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Nature studies

The day before I left San Francisco I climbed into a Porsche on a sunny morning. It was driven by a political scientist named Charles, who I had met recently in New York. We met for breakfast, it was the day after a long press junket and he could see from my pasty complexion and glazed eyes that a dose of fresh air would do me good.

He suggested a drive into the countryside. As the car in question was a convertible and he is in the habit of driving extremely fast, there would be no avoiding the freshness of the air, and we could get to a beach where I would be able to smell the sea and look at the far horizon. I accepted with alacrity, hiding a tremor of trepidation.

But once on the highway, zooming into Marin County, weaving in and out of a blur of other cars that seemed to be mere inches away, my hair whipping round my face in the wind, I started shouting questions to Charles over the roar of the engine and the traffic about his relationship with risk-taking. He told me he likes the buzz of speed on the roads. I quoted Tolstoy: “be bourgeois in your life and revolutionary in your art”, saying I preferred to take risks with my filmmaking and would rather not die today, please, if given the choice. The subtlety of my argument obviously won the day and he chivalrously relented to relatively normal speeds that he clearly found boringly slow and stately.

When we arrived at a spectacular beach and set off for a walk, I found myself bending down to photograph re-assuringly small, still, pieces of nature: sprigs of seaweed, a tiny beached jelly-fish.

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Text © Sally Potter. All pictures © Adventure Pictures unless otherwise indicated