This weekend past, Maggie and I had hundreds of people visit our studios as part of the Spring Fling Open Studios event, which happens every May in this region. Along with 95 other artists and makers across Dumfries and Galloway, we flung open our doors for visitors to come and meet us in our own environments and see our work. This was Maggie's 7th year taking part, and my 4th.
Last year I decided to dress visitors up and photograph them with a trench coat and trilby under the heading, "I'm Humphrey Bogart and So's My Wife". It generated a lot of interest and laughs and by the end of the weekend my walls were covered in people posing as the Hollywood icon (see 127 Humphrey Bogarts for more details)
Fun though that was, in the weeks and months following, I realised some people had left with the impression I was just a photo-booth photographer, which was not the reputation I wanted to develop.
This year, therefore, I took some of my favourite constructed narrative fantasy photos, had them printed up to A2 size and framed, and put up back stories and accompanying photos underneath. The aim was to educate and excite visitors with the idea anything is possible when it comes to photography.
When you can be the hero, heroine, or even villain of your own epic masterpiece, why settle for something mediocre?
So I've spent the last 3 days talking almost non-stop about fantasy photography and the stories behind the photos on the walls - from the difficulties overcome to create them to aspects about light and composition.
Every artist and maker involved in Spring Fling is utterly exhausted after a highly intensive three days and all the time involved making preparations in the lead up to the event.
This year, however, I'd had to get everything prepared the week before because from the Monday to Friday immediately prior to Spring Fling I was on an intensive 5-day film making course. Award winning film making professionals were imparting knowledge and insights, and we had to make a three to five minute creative documentary on an artist as part of the course. We had one day to film it and a day and a half to edit it.
On Friday evening, the films were then shown in the Burns Centre - a small arts cinema in Dumfries. It was incredibly cool seeing them up on the big screen - especially as we'd only finished editing them a couple of hours before.
At some point we will be getting copies of the films and will be allowed to put them online. When that happens I'll write a bigger post with more stories about it all.
In the meantime, after 8 very intensive days, I'm trying to find a little bit of space to recover...