I’m Only Half Here

Ellie Kennard 2016, photo by Steven Kennard
Ellie Kennard 2016, photo by Steven Kennard

I have the most wonderful husband in the world. And I miss him a lot! He is in New Zealand, 10,000 miles from me, but before he left he posted this.

Originally shared by +Steven Kennard

“Portrait of Ellie”

“As I get ready to go to New Zealand I thought I would post a photograph I took of my beautiful wife, Ellie (photo above), who won’t be able to go with me on my trip. It’s a long journey, but I won’t be away for many days, so this image of her will come with me. By chance, when I saw it, it reminded me a lot of a photograph taken of her when she was 18 (photo below taken by Pete Erskine). When I saw that, I thought I would like to try to reproduce it. I’ll have to wait for when I get back for that. We got a Russian vintage lens, the Helios 44-2 with adapter and this was taken with that lens.”

Thinking of you, Steve. I’m only half here.

The original image, taken by Pete Erskine can be seen here:

Ellie Wornell (Kennard) - 1968. Photo taken by Peter Erskine
Ellie Wornell (Kennard) – 1968. Photo taken by Peter Erskine

Ellie Wornell – portrait from the past.

Photograph of myself that I have just restored. It was taken when I was about 18 or so, by an adopted brother of mine, Pete (Bamford) Erskine who died very young, many years ago, as a result of drug addiction. I was asked what I was thinking when this was taken and here is my response:
Strangely enough I remember the moment the photograph was taken, though it was so long ago. The photographer was a boy my age, Peter Erskine. I had not long ago arrived in England, meeting my mother for the first time in many years as she had left us as children. She had remarried and adopted a boy, Pete, who was roughly my own age (11 at the time of the adoption I think), whose alcoholic parents had more or less abandoned him and his little sister. Sad story. In any case, he was happy with my mother and stepfather and when I arrived he was welcoming and such an affectionate person and we got along really well. He was a brilliant writer, went on to write for the New Musical Express in the UK and some of his pieces are preserved on the websites of the musicians he was reviewing or interviewing. He unfortunately got into drugs in his early 20’s as did so many in that environment (and in the NME) and soft turned to hard and he became a heroin addict. I pretty much lost track of him for many years but I did hear that he had kicked heroin and was on methadone trying to clean up his life. He died at that point, aged around 30. What a sad waste of a human life.
When he took that photograph I was standing at the sink, having just washed my hair, getting ready to go out, as that was a new dress, I remember. I was probably thinking of the evening ahead, a young Canadian girl enjoying the swinging 60’s in England. Pete was standing wedged in the corner of the tiny bathroom, balanced on the edge of the bath to try to get the angle he wanted. Ah Pete. I miss him still.
One of his articles preserved online though there are many more to be found. I loved his style of writing, remember well his wry humour and caustic wit: https://geirmykl.wordpress.com/tag/pete-erskine/

and this one:  geirmykl.wordpress.com – Pete Erskine | My Things


38 Responses

  1. Lovely portrait of you by Pete. He was my half brother. I was eleven years younger than him and we lived together for the first 18 months of my life before my parents divorced. I only met him once briefly when he came to Cornwall with his wife Kati when I was in my teens. Sadly he died the year before I moved to London. I am now a photographer so seeing one of his photos is really special. Thank you for sharing it, Alex

    1. Thank you for getting in touch, Alex. Your brother was a very special person.
      Your work is beautiful, thanks for sharing the link to your site. Pete would have loved to see it.
      Take care,

  2. Beautiful story, beautifully written, beautiful people, beautifully photographed. (I miss you all a lot!)

    1. Thank you for that lovely comment and those beautiful sentiments, Sandra. We miss you too! Come back as soon as you can, but only as much as you are comfortable with.

  3. +Ellie Kennard Aw.. That is bad! The trip getting back home should not have all these obstacles.. Hope and pray that he would get there on time for the flight to Toronto !

    I remember once traveling alone from US to India where I barely had 1.15 hour in between in Charles De Gaulle to catch the connecting flight and I ran like crazy! It was good that I knew how to and where to get to in that maze of an airport with out looking and finding out..

