13/04/16 06:42 Filed in: Professional Development
For the moment at least, the radio interview with my wife played on RMN FM is available as a sound bite on their website http://www.rmnfm.com/index.php?page=coupdefil
11/04/16 05:52 Filed in: Studio Practice
Another project, another song title and a move towards where it probably sits more naturally within "what I do".
A while ago, I posted a link to a time lapse video that I'd pulled together from images taken using a Go Pro on a journey from the ferry port of Roscoff to Huelgoat, both in Finisère. At that time, I wasn't sure where the video (called "Driving", after a song by PJ Harvey) was going to end up. It didn't have any form of soundtrack, and trying to record one using my iPhone in the car proved incredibly unsatisfactory. Modern cars don't really make a lot of "car noise", it's just wheel noise unless you really give it beans. Unless of course you have something really sporty, which I don't - just a diesel that rumbles a bit when it's ticking over. Perhaps the 2CV we have in the garage would have liked a run out...?
Anyway, without a soundtrack, the video felt a little odd, so I;ve returned to the form I like most; the Photobook. I've tried to keep the price down a little, so rather than the 2s intervals between frames, I've cut back and used far fewer frames. It keeps it moving too...
So what's the book about? A journey obviously, and one that I acknowledge nothing really happens in - nothing of any major consequence anyway. Many of the images are very similar, with only little details to mark the change from one frame to the next - it's dark so many details are lost to the night. But does the fact that "nothing happens" really make this any less relevant? No, personally I don' think it does. Sure, it might be less interesting as a pure documentary, but I actually see this as an art piece in itself. Change, action, passage, obfuscation, travel... All things I'm drawn to. Hopefully the viewer will get some of this too.
I know it might be a difficult book for some to view, especially as it's very mundane, but I find it fascinating. I'm now wondering how I can move this forward for my next major road trip I'm planning in Canada. I really would like to use this somehow, perhaps interspersing with more traditional images, but then would this feel muddled? Further thought required.
11/04/16 05:50 Filed in: Contextual Research
These five photographers thrive on the road, fueled by an undeniable sense of adventure and a large loot of film.
Source: Road Trip: 5 Photographers Who Use the Road as Their Muse
I know some of them, not others. Something to consider for the essay (a tweak, or maybe just background knowledge?)
11/04/16 05:50 Filed in: Contextual Research
I really want to get to this exhibition... I’ll post some notes here when I do.
Well, as I write this it's early Friday evening (or late afternoon if you prefer), the log fire is burning (it's a little too chill here in Brittany for it not to be) and I've still not finished getting around the various sites again to document the images presence.
As I mentioned the other day, all the images are out there with the mairies, but I will be photographing the last two in situ tomorrow. My wife had the idea of taking a photograph with a representative of all the mairies offices in front of the photograph, and most have accepted for this to take place. Today it was the turn of Brasparts (up on the day we delivered it, but no representative available), Huelgoat and Motreff. Even though both had received the photograph on Monday, these latter two put them up today just before the documentation photograph with their representative - would it have happened at all if we hadn't insisted on such a record being made? Possibly, but I do wonder...
Tomorrow is the turn of my local Plouyé and Pleyber-Christ, one wasn't up yesterday, the other we've been assured is up in the mediatheque. Only Carhaix has declined to have such a photograph taken, not sure why. Certainly the maire has today announced his candidature for the next presidential elections (2017), the news of which is jeopardising my chance of making an appearance in the newspaper Ouest-France (they have more newsworthy things to consider now). Still, I made it into 2 of them, and I have posters scattered across the region, even one on the door of the Huelgoat notaire's office and the Carhaix cultural centre. If the exhibition doesn't reach its audience, it's not for the lack of trying!
(Poster in the window of Ouest-France - right of door, top right of group of 4)
(Poster in the window of Le Poher - third from right)
(photoshoot with a top model and a photographer from Le Poher)
(top model in front of photograph in Carhaix - from Le Poher)
Having said that, it is reaching "an" audience. Figures for the website (visitors and page views) have gone up, and there are spikes that correspond to announcements being made (newsletter, newspaper articles, etc.), and whilst the viewing figures aren't gargantuan, they're pleasing, with over 2150 views so far since I set it up (first spike being a request for feedback), and several hundred this week...
