Monday, October 29, 2012

Work and Play

Somewhere between work and play at 23b are WORKSHOPS.  I take on projects (design and photography) for the sake of....learning new programs, new techniques, exploring options with new equipment and just to broaden my artistic horizons.  Oh yeah,'s really satisfying! And fun.

One three-day project I did recently was called "Endurance."  I didn't understand what this meant until after I did three days worth of walking around asking everyone I ran into if I could take their's hard work....especially if you consider I wandered the streets of Lusaka, walked thru the marsh behind our house, hit up everyone I knew at school and asked total strangers if I could take their photo.  It could have been called "ambush" but "endurance" sure sounds like something more pleasant than it was for me.  ....I asked the little girls (Loveless and Regina) who sit by the roadside stall in the afternoons on the walk between our house and our friends' house.  I asked men on their way to work, kids running home from school.  I pushed the limits of my comfort zone and it was exhausting.  Truly tiring and hard work. I took my little one-boy cheering squad with me. (Thanks to FPFJ who refuses most of the time to be photographed but is a great support otherwise and good company always).

The project was supposed to be a film project -- but I cheated and used my digital camera, treating it as much as possible like a film camera...turned off the display, turned off all the options and 'auto' settings.   This also meant (except for the sweetest little thing ever) limiting myself to 2 photos per person and abandonning the on-screen processing and any but the most basic 'darkroom' corrections....all part of the 'pretend it's film' challenge.  The suggestion was to go buy a cheap little B&W film camera.  Uh. Truly not possible.  And so...we improvise.

At first it was kind of a bummer to look thru that view-finder and not see colour.  The beautiful thing about photography and specifically photography here in the land of full spectrum sunlight is the brilliance of the colours we see most every day.   Where the palette for Seattle artwork is so often grey. Dark grey and light grey and plain ole grey and some greenish grey....and blueish grey. I love this palette for the subtlety, for the softness, the...grey-ness.

But Zambia -- holy canoli -- the colours are so IN YOU FACE it's ridiculous. And contagious! as evident by the RED dress I'm wearing now... when would I ever wear a red dress in my beloved emerald city without feeling like a Seafair clown? No offence meant to the Searfair clowns. But my closet is mostly black.  and some white. now brown maybe blue.  But RED, come on!

Oh, I am blabbing.  I need to put something up on my work website but when I think about black and white the words just spill out.  not something you need but really not something my clients need...they get enough of that already.

After this project, however, and obsessing over B&W photography for the past 3 weeks...  a new signature look is even emerging....whitewashed, overexposed, bare, casual, candid...O obliged by modelling for me recently. I can't get him to ever look INTO THE CAMERA.

meanwhile thing 2 only ever lets me take one photo at a time. always with that straight on steely stare.  He can get away with it. what a guy.