TYB : Presentation

The presentation of the TYB project went painlessly enough, talking over the shared slides. In discussing further a few thoughts came more to the fore in my mind, and I've also been asking myself questions about this body of work and my oeuvre in general. First of all though, the comments that were raised by Les and the cohort:

I spoke about how the organisation may not have been made any easier by my style of photography; I don't really make pretty photographs. Mathew countered this with what I must assume was an observation based on the 2 or 3 "purer" landscape images, the mist over the hills or in the trees. These won't be a part of the printed selection and are really there to pander to the needs for "prettiness". Is this a cop out? Have I sold myself short by including them? In a way I have, but then I'm sure I'm not the first to compromise a little on these things.


Ode Tredudon

Mathew also questioned the 2 empty whisky bottles by the corn field, and whether these were a metaphor for the loss of people form the region. I rather glibly responded that the people liked a drink (I have more photographs in the same vein, but the light works better in that one). In truth though, I'd not consciously thought about it like that, but all of the images are really within one of maybe three themes; the melancholy emptiness of the region, or the protest (resistance) or perhaps, in conjunction with one of the previous themes, a touch of quirkiness (use of colours, fluffy bikes, etc.). Yes, there's other things too but it's mostly shot through with these themes - even down to the Fest-Noz posters which, of course, are written in Breton. So, on a subconscious level, I will have picked up on this. It's my way of working. It's sometimes a surprise what you find in your own work when you stop and think about it. And that's what I'd appreciate more than anything; people stopping and thinking about it rather than being momentarily charmed by a vapid prettiness (that's a different "vapid" than what might be drawn from the images).

Tanya mentioned that perhaps Brasparts might be an idea for the location for a second exhibition. Maybe that might be the case, based on their interest in this first one. I'd certainly like to pull together a second exhibition, and have mooted such an idea as part of the proposal with the mairies - that the original images will be pulled back into a single location. I particularly like the idea that these images might be the original images, perhaps with signs of weathering, fading or whatever. A flavour of having been outside... I think in reality this might be a bit of a pipe dream for the moment - it certainly can't be until next year due to other commitments, but then it will either have to be a short show, or there is a logistics issue with taking it down again. I'm not sure I'd be able to stay in country long enough for it to be worthwhile...

Les questioned whether I'd made it all a bit too difficult, that I'd set my sights too high and was trying to achieve something... not impossible, but dogged with issues. The language, the distance, the time required for responses to be forthcoming, etc. I don't think so though. The work needs to be seen in such a way, it makes sense to me for it to be seen in this way. I'm not sure I'd have been really happy for it to be seen any other way. I draw a parallel to an earlier body of work I've produced, Into the Valley, which should be viewed in the Ribble Valley, where it was photographed. At least initially. I've resisted this being shown elsewhere first, and perhaps its time has passed now - there is a reluctance for it to be shown as intended within the local gallery system as there are photographs of people (even children) and I don't have model releases. Not that I legally needed them. Perhaps the French system isn't so bureaucratic and oppressive after all - I've encountered the same over here in England!

The other question that came to me indirectly (i.e. it wasn't raised by Les or the cohort, rather as I sat thinking just before the presentation) was "why do I photograph the journey?" I'll save this for a future post - I think it needs some serious contemplation, although I do have a sort of half answer ready...

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