Viewing Figures (from Weebly dashboard)
I guess many of these will be people I know, but I'm hoping that it will reach others - appearing in the newspaper, posters in various areas, mentions in community newsletters... Yes, I'm hoping the audience will be expanded. I've not received any feedback yet though - I guess some people might be worried about being the first? Much like life here in Finistère, it can be a long hard slog rather than a sprint, so I will have to play a waiting game I guess.
Lunch time, the second day of the LeLoupExpo set up, with most of the photographs dispersed and some chasing up done, I'm sitting (with my wife) in a little creperie in Carhaix. After lunch, it's off to the local newspaper offices opposite the mairie in Carhaix for a photoshoot to go with the article they're running in the Wednesday edition. Now though, having placed our crepe order, there's a mind dumping session - lessons learned so far, what seems to have gone well, what hasn't, etc.
So here it is, elaborated a little from that scrawled onto a sheet of paper in a creperie - it will form a basis for what goes into the reflective report on the experience.
Plan for change. Also, people don't always deliver on the first opportunity. There's a need, in some instances, to push a bit more... A day seemed to be ample in my own mind for distributing images, and it pretty much has been, but I also expected to have the images up on the board, the photograph of it in situ taken, together with a snap of the maire (or whoever). This certainly isn't the case, with only three photographs up on the first day, and only one photograph of someone from the Mairie taken. I'd also hoped to visit the tourist information offices, but this hadn't happened at the time of eating our lunch either.
Explain. It's necessary to re-explain things even though it was explained in the submission e-mails and over the phone. Doing so seems to get the message across. More clarity is required for some things though. Some people thought it was a painting exhibition (awkward silence) of animals (awkward silence - le loup, le renard et la belette is the wolf, the fox and the weasel). Not that paintings of animals was ever suggested in the sample image I sent physically, via e-mail or can be seen anywhere on the weekly site...
Recognition. I've made sure that I've tried to recognise the various mairies as collaborators, I've made sure they know I'm grateful, but also included the names of the villages in all communications with the press and the radio, etc. I've tried to get a photograph with someone from the mairie's office (not all have been happy about this), so that I might include them in a further development. If I was having an after show party, they'd all get an invite, so it will have to wait for that development to (hopefully) materialise.
On the subject of recognition, another facet of this is using a more personal touch. Some mairies asked if we were going to drop the photographs in the post , but we decided to visit them in person. We've treated the peopled we've dealt with as people, not just as being "the Mairie" or "the press". Some have even gotten around to calling us now, rather than waiting to be chased (not all though...)
The A3 posters I had printed have been well received (even if there is an auto-correct spelling mistake in there - lesson learned is check and check again, especially the French!!) They were less than a couple of pounds each from Staples, less than it would have cost to print them on my inkjet with ink the price of liquid gold... Well worth it, and worth doing it again for future. (Posters left with the mairies, tourist information offices, the local press, etc.) In hindsight though, a little more information on there might have been useful.
Photographs selected.. Always a tricky one. My vision is perhaps a little bleaker than some of the mairies might want to show, so in allowing the mairies to choose which image they displayed from a small selection printed it was the more colourful, dramatic or "pretty" that were snapped up first. My personal favourites are generally unchosen. Go figure. This would then lead to some hard curatorial choices - should I have chosen the more picturesque and cater for the audience more, or stick with my own vision, my own preferences? Sell out, or sell nothing? (Not that anything is for sale this time). Allowing the maire (or secretariat, adjoint culturel, etc) to choose certainly seems to have been a positive in terms of making them feel included - a form of psychological empowerment I guess.
To get the viewers (and for them to participate) I need to get the news out there. Time will tell if I've managed to do this with the use of (limited French) social media, the radio (my wife's interview on RMN FM) and the newspapers (Le Poher and Le Courrier already to press, with Le Telegramme and Ouest-France yet to commit). There's the posters too... I've even started using Facebook, but I've not yet got a great reach. The weebly exhibition site has been getting more viewers than my own website though, although there has been a sudden spike today (50-odd viewers compared to single figures seen normally). Sitting in the creperie I'm surrounded by posters and flyers from other exhibitions, I should've targeted some of these too...
The card. I chose early on to present a photograph at A4 size, together with an A5 information card. Some mairies expressed a desire for a larger photograph, but not all could accommodate this, so I opted to keep them the same (no favouritism!) The card was intended to have a bit of an artists statement on it, together with an URL for the weebly site, but as things evolved, and Facebook strongly advised for online regional interaction (by Aude from RMN FM), there was then 3 URLs, and therefore less room on an A5 card, so it really became a signpost pointing to the website. More information would've been good at the "point of sale" to get people to visit. It might still come to pass - we'll see...
