A collection of photographs made with the Leica Digilux 3 SLR camera.

Within months of having my forty-seventh birthday, I began experiencing intense but transitory pain. One joint after another, my shoulders, wrists, knuckles and feet would feel like some sort of screw or clamp was being applied. The way the pain cycled through twenty-four hour periods was strange. It became strongest during the night, eased off at midday, then built again elsewhere. My body was being inhabited.


Over the following three months, I had a series of diagnostic tests. By the time of the diagnosis, the pain and swelling had become constant across all my joints. I could only function well from eleven in the morning, until three in the afternoon. Throughout the tests, I was given no insight into what may be happening. I only knew it was serious and unusual. This situation brought about an odd state of mind.


It almost felt like being on holiday; a lifting away of the responsibilities of life. I remember driving over the moors to make print deliveries (there were several cold, crisp, spring mornings). Viewed from the safety of the warm car, the size and scale of the landscape appeared comforting, clear and refreshed; as if I'd just fallen in love with the sight and sense of things for the first time - loving with my eyes.


I've got rheumatoid arthritis due to a malfunctioning immune system. I'll have it for the rest of my life. But it's manageable with drugs and exercise. During my three month sojourn, I was frightened. However, it scared away a layer of familiar perceptions, woke me up, and gifted me a new perspective. Walking for an hour each day gradually reduced the symptoms, and an ideal companion for solitary walks is a camera.