The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

127 Humphrey Bogarts

Spring Fling is over for another year and my studio walls are now adorned with 127 Humphrey Bogarts.

Trench coat and trilby - time for a comeback...

One of the effects of photographing everyone wearing the same hat and coat, from the same angle, with the same lighting, is it emphasises the differences. And what differences there were!

Young, old, large, small, male, female, bearded, clean shaven, long and short hair, with and without glasses. The youngest was 2-year-old Cameron, and the oldest was 93-year-old Auriole. Some looked a bit awkward in the outfit while others absolutely owned it. Anne, a petite woman in her 60s for whom the coat was at least 10 sizes too big, still managed to look really chic.

Far more women than men took part – by a ratio of around 2 to 1. But then it wasn’t uncommon to get small groups of friends – three or four women going round the trail together – who would then egg each other on. One or two would be bold and enthusiastic and not allow anyone else in their group to chicken out. By contrast, I didn’t get any groups of men coming in together.

Some men had to be persuaded by their wives to join in, and some women by their husbands. One thing’s for certain, though – if I’d had a stack of trilbies to sell, I’d have made a fortune. I lost count of the number of people who made some kind of comment, in a particular tone of voice, about their partner looking rather good in the outfit…

Special thanks go to my assistant for the weekend, Maria, who’s the 15-year-old daughter of my friend, Susi. I’d assumed my son, Rogan, would be helping me out but he had his Advanced Higher Physics exam on Monday so couldn’t spare the time. Fortunately Maria came to the rescue. While I was busy photographing people, she was welcoming other visitors through the door, explaining the set up, encouraging them to take part, getting them to fill out a model-release form, telling them how cool they looked when the photo was printed, and sticking the images to the wall. It’s fair to say the weekend wouldn’t have been anything like as successful without her.

After closing up late on Monday afternoon, giving Maria a lift home, picking up Maggie from her studio in Kirkcudbright, getting an Indian take-away for dinner, devouring the Indian take-away and sitting down with a nice cup of tea, I checked my emails, and found this waiting for me in my inbox.

"Just a quick note to say how much my family enjoyed visiting your studio on Saturday during Spring Fling. Cosmas and Serafina loved having their photo taken and watching you produce a print of it. Thanks for taking the time to answer my children's questions.

"Even though my youngest daughter, Anona, was too shy to have her picture taken, the visit to your studio obviously had a very positive effect on her. She found my old camera and spent the whole weekend taking photos. When we visited another studio on Sunday, she insisted on taking the camera with her to take photos of things that she found interesting."

Tired and exhausted from three very intense days, I was feeling a little emotionally fragile. This turned out to be the perfect balm.

Here’s an image created by merging 4 photos so you can see all the Bogarts on the wall

But if you’d like to see them all a little closer up, then watch the video below. Of course I couldn’t use any other soundtrack than "As Time Goes By" from Casablanca


Kateri Von Steal said...

My favorite of the slideshow, is the elderly woman at the 14 second mark.

This was a creative and awesome idea!

Kim Ayres said...

Kateri - ah yes - Gerd was 80 last birthday and for about 28 hours was the oldest on the wall - until Auriole turned up (at the 1 min 30 sec mark) :)

Titus said...

What a brilliant idea Kim - so sorry I couldn't get there! Fabulous images.

Kim Ayres said...

Titus - thank you :) I'm sure you would have looked dead cool in a trilby :)

Guyana-Gyal said...

Just what I needed to cheer me! I like 'em all, some look so shy, but look at the expression on the children's faces, haha.

I enjoy the way the women egged on each other, it's so typical of women everywhere :-)

Kim Ayres said...

Guyana-Gyal - all the children were great - far less self-conscious and more than happy to get into character, even if they had no idea who Humphrey Bogart was :)

Hindsfeet said...

you wear it *so* *well*, Kim!

Anonymous said...

These are great! I particularly like the Humphrey Bogart with a wig.
I have to mention...I found the term "Indian take-away" interesting. On this side of the Atlantic there are similar sayings.

hope said...

What a wonderful collection...and you were BORN to wear that outfit! :)

Did I see poet Mark Williams in that bunch? It's always fun to look at a group of strangers, then think, "Wait a minute....isn't that Meg?"

Well done friend!

Pat said...

Wonderful post Kim and I marvel at how you coped with the sheer hard slog of a day - physically - you coped with.
I gave MTl'S Bogart mac to charity only the other day. He would never let me ditch it:)

Pat said...

Sorry about the errors - trying to do three things at once and failing miserably.

katierobertsart said...

That is so great Kim! Well done :)

savannah said...

what a very cool idea! i wnat to stand in front of each photo and really look at the faces. they're all so perfectly framed by the coat and hat. xoxoxox

Eryl said...

Such a brilliant idea, and perfectly executed. I'm going to come to your studio next year if it kills me.

And, oh, that email! You may have created a new photographer.

Kim Ayres said...

Liz - thank you :)

Allen - not sure there were any wigs - a couple of dodgy haircuts, perhaps, but no wigs I was aware of :)

Hope - yes, you saw Mark and Meg - well spotted :)

Pat - there's something about interacting with people that quite often energises rather than depletes me. I got most tired during the times when it was quiet and no one was coming into the studio.

Katie - thank you :)

Savannah - all the photos are still up on my wall, but I'll probably start taking them down in the next day or two

Eryl - it was such a lovely email - made me feel like I must be doing something right :)

LL Cool Joe said...

What a great idea, and I love the way they all look the same and yet so different.

Kim Ayres said...

LL Cool Joe - thank you - you should try a trilby/fedora sometime- I'm sure you would know how to make it look cool :)

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