madonna-montage-panel-200pxGrant didn’t agree. “Look, the web has progressed from slightly coy or teasing, on to cheeky, artistic or full frontal. Yet even the most explicit of the amateur shots have a quality that is usually lacking in the portfolios of the professional celebs and their photographers.”

“Hang on, man. The professionals are serious, their photos have structure as well as art, with deadlines rather than a carefree moment,” I replied.

“The eyes of the professional usually lose their gleam,” said Grant, “and most had that when they started out. This is no different for a banker than an actress. The people I have come to admire over the centuries are the ones who retained that gleam, that freshness, that desire for new experience which kept them looking and thinking younger than their years.”

I needed to push back. “Professionals, as you call them, can remain fresh too. Think of Madonna, Bowie, Prince, even the Stones. And all of them have worked with and encouraged young talent.”

The rolling waves continued to pound, at times muffling our conversation. Our argument? We agreed on so much, but there were still deep divides.

“The difficulty in years gone by was pure arithmetic,” said Grant. “As you got older the number of friends and acquaintances who shared your desires would dwindle. You still yearned for the fresh and new, while they fell by the wayside into normality. Only the outliers kept creative development alive.”

He had a point. The web has changed the arithmetic enormously. The seeker is no longer restricted by village or town, by city or country. Nor is DNA any longer restricted by physical location. If nature endowed us with magnificent eyes or legs or whatever, the web has allowed us to grow bolder while seeing instant feedback on our efforts.

An excerpt from Brian’s Red Diamond, part of the Women out of Time trilogy.

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