how I see it and feel it than how it might actually be. Sometimes I get a result that actually approaches what I see and feel. All too often I fail miserably to capture or create the vision that was so clear and strong in my mind’s eye and that makes me wonder if it is worth the effort of trying again.
It is only by trying again and again that achievement is possible. One only begins to really achieve in any endeavour when one is no longer bothered with the mechanics, technology or technique of the process.
I doubt if when Jascha Heifetz was playing he was concerned where he was stopping his strings; when Nureyev was dancing he was worrying about the line of his back when performing an entrechat huit, or when Claude Monet was painting his attention was focussed on his brush strokes.
Bruce Lee once said to me: “Technique? I have no technique. I don’t hit — ‘it’ hits all by itself.”
I need to work more, read more, see more; to become so familiar with my tools that I don’t make the pictures — they make themselves.
All pictures shot with my Nikon D70. EXIF information should be intact on all pictures with all technical information.
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