This weekend, 25th to 27th May, is Spring Fling – an open studios event taking place across this corner of Scotland. 93 different studios of artists, sculptors, ceramicists, photographers, weavers, printmakers