Slave-ship Museum of Fine Arts Boston painted by J. M. W. Turner
A sweet tormented soul
in a grumpy unrefined body,
looking through the light
with the sight of an angel,
with the hands of a king
in a rainbow kingdom.
He left us the future
in his colored wisdom,
he left us nature
in the art of his vision.
Marina Carresi 2016
When I see what is happening with the refugees I can’t help thinking that if J. M. W. Turner had been alive he would have painted a similar picture.
Me in Oxford by Nick Franklin
When I was seventeen a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to babysit a friend’s son over the weekend in a village in the mountains near Madrid. Her friend was a divorced father and his son was five or six years old. I said yes and prepared my suitcase for the trip. In the suitcase I put my Pink-Panther leggings – very fashionable in the Eighties – and the book I was reading, Brideshead Revisited. I loved that book; it was a Spanish translation but I think it was a very good one. I was completely in love with the British setting and the educated and funny characters that appeared in the book. In short, I dreamed about that world of humour, culture and history.
The weekend was fine, the boy behaved well and I was happy because I had some time to read my wonderful book. The man – I can’t remember his name – told me he was going to take me home but first he had to pick something up from his flat in Madrid. So we stopped in his street and I had an intuition that I shouldn’t leave my bag in the boot. I told the man this but he said, “Don’t worry, it’s safe.” I didn’t want to insist and I supposed he knew best. We went to his flat and when we came back to the car he saw something he didn’t like. We approached the car and my heart started beating hard. The boot was slightly opened and inside there was nothing. My suitcase had gone. I was very upset because I knew it hadn’t been a good idea to leave it there. My beautiful Pink-Panther leggings and my Brideshead Revisited were lost forever! I was young and couldn’t at that time buy the book again and I think I had just four chapters left to finish it. I was very sad. He was very sorry but couldn’t do anything for me to recover my stuff. Years later the BBC made the TV series of Brideshead Revisited with Jeremy Irons as the main character and I enjoyed it a lot.
I met my husband Nick in Madrid. When we were living together we watched and recorded the repeats of the series dubbed into Spanish. Nick was born in Oxford but when I met him his parents were living in London. I can’t remember if it was one day during the weekend in Oxford or later when his parents left London to go back to their house in Oxford that we were visiting the town and suddenly I remembered Brideshead Revisited and I realized I was fulfilling a dream. I was surrounded by these beautiful houses and green lawns, these educated witty people and I was the main character of this romance written in my mind when I was seventeen.
by Marina Carresi
My husband’s favorite group are James and they finally came back to Madrid in 2007 after several years absence. I like the band very much but my English isn’t good enough to understand the nuance of their poetic lyrics. They were going to play in a big festival with other groups in a town near Madrid. It was summer. As you can no doubt imagine summer in Madrid is extremely hot but it didn’t matter to us; James were finally going to be in Madrid again! So we took a free bus put on by the festival organizers to get to the place. We were working in the magazine Think in English at the time and I wanted to take my professional camera with me but in the end Nick convinced me that it would be a problem getting it past security, so I took a very small camera I had back then. We arrived at the venue and after the usual queue and bag searching, we got in. Just as we were looking at the stage and thinking about how we were going to get a place in the front row, we heard, “Hi, thought we might meet you here!” It was Jose and Lola, friends of ours back then. We were catching up with them when I told Jose, “It’s a pity I don’t have my camera (at that time my camera was almost an extension of myself), I only have this tiny little one but anyway I’m going to try to take some photographs.” I can’t remember how I mentioned that Nick and I had press ID cards. Jose got excited, “You should get into the press area.” He knew about these things because he had worked in radio, and music is his passion. So we got into the press tent and had a drink. It was much cooler than outside under the sun. We were excited and nervous, we didn’t have any press passes but the worse that could happen was we might be ejected, so we stayed there acting as if we had been doing these things all our lives. Then the concert was going to start and we all left the press tent. The photographers began to take up position in front of the stage in the pit. Suddenly, Jose pushed me and I found myself surrounded by the biggest cameras I had ever seen and then with my minuscule camera I decided ignore my fears of been expelled and take as many photographs as I could. The concert began and ‘we’, the photographers, were only allowed to take photographs during the first two songs. The cameras started to flash and suddenly I think out of amazement at seeing this red-haired woman with the smallest camera you could imagine in the press pit, Tim Booth – the singer of James – stared at me quizzically. This is the photograph of this moment and I love it. A few moments later, a security man ordered me out of the photographers’ pit but I didn’t care because I had my photos.
This is one of my favorite photographs because I had the courage to take it, I had found the confidence to take a risk and it was great fun.
I love feathers. They are colourful, they seem fragile but are strong, they’re elegant and each one is unique. I found these feathers on the walks I went on with Nick and his father Raoul. They were among my favourite moments when we travelled to England. Nick’s mother Faith usually waited reading or resting in the car because of her problems with her back and we went to walk in the woods. The woods in England are wonderful, full of trees and, especially in Autumn, full of dry leaves that create a carpet on the ground that makes a very peculiar sound – like breadcrumbs or old pieces of paper when you step on them. This and the birds singing were the only sounds we heard while we walked in silence. Sometimes we talked and sometimes I saw Nick and Raoul miles ahead ’cos they walk faster than me. I was always taking photographs of phantasmagorical trees, and bright green plants and of course picking up beautiful feathers. Raoul is a walker, he has been walking all his life – serious walks – and he knows every sign you could find in the woods. Nick learned the signs from him. I can’t remember how many times Nick and I have been walking with him in England and in Spain but I always enjoyed it enormously. Once we even saw a snake while walking in a place near Oxford. It was like a vision, I had never seen a wild snake before, it was slithering diagonally and it was so graceful that I stood there completely mesmerized by its beauty, no fear at all. It went on its way, and we carried on walking. As you could see in the photograph, the feathers show you the variety of birds there were and the beauty of their plumage. I miss those walks. Faith passed away, Raoul is a bit tired now and we have very little time. Maybe one day Nick and I will have more time. Time, time, time…. maybe one day.