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the London experience

London was my best trip this year, but also one of my worst experiences. Why? Simply because this trip happened when I started having back pains due to a spinal disc hernia pressing on one of my lumbar nerve roots. This resulted in a Sciatica that literally paralyzed me during half of my stay there.

Imagine yourself lying on the floor for 3 days, looking at the ceiling unable to move. Having my back flat on the floor and my legs slightly bent was the only position that made me less suffer.

I took painkillers and tried to force stretching every morning. It helped me a little because, after 2 hours of warm-up, I was capable of getting up and walking!

I just could not stay imprisoned in my room, I had a few shoots planned and unfortunately, I had to cancel half of them.

Despite the pain, with my body warmed up, my pain killers, and a bit of adrenaline, I was able with my partner Marlène to maintain 3 of the photoshoots that I will forever remember. We first met Adrianna Lizardi a young dancer from the National English Ballet. Good prep is always a plus for a shoot, but unfortunately here we had to improvise in a city that I do not know. We wasted a bit of time looking for places that suited us, but pulled out a few interesting shots:

Adriana Lizardi

I basically worked with the only light available... No flash excepted on the last picture where I needed a little help from my Canon Speedlite.

Our 2nd shoot was with dancer, Contortionist Shakirudeen. He was one of the reasons I really wanted to make this trip. Just watching him warming up is entertaining. My and my ruined back were quite impressed by his performance.

Shakirudeen aka Bonetics

For this picture, I will make the story short... Simply because this picture is a snap of Shakirudeen warming up. We didn't have the time to do anything more because we got kicked out by a security guard. To my knowledge, the queen's walk is a public space. Everybody was taking pictures around us. I was only equipped with a DSLR and Marlène had, in her hands, a small tripod and my Canon Speedlite. Some of the people around us even had better equipment. But I guess this guy was having a bad day, and without really explaining to us why, he told us to stop shooting and walk away. After a few minutes of arguing, we decided to leave.

Our 3rd and last shoot were divided into 2 parts.

One happened downtown and the other outside London. For the first part that happened downtown, it was the first time I ended a shoot with a few pints in a Pub. I and Marlène had the chance to meet 2 lovely souls, dancer Bridgett Zehr and her husband Jack.

The 2nd part was probably one of my favorite photoshoots of this year. The place is unbelievable and despite the awful light we created really interesting scenes together.

This trip ended how it was supposed to... Back in France, went to the hospital, had 2 Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections, and was unable to work for 3 weeks.

I'm feeling a bit better today, I started to work again and I'm now trying to catch up on all the work that wasn't done during a month. Hope I will be able to come back to London in better condition.

Bridgett Zehr


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