TYB : A tutorial with Les

Last week I had a tutorial with Les Bicknell on the Testing Your Boundaries project. I’ve left it late to document it, but here is what I recall:

There was a very brief discussion about the lack of time and therefore enthusiasm that I’d been having, which had been lifted slightly with the news of acceptance from the first of the French mairie’s to host images as part of TYB. Plans for moving home are taking over at the moment (due to be completed some time around Easter…)

There was more prolonged discussion about how the villages that will be displaying the work might be connected to each other, whether there was any logic to the choice of venues (there wasn’t really – they’re a mix of those I’d been photographing). A phrase I wrote down during this time was

Extend to Exchange…

By this it was meant how to use connections from the UK in France, and vice versa. For example, is it possible to use a connection in the UK to open doors in France, to get past “gate guardians” that might block the way? Can twinned towns provide any possibilities – display in the UK to display in France, etc.

As it happens, Tanya and I have been talking with a small group of photographers we’ve exhibited in the past about photographing the English city of Oxford with the intention of having the images displayed in Oxford, Nova Scotia, and then if I go over there for the exhibition, photograph NS to display in England… The same principle.

Also, my wife (who just so happens to be French, hence my connection to the country) is a member of a twinning committee here in the UK. I’ve yet to broach this, but we have been invited over to France via this twinning committee to photograph the street art in Vitry sur Seine – I’ve no time to do this at the moment, so something for the future.

This all seems to be leading towards “art tourism” – I liked this phrase and will likely reuse it at some point. This came from my idea that you would need to go out of your own area to see the other images and those from your own (acknowledging that many will actually just look online if they’re interested), and that I hope to put flyers/posters in the tourist information offices, etc.

The actual display of work was also discussed, and how the work and the display can become a “book” in its own right, the work on one page and the work on display on the facing page – a recto-verso pairing. It might well be a worthwhile exercise to produce this book as part of the documentation.

Returning to the way that the mairie were selected, there was s recognition of the gap between the two (the mairie and the site the photograph was taken), it is not planned for any mairie to display an image taken in its own locale, so there is something of a journey to be taken between the two, the art tourism thing. This then lead to how this might be exploited, and to talk of video taken en route from the ferry to near my house – a similar thing might be done here also (Go-Pro stop motion type thing – “draft” video here).

The project is slowly progressing, with the exhibition planned to commence the first week in April (our next trip to France), and with the website at louprenardbelette.weebly.com and social media promotion starting now.