This is the first photo I ever took, it’s a picture of my brother Steve on his bicycle. I was 14 and he was 5 years old. My parents had kindly given me an Olympus XA2 camera. I immediately decided that I should lie flat on my belly, on the sidewalk, and ask my brother Steve to cycle straight towards my head. I was not sure why at the time, it was just the first idea I had in that moment. It was taken back in the day when cameras only used film and you can see, by the accidental exposure flares, that I had not learnt how to get film in and out of the camera yet or how to focus properly.
However, accepting all it’s faults, this picture remains one of my personal favourites. As I reflect back in time, I recall my brother had just learnt to ride his bicycle and his confidence was soaring. As his big brother, I guess I just wanted to make myself small to appreciate him and capture the moment. I think this is what prompted me at the time to instinctively collapse to the ground to take the photo. As I look at the photo now, 27 years later, I see my brother soaring above trees and fences and towering over me as he leans forward strongly on his bicycle. The dark shadow of a powerful 5 year old cycling straight towards his big brothers head. My confidence in him and his confidence in me, a dynamic that continues to this day.
When I look at it now it reminds me to trust my creative instincts and that rush of ideas that arrive in the early stages of a creative assignment, when inspiration first takes hold. Everything, of course, can be analyzed and examined after the fact, intelligent thinking is applied and reason calculated, but nothing can replace the creativity that happens in that sudden flash. At the time and in the moment it defies logic and reason, it just happens, as it should.