Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Sixty Seconds of Happiness
One of my favorite books ever is 'For Every Minute You Are Angry You Loose Sixty Seconds of Happiness' by Julian Germain, published in 2005 (out of print).
It is a series of photographs taken by Julian Germain, of Charles Snelling, who was an elderly man, living alone that Germain met by chance in Portsmouth, interwoven with images from
Snelling's photo albums. Moments of a rich and simple life with the women he loved.
"Charlie was a simple, gentle, man. He loved flowers and the names of flowers. He loved colour and surrounded himself with colour. He loved his wife. Without ever trying or intending to, he showed me that the most important things in life cost nothing at all." Germain describes.
I picked up this book in a library a few years ago, and fell in love with the beautiful way Germain had captured this man and his home. I suppose he reminded me of my memories of my own Grandfather who had lived alone in a house full of old treasures to explore. In particular I love the image of Snelling on the beach, eating an ice cream, and another of him heading off for an adventure through the woods. The image of him holding his favorite record, as he played it for his guest is a look of pure joy, it is beautiful. Actually the images are full of sounds, the sound of the kettle boiling, the tinker of the tea spoon against the cup as it is being prepared, the buzz of a bee around the flowers in his garden, the crunch of the pebbles underfoot across the beach...
Yet perhaps the most heart wrenching, is the realization, which I did not come to until the end of the book, was that he was alone. All the way through there are images of little notes stuck into things which his wife had made, such as "Put the bin out Wed Nights" and so on. It just didn't click that she was gone until I got to the end. And then I cried so much. But, happily.
This book taught me a lot, if nothing more that appreciating the small things is not something to be ashamed of, as I often felt as a kid that my loving little details of things made me 'simple' minded. Now-days I embrace these things and look forward to the adventures that lie ahead.
If you ever find a copy, cherish it. The link below is to Germain's website where some images can be seen...
Images shown are from the book and of the patch made to commemorate it. See more by clicking the link below...
Also pictured: Mimco Pink hat, Blue Vintage skirt, Wittner Wedge heels, Vintage belt.