Her arms entwined around his neck, Mums and Dad laughing into each other’s smile crinkled eyes.
I love that photograph. It captures everything they were to each other so perfectly. I look at a photo of my brother and sisters taken about forty years ago. So young and yet their characters were evident even then.
Aren’t photographs unbelievably amazing things?
I know that Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. But I had no idea who took the first photograph. That was appalling. I mean, it was because of photographs that television and films came into being. It was because of photography that we were able to watch those first moon steps. Some digging and unearthing of information was definitely called for!
I discovered that Louis Daguerre developed the first publicly announced photographic process. This required only minutes of exposure in the camera and produced clear, finely detailed results. It was commercially introduced in 1839, a date generally accepted as the birth year of practical photography. The coining of the word “photography” is based on the Greek words: φῶς phōtós meaning “light”, and γραφή (graphê meaning “drawing or writing”. Together they mean “drawing with light”.
I love that expression. It seems to dance on my tongue – drawing with light!
I had my fall which resulted in the end of my acting career. My mind began working on other things that I could do. I was lying in bed one night when the thought hit me – photography! My friend, Jil Hurst, had given me this beautiful Nikon camera and the photographs I had taken with it were stunning. Yes, I thought, yes, yes, yes!!! I only had forty percent eyesight but once I had the object in the lens, my days of superb photography would return.
It was not to be. I have the added problem of having no depth perception. This means that my vision is basically up the pole! Not a defect one would wish on a photographer. The next David Bailey was a part clearly not meant for me.
However, my love of photographs has not diminished. Karl Lagerfeld says: “What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”
By nature, I am a hoarder. I don’t like to let go of things, to let go of life. Which is why photographs are so incredibly valuable to me. Life which inevitably slips away, can be recorded. One is able to capture a moment through a camera lens. One can look at a photograph and parts of one’s life that were buried come tumbling back into focus once more.
On the wall next to my bed, is a huge polystyrene board which is plastered with photographs. As I lie in bed, my eye constantly roam that board, touching on well loved faces.
Jans and I lounging against the counter of the Kingswood Golf Estate before my first golf lesson. Golf was a challenge that led me on an adventure. Once the woods had been dark, impenetrable to light. Now I see that the darkness was merely covering other treasures I didn’t know were hidden. Each lesson has provided me with new prizes to aim for. Prizes that with practice, are within my grasp.
Dad carrying a beautiful bouquet of flowers through to my dressing room. I love the smile on his face.
My grandmother, ‘Granabelle’ I called her, as a young woman.
Maralin Vanrenen, the director of my two one woman shows and her partner, Mignon. We have been discussing the possibility of a third show. I must put ideas together towards the planning of a script.
My brother, Patch and Dad in their ‘rugby’ outfits. Dad, being an ex-Shark was obviously in his black and white. Patch being a Lions supporter was in red and white! I remember their comradely relationship and my heart warms.
Perdita, my wire haired dachshund, peeping out from under the covers of my bed!
Gaby Lomberg and Kate Normington in a show that they performed at Club 58. Gabs died of a brain tumour nine years ago.
I miss her.
Professor Pieter Scholtz and I. He was head of our drama department when I was a student. I think back to all of those vibrant musicals he directed and my heart smiles.
Janet Suzman receiving her Knighthood. This was when Jan became Sir Suz to me! I think back on our past. I have known her since she directed us in Othello in 1987 Apartheid South Africa. When I was recently in London, Jan was a member of a debating panel discussing Othello. I found it thoroughly engrossing. What a stimulating event that was! I saw some of the film we made during that time and was blown away by John Kani playing Othello and Joanna Weinberg playing Desdemona. Glory, our film of Othello was outstanding!
These are just some of the photographs on my board. By having them at my side, in a way I am keeping these people alive. People stay alive by being remembered. Dad has been dead for the past five years. Yet every night he smiles down at me from my dressing room door. He holds Mums in that wonderful, laughing embrace. There is Gaby’s mischievous grin from under a black trilby. They are alive to me because…I remember! The other pictures of laughter, riding bikes, learning to play golf, Perdita peeping out from under my bedclothes – they are of individuals that play a part in this thing called life.
I give thanks for Louis Daguerre’s incredible invention. I lie in bed at night and look at my drawings with light.