Friday, April 9, 2010

Over the hills and Herne Bay

This week's travel update... nothing to report - amazingly! I did what I should have done last week and just stayed on the M2, I got to Herne Bay in the predicted 2 hours as opposed to the 3 and a quarter hours it took me last week!

Steve and Gary weren't running the lesson this week so I met two new faces, Ted and Heidi.

Health and Safety was on the agenda and Heidi explained that she had an additional fire alarm in her home alongside the traditional battery operated version.... her little dog! Heidi has trained her dog to bark like crazy if there's a naked flame in a room with nobody in it! For example, if there's an ambient candle left burning in the living room and the occupier leaves for any reason, the dog will bark and go nuts until someone re-enters the room - absolute genius!

At the end of this weeks lesson I explained to Heidi and Ted what on earth I was doing in their lesson and who I was and made my request for models. Would you believe it, 7 out of the 8 attendees agreed to be photographed which was absolutely fantastic and much more than I expected - I thought I'd be lucky to get 2 people to agree! The people I've photographed (all of whom are potential Olympic Volunteers) look fabulous in the pictures and there are some real characterful (is that actually a word?) faces, which have made the set of photographs really interesting.

From my previous journeys to Herne Bay and Tunbridge Wells, I knew I wanted to have a consistency in the images, so I took head portraits against a light background using fill flash. I wanted these images to say something about "Volunteers" more than anything else and the fact that volunteers are so often unsung heros, especially in the context of the Olympics... the additional cost of paid staff would render the Olympics financially crippled.

To this aim I took the pictures slightly out of focus using a long exposure, therefore blurring the portrait of the person.

This was to signify two things:
1) Volunteers are proactive - hence movement in the picture
2) Volunteers are rarely noticed, they are more like objects that blur into the background

Above is my test shot of Lewis to give you an idea...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

War & Ice (work in progress...)

Stay on the M2

This is more like a "modern travelling around England" update than a Creative Campus update!  

I went to Herne Bay, mapless and tomtomless, on Tuesday to meet another arm of the Personal Best group. Not really knowing the east of england too well, as I was brought up in the west, I made a note of the roads I needed to go on M25, A2, M2, A299 and planned my journey before hand... However in this great travel plan I didn't take into consideration the fact that there might be more than one exit onto the A299! Having successfully navigated my way to the M2 I finally came across the exit screaming A299.  Enthusiastically I left the M2, proud with myself for having been so astute with my memory map reading... 

And here it went wrong... I proceeded along a scenic and confused jaunt through Chatham (WRONG WAY), on my way to Rochester (WRONG WAY) turned around, drove to Maidstone (BETTER DIRECTION BUT STILL WRONG), only to find myself on the road to Hastings (DEFINITELY WRONG WAY).  Having pulled over 3 times to let traffic past and try to gather my bearings via my shiny new (but free) iPhone (THANK YOU!!!) I decided to go back to the M2 and keep on the M2 until I got to the end of the M2 to conveniently discover the correct exit for the A299 - right at the very end of the M2!  It should have been so easy!

Finally in Herne Bay I met up with Steve, Gary and the Personal Best group.  I don't need to say it, but what a lovely and determined group of people.  It's really inspiring meeting people who have chosen to fight.  Giving up can be so easy, anyone can make excuses, but these individuals are really fighting to overcome their demons and you can see the determination in their eyes motivated by Steve.  This group are slowly rebuilding their lives through this programme and the opportunities it affords them such as being Olympic volunteers... All of the people I have met at these Personal Best groups really deserve to be part of the Olympics, they are real champions...

I think a few of them will be happy to be part of my project - I'm developing my photographic slant on how to capture the subjects and will actually take some images next week...

Another "Lewis" conversation...

Lewis's response to camping...