I am toying with the idea of a series of photographic illustrations of scenes from the bible. That may be an odd thing for an atheist to be doing, you may think, but as my background and training is in illustrating fiction, it seems entirely apt for me to be doing so.
Many years ago (around 1976) myself and my friend Val embarked on a similar project, using an instamatic camera and a roll of Kodak film. I remember standing in an orchard holding a grapefruit, naked but for a cut-out figleaf. A caravan doubled as Noah’s ark, Val doubling as Noah’s wife, surprised by a cuddly owl with an olive leaf sellotaped to its beak.
I was also Moses, snapped talking to a burning gorse bush, a conflagration that got somewhat out of hand and consumed half of the hillside. Val and I met up recently and now plan to reshoot the scenes with a better camera and a fire extinguisher.
For some reason I had the idea of Jesus when I saw a couple of pictures I’d taken on the London Underground of this young man. His neighbours looked suitably suspicious or disinterested while he stared ahead, quite placidly I thought, but this photograph caught an involuntary eye spasm which adds an additional dimension to this trio of diverse passengers, thrown together by fate, or random chance, depending on your philosophy. I’m not sure what to call it yet, ‘Jesus among the moneylenders’ maybe. I’m open to suggestions.