Whilst on the subject of the card, one of the mairies (so far) neglected to pin it to their board. This has been rectified, but it raised the question of whether it might have been better to print differently and include the information from the card on the same sheet. This is not something I would normally consider, but it's a case of adapting to the environment. With the card separate, there is nothing other than proximity to tie the two together. Will the audience understand?
One things that has only really occurred to me now I've seen things installed is how the context I envisaged changes with the surroundings, both in terms of being in the open in village centres or even almost rural surroundings, and what else is on the board. A fellow photographer friend (Dewald, one of the photographers shooting with me and Tanya for [( 6 )] Oxford) also noticed this, commenting on Twitter. Seeing things in a gallery context gives a certain expectation - it's in a gallery therefore it si art. Here it's on a community information boardtherefore is it something for the community? In a way, it is, and I've been pushing for community collaboration by offering to include their images on the website...
Also, and a really important point - the research is never over! Well, not until the project is finally put to bed, and even then... There's the research in terms of the project itself (e.g. Local history, additional communities - I'm still shooting, and whatnot) and in terms of getting it out there. Whilst in the Carhaix office I was asked if we'd been in touch with their communications department, which we didn't know existed. We also found out whilst talking to people that there are several of the mairies that do community newsletters - further details have been sent for inclusion in these.
It's also been HARD. Not being on site has brought its own difficulties that should be obvious. There's also the language barrier - my wife has been utterly awesome as there is no way I could have navigated all the things that have happened without her. I can get by, but it's more of a "not getting hungry" getting by than an "organising an exhibition" getting by. So hats off to her, I acknowledge I would've bitten off far more than I could chew without her...
That's it, the crepe (trois fromage, a local speciality I gather) has arrived and the pen and paper put away. It was time to chew on something else.
Monday 4th April was an incredibly hectic day, hitting the first mairie in Kergloff at 9:00, before our point of contact walked in with her dog (only a minute or so before). After a quick refresh about the raisin d'etre for the exhibition, the photograph was selected and on the information board just outside the mairie's offices, and a photograph taken of the two of us stood in front of it. A good and easy start.
The next mairies offices didn't have the keys to hand, so it was to go up later in the week. The third is still in the middle of a renovation and hasn't actually got an information board erected at the moment (it will be this month though). Things were beginning to dip a little...
Carhaix took delivery of their photograph and promised to have it up the following day, then asked whether we had been in touch with their communications team. We didn't know they had one as they hadn't mentioned it before, so the short answer was "no". A quick introduction was made and a promise to send some information later when we had a wifi connection was greeted with a pledge to see what they could do...
Almost lunch time already and one more squeezed in (to my local Plouyé office). Again, no keys to hand but a promise that the secretariat would pose for a photo with me later in the week (Marcel the maire wasn't feeling photogenic).
After lunch and a frenzied distribution of information, Poullaouen's maire wasn't in, so a return trip scheduled the following day. A couple more visited, and Loqueffret and Brasparts both put their photographs up, although no representatives were available and photo shoots rescheduled. I also took the opportunity to drop a poster under the door of the Brasparts Tourist Information office (which was closed on Mondays).
All in all, 11 mairies offices were visited (over 100 miles travelled in total, back and forth), with 10 photographs deposited and three put up straight away, and one photograph with a representative taken. A hard day, and not quite as immediate as I had hoped, but it was a good start...
Tuesday was filled with appointments and actions - people to call, people to visit and things to arrange. A visit to one of the mairies saw the photo installed but without the little card, this was sorted and a photograph taken with the maire... A bit of running around and Carhaix's image was installed on a smaller information board around the back of the building because it could be alone and not half hidden by other notices and such. Perhaps a nice thought on their behalf, but I actually like the way the photograph interacts with other posters, etc. One of the local newspapers met up for a photo shoot for the next day's paper (Le Poher), and posters were dropped into various locations.
The final visit for the day was with the maire of Poullaouen - earlier in the day he'd been rescuing an abandoned pig, and now he was posing for a photograph in front of my photograph he'd just selected and attached to the notice board next to the front door of his building. Such is the life of the mairies of rural Brittany...
So, many miles covered, most of the photographs installed and some media coverage achieved. Now let's see if anything comes back.