  4. Thanks +Beena R and I agree. I am afraid he will be a day later arriving home than planned. The flight from NZ is delayed and while they have also delayed the second to get him to Toronto from Vancouver, he will be too late most probably, to catch the last flight to Halifax that he is booked on. So he will be stuck in Toronto overnight. He will be exhausted.

  5. Thanks so much +Fratani Marie-Noelle – I know that Steven appreciates the compliment, and the original photographer would have as well. He has died, a little bit more of the story is on my website under the original image posted there: https://elliekennard.ca/half-here/#original

    +Garry Gust – ! YES! I'm sure you are right. He's already on Saturday. What a long way (and time) away.

    Thank you +Karolina Trapp – when I first got together with him, he was the only person (after Pete, who took the original image) who ever took a photograph of myself that I liked. He still seems to find a way.

    +Bette Kauffman thank you. You are lovely to say that. We work at it.

    +Leo Deegan 🙂

    You know it, +Joyce Fay!

    1. Thanks very much, Sharon. Yes, I love mine, though I sent it back for a replacement as it was a little beaten up and the focus ring was stiff in places. They guarantee their lenses and offered to send me another, if I sent mine back. They are going to refund my postage when they get the lens back (would have refunded it at once, but I can’t get a tracking number for sending to Russia. Fair enough). In case you want to check them out, I bought mine from : http://helios44-2.com/

      1. Thanks for the link, Ellie! Are the lenses new? If they are new, why was it a little beaten up?
        I love the pictures from them!!!

        1. They stopped making the lenses in the early 90s, so the lenses are second hand. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helios_(lens_brand) and http://vintage-camera-lenses.com/helios-44-2-58mm-f2/ . They made millions so they aren’t expensive but there is a bit of a cult around them, so a lot of people are selling them on eBay etc. I liked the idea of theirs being guaranteed and it seems that I wasn’t let down (though I still haven’t received the replacement – tracking stops at the Russian border without a Canadian tracking number which I don’t know how to get. I only have the Russian one). As these are used we have to expect a certain amount of wear and tear. I asked for a lens cap (which is a pretty useless one and body cap which is never used once the adapter was screwed on and then a regular Canon body cap goes on. You purchase the adapter from them. It’s a 58mm lens, by the way, not 44mm as you might think.

          It’s a bit of trial and error as it’s manual focus. On my lens connection the in-focus indicator does flash, which is something helpful. I was advised to get the -2 for a reason I don’t remember. More info here: http://forum.manualfocus.org/viewtopic.php?id=7758
          Let me know how you get on if you get one, Sharon.

        2. Thanks for all the info, Ellie! I have the site saved for when I get back from vacation. We are in Florida visiting my Dad, which is why I’m so long in replying. I definitely want to try one and will let you know when I have it.
          Thanks again,

  6. 10,000 miles is a hop skip and a jump Ellie .. Give Joni an extra hug and you will be back to normal . someone has to stay home and mind the kid ..:)

    1. And he got home safe and sound and had to give Australia a miss for next year. But you never know for another tour, I might just tag along if he falls down under again!

  7. Lovely photo Ellie! And such a beautiful sentiment! I have such a wonderful husband too and count my blessings for every day I have with him!

  8. Wow. You look marvelous in both. I’d only be half here if Tom was away like that. I may have to find one of those lenses. 3rd time today I’ve seen a shot.

    1. Thanks a lot Cathy! It does feel rather quiet and empty around here, though I have visits from friends, of course… It’s just not the same. I bought my lens straight from a Russian company. The one I got was a little beat up and the focus ring was stiff in places (not consistent). They guarantee their lenses, so they asked me to return it and they would replace it. They will refund me the postage for my return. So I am waiting for my new one, but I was very happy with their service and I liked the lens, what little use I managed to get out of it before returning it. This was where mine came from: http://helios44-2.com/

    1. You are sweet, thank you for that lovely comment. (A little bit of blur/soft focus never hurt a girl after a certain age, does it?? :D) It was lovely, what he wrote, I agree. Love to you, too.

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