Hand and Lightning T70L 243989-1

One of my stock images from the mid 1980’s.

I photographed my hand using my Pentax K1000 and its standard 50mm f2 lens. I held my fingers around a bare 15w light bulb that had a black piece of cardboard on top of the bulb so it would not flare into the lens. The lightning is a strike over Lewisham photographed at another time from the kitchen window shot on b+w negative film.

I made a high contrast lith positive of the lightning and put a blue gel over it. I then used the colour enlarger at the Tony Stone darkrooms to first expose the hand onto a 10″x8″ sheet of transparency film then exposed the lightning.

At the time I thought of it as illustrating “Creative Spark” the sudden creative process that creates ideas out of nowhere. I cannot say I planned to “think” this image into existence but this image was in my mind before I created the components.

Conceptual stock photography like this was not too common at the time and I felt it in my bones that it would sell well. It went on to be my best selling image generating enough income for me to move from rented accommodation.

It took on a life of its own. my concept of creative spark was not shared, it was used to represent power. It was even used  by the SNP in Scotland to promote the independence vote in 2014, I guess the idea was to have the power in Scottish hands rather than London.

I cannot control how my images were used but it struck me at one point that I was responsible for putting image like this out into society, lots of money but I wonder about how it may have been misused.

I did get permission from Tony to use the darkroom after hours and I paid for the film and processing of the film used.
Tony and his agents will have earned more money from the image than me but it was a fair split between us. I withdrew the image from Getty in 2017 after the split was weighed heavily in their favour.

Conceptual images like this can be created by anyone now for free using AI programs, good job I dont rely on picture sales any more!



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