Okay, so I love living in a community of artists. I think I must have said so a dozen times. And then I always say, “One of my favourite bits of living in a community of artists is…”
But I am not ashamed of this habit. I realise how rare it is for artists to live in community. Everything that we are taught pushes us towards competition, to be suspicious of each other, to think there is only space for one, and not that we are each pieces of a whole.
Eric and Ina are two members of our community, although, to be cliche, on Friday they become one. Carrissa has grown from being a student to my partner in crime with photography, and she and I travelled to the wilds of Neasden to do some engagement portraits for Eric and Ina a few weeks ago. It took two buses and a walk to get there, so it felt like a destination shoot. But in the end, it wasn’t a typical engagement shoot. It was an adventure through fields and woods, dodging dodgy rubbish, freezing and laughing and visiting several of our community houses before the day was over. Eric and Ina are members of our family, and we joked around and gave each other a hard time and had fun and somehow, in the middle of it all, managed to get some photographs that I think encapsulate who Eric and Ina are, both individually and together.
So in conclusion, do life with your friends. Not just the friend that you marry, but the friends you will ride the night bus home for after you’ve stayed at their house too late. The friends who have half your tupperware in their cabinets (or who live in a community house, so all of their tupperware is also yours…), who give you terrible nicknames that will guarantee embarrassment (this one’s for you, Sparky), who will tease you when you turn into a gremlin after ten pm, who will love you when you are rubbish and when you are witty and when you think you are both and are just annoying.