(For those of you on smartphone or tablet, swipe for the slideshow)
I love working on my own and as the years pass, I find solitude more and more inspiring. As some of you may know from the photos I post of my studio, I live in the countryside in the Cevennes in southern France and it’s here in an old agricultural building known as a mazet that I’ve made my little studio over the last few years. In this peaceful spot surrounded by hills and woodland, I write and record my albums.
I thought it would be great to invite my friend the graphic designer and photographer Fabien Barral aka Mr Cup to come and take a few photos so that those of you who are following the I dreamed an island blog could get a visual peak into my working process.
Fabien is very discreet when he takes photos and he has a fantastic eye for detail when he shoots. There’s one little still life he took that day that really caught my eye. Resting on top of the piano, you can see my Neapolitan frame drum and to the right, an old mandolin I found in Portobello market more than twenty years ago, behind which there’s a photocopy of a C12th Sicilian musician playing a ribab. As the eye is lead left to right and out of the photo, you can see a piece of A4 paper with the chord structure for a song on the new album called “Judith” and my old American auto-harp from the 20’s. Even though I’m not in the frame, It’s as a true a portrait of this album and the working process that I could hope for.
In between sessions of writing or recording, walking has become an important part of my creative process. After all who could fail to be inspired by the light, the oak trees and the wild flowers growing miraculously out of the silvery rocks?
As anyone who writes knows well, there are times when it pays to keep at it, obsessively searching for that lost chord or word as the hours pass but there are other moments when it really helps to walk way. In French there’s a good word for this, it’s called ‘recul‘, it implies taking a few steps back in order to gain a clearer perspective on things. Walking is my retreat.
After a couple of hours with Mr Cup in the studio, I showed him one of my favourite walks behind my studio. Here are his photos from that day, I hope you’ll enjoy them.
To find out more about Mr Cup, go check his website and his latest creation to which I’ve subscribed Walter magazine
All pics © Mr Cup