#smalltowninertia 35mm Film Test scans August 2014
I’d known Stuart for over 15 years, time once was when we were barfly pals, attempting to dull our respective pains with cheap red wine whilst discussing the world, damning it’s evils and championing it’s beauties.
Forever on the fringe of Market Town, having returned here to care for his elderly Mother, until she passed away, Stuart stayed alone in the house that witnessed his Mother’s final breaths and some weeks ago also bore witness to his.
Stuart was one of the first people I ever documented, the encouragement he gave me, at a monumental junction within my own life, I’ll never forget, he gave me a chance, as a human being and as a fledgeling photographer and as a friend.
I remember, so vividly, when we had his portrait featured upon the Pictorymag blog, I rushed over to tell him, gave him a print of the featured photograph and he was thrilled, amazed anyone would care for a word he had said.
(*From Pictorymag feature)
Baptised in Darwin’s Bathwater.
"Stuart lives in his late parents house on the outskirts of town. Alone and somewhat isolated from the world around him, Stuart has taught me one lesson above all : to love the small, precious moments with those close to you. It’s the one element of life that can never be regretted. For him, the warmth of remembering sustains the coldness of present days."
"Stuart has watched as so many loved ones have returned to the earth, and yet maintains an air of gentle understanding about the rhythm and pattern and tempo of mortality. “I was baptised in Darwin’s bathwater” he told me as we discussed the afterlife and his resolve about the natural cycle of life’s twists and turns. “Love is the eternal where we are not so in the physical.”
“Love is the eternal where we are not so in the physical.” …these words are how I’ll forever remember Stuart. Market Town has lost one of it’s princes and is dulled with his absence.
I’m sharing some audio from our final recorded conversation, I want you to hear his voice, his laugh, his musings, memories.
*Up till an hour ago, I never knew this photograph existed, whilst making more inroads with testing the film scanner, I found a single negative image, alone, at the bottom of a large bag of negatives I’ve been amassing since the very early days of #smalltowninertia.
This is the only colour photograph I ever made with Stuart.
My partner, Laura, said to me during a long conversation regarding film the other evening “Film is beautiful, it’s like looking at memories…” and, discovering this negative of my late friend, Laura’s words were pulled into a sharp focus.
As the scanner whirred and thrummed, drawing the negative within it’s belly, the slow reveal of all the sun and electric light had burned onto the virgin film, I remembered everything about this day, borrowing a camera, my father giving me a roll of out of date colour film he’d found the night before.
I remembered Stuart, not that you ever forget people that you’ve been close with that have passed, but, looking at this photograph, brought him back, just for a moment.
I remembered our conversation, meandering river chaos, I remembered his laugh, his sorrows and joys shared, and, all the dreams he had held close to his heart, a lifetime of dreams that in just two years, would be, finally, within reach, then lost forever.
Stuart, you’ve made the great leap, you know the answers, whatever they be, I miss you my friend, deeply. X