Picture This - Agnes Meadows 'Thaw'

Some fantastic writers have responded to a portfolio of my recent photography for a project called Picture This. I am overwhelmed by the beautiful work I've received. I have also worked with photographer and film-maker Craig Thomas, on a short film entitled Still Life, containing a selection of these images. Agnes Meadows is a gifted and prolific writer. She also runs a great monthly event for women writers of all genres, Loose Muse. I'm really excited about her heavily gothic contribution to the project.

Agnes has written five books of poetry – You and Me, Quantum Love, Woman, At Damascus Gate on Good Friday and This One Is For You. She is currently writing a novel set in 12th century Constantinople with a woman soldier as the central character. Thaw

In moments of transformation, the process of change brings a burden of misery I cannot control. My shoulder blades are knived by the black burst of feathers, the prickle of subcutaneous wings ready to emerge. And where my mouth was, replete with words half-formed for song or velvet metaphor, now I am beak-pierced, my tongue sharp as thorns or holly spike.

My arms have disappeared entirely, merged in the sleek gloss of raven plumage, legs grown crow-thin, toes a trident of talons shadowing your booted footsteps with avian shrewdness. These petrel eyes gleam in carrion hunger, my gorge rapacious for the weight of gristle and sinew.

It is worse in winter when the ground is white and the days are short and sunless. So little time to feed, I am undone by your warm breath, the smell of you coiling in heavy folds across my breast and shank, your blood a graying broth that boils in your veins, thin filaments of deceit.

You do not see me hidden in the leafless trees, are deaf to my shriek of triumph as I swoop, wings stretched, glide and settle on your shoulders, begin my rapier encroachment of your soft neck to reach the core of living brain within. dawn melts my tracks in the snow, a proof of terror, a thaw of mutating species, bird to man come daylight.

Keep Learning - an interview with photographer Rob Covell

Dzifa and I (under our collective title Word Migrants) had a great time hosting our book event, The Book Salon, last week featuring Leila Segal, Gemma Weekes , Agnes Meadows, Rachel Rose Reid, Courttia Newland and singer/songwriter Marcus Begg whose photo you can see here.

It was taken by photographer Rob Covell whose portfolio is becoming increasingly impressive. I have really been enjoying Rob's live shots as well as his stunning photographs of his partner, writer and performer extraordinaire Kat Francois.

Having recently picked up the camera again (it's been just over a year since I have entered the digital realm busying myself with portraits and more) I asked Rob about what photography meant to him.

Art to me is a tool. I see art as a means to convey something. For me that is the most important part, not necessarily the art itself. Like true hip hop or poetry I like it when it teaches me, when it's revolutionary and empowers people. It still has to be good artistically, but if the message is missing or is hidden in too abstract a way, then it’s not easy to grab me.

Photography is the same. Yes, a beautiful landscape, nature pic or portrait will grab me. A gratuitous shot of suffering will not. If I’m taking a portrait, I would like the subject to look at the photo afterwards and feel empowered by it, that they see something beautiful about themselves that they hadn’t seen before.

A lot of discussion around photography understandably focuses on the image. I am very interested in the interaction between the photographer and the subject especially when it comes to more personal and meaningful relationships. Rob told me a little about the role taking pictures played in the relationship with his daughter.

I have a teenage daughter who has autism. I wondered if the relaxation I feel taking photos would help her, so I’ve started taking her out to parks and zoos, and just letting her loose with my camera. She loves nature and has told me how she too finds it relaxing. Photography totally de-stresses her.

So, what's next ?

I really want to get to a point where I can be semi-professional. I work as part of Zupakat Productions, run by Kat Francois and would like to develop the photography arm of that along with my own music production and writing. I’m working on some ideas for combining my three art forms. As with my writing, a main focus of my work will be to re-address euro centric perspectives and history.

As photographers, we have the ability to record the legacies of others, and I think that is a beautiful opportunity to create history that otherwise would go untold. I don’t want to specialise in one type of photography, there’s too much to see out there.

But what’s really next - Keep learning !