Friday, 8 October 2010
The lady by the lake
Most things I have written have had some one specific starting point. This is often visual. I will see an image and that image will resonate somehow. It is not simply that the image will suggest a story - although often it does - it is that the image itself speaks to me in some way. It is as if it is already an illustration to a story - as if it carries a story with it.
This is a page I tore from a magazine years ago - more years ago than I care to remember. I have habitually kept such pages since I was at school. Mostly they were kept as possible reference for illustrations. In the days before Google Images, I wanted to have quick access to a visual library, so I kept such pages in my filing cabinet labelled as 'Politicians - British' or 'Landscape - Italian' and so on.
There were always pictures I kept though, that did not easily fall into any specific category. They were just pictures I kept because I did not want to throw them away. Google Images has made the keeping of much reference obsolete and in any case I am no longer an illustrator in that way. My days of being asked to do a portrait of a pop star or the US President at short notice are well and truly over, thank goodness.
Anyway - this picture (I don't know the photographer, but it is obviously early) is one of those hard-to-categorise pictures that I find hard to throw away. There are lots of things I like about it, not least the fact that because the woman is standing so far back from the edge of the lake, she appears to have no reflection. That and the lovely glow she is giving off gives the picture a haunting quality. Who is she? Where is she? That sweep of dark water and the ancient house. . .
If The Dead of Winter has one single beginning in my my mind, it was twenty years or so ago, when I first saw this picture.