For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
T. S. Eliot
While trying to come up with a title for my New Year ‘firework’ photo I learnt that peony is the name of the firework that “has a starlike explosion that quickly turns into a bulging circle of stars.” So there you go, you learn something new every day! However you spend your New Year, fireworks or no fireworks, I hope it’s a happy one and may 2019 treat you all kindly.
“Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the time when we may pick the fruit.” Anton Chekhov
As many of you know, I’m on a travel quest to visit all the EU member states before next March (well, the 14 I hadn’t already visited). Friends and colleagues regularly say ‘ooh, you should blog about it’ and I chuckle as I brush them off with claims of not enough time. Little do they know how fruitful my travels have been – from shots of my tits on balconies and beaches, plus arse and cock!
After a couple of months in the drawer my passport is back in service this weekend and gosh the temperature has dropped in the last eight weeks! That and the fact that my travel companion is my aunt means this weekend isn’t the time for public nudity. But I wanted to bring you a flavour of stark grey wintry Bulgaria and so I laid a shot of the bare trees around the Russian Army Monument over one of me taken in my much cosier Airbnb!
An off prompt photo from me this week, but today’s spot has to be given to the wonderful Jedi Hamster who turns 40 on Wednesday. She has appeared here a couple of times, has come up with the ideas for and shot more of my photos than I can remember and – most significantly! – she came up with my name. Exposing40 wouldn’t be Exposing40 without her. Happy birthday friend!
Honey, 19syllables and I have had a day out. We started off at the Royal Academy taking in the erotic nudes of Klimt and Schiele before wandering through the west end to Drury Lane where we grabbed a bite to eat and a bottle of fizz in Sarastro. Little did we know that we hadn’t see the last of the erotic art for the day! But when faced with these toilets we couldn’t not do photos, could we? It’s almost like I had a premonition when I named our WhatsApp chat ‘Shits and Giggles’ earlier in the week!
It’s no secret that I love shooting in cemeteries. You can rummage around my site or other people’s and you’ll find many examples me and my friends of getting naked with dead people! Something I often wonder when we’re having one of these adventures is what are the stories of the people who inadvertently feature in our photos? Tonight I decided to find out and with a little bit of rudimentary research amongst free public records I started to build a picture of Albert Ede’s life.
Born in the summer of 1886, Albert was the middle child of Thomas and Sarah. The couple were married young by today’s standards – teenagers. As newlyweds they lived on Isabella Street, which for Londoners, or those who know London well, is the little street just off The Cut where you’ll find lots of restaurants under the railway arches.
Albert’s birth was registered north of the river in Clerkenwell, which may have something to do with his father’s work as a brass molder; the area was a hub for watchmakers. However, by the time of the 1901 census the family were living just five minutes walk from Isabella Street on Cornwall Road. By then Sarah was a widow and 14-year-old Albert was a messenger boy.
The 1911 census tells us the family had then moved to Lothian Road in Brixton. Albert was 24 and single. His elder brother had moved out but his three sisters were all single and living at home. That four adults in their twenties should all be single and living at home with their mother fascinates me. In the early twentieth century this was very unusual. Did Albert ever marry? Without paying for his death certificate I can’t know for sure, but the dedication on this headstone is by Sarah to her son and two years after he died she was buried with him so it seems unlikely.
Albert didn’t live long enough to participate in the 1921 census – the war records show that he died on 25th January 1917, aged 30. He was Private Ede and serving in the Army Service Corp, the branch of the army that was responsible for coordinating logistics, from transport to stationery, food to fuel. He died at home in Brixton and was buried three miles away in Nunhead Cemetery.
I would love to know how he ended up with such a grand headstone when his family’s professions and circumstances would suggest a modest income. I’d love to know what he looked like, his personality, what impact his father’s death had on him, what his relationship with his mother and siblings was like, whether he had lovers.
In a parallel universe where the internet hasn’t delivered up the basic facts of a life lived more than a hundred years ago and where we can’t see that the dedication is from a mother to a prematurely departed son, I like to think of this second photo being one of those lovers visiting their “dear Albert.” Where Maria strips naked in the cemetery to feel as close to him as possible. I wonder what he’d think about his headstone being used in this way?
I’m spending bank holiday weekend in Cyprus with one of my oldest and closest friends. I had thought we might get a photo adventure at some point – find some quiet beaches and spectacular headlands for some creative fun. Turns out that quiet beaches are something of a thing of the past in Cyprus and sneaking off anywhere when you have an energetic and effervescent seven-year-old in tow is impossible. Still, where there’s a will there’s a way and although today’s beach was four deep with sun-loungers and teeming with families it didn’t stop me wandering down to its far reaches where the sand turned to a rocky headland and sneaking a quick holiday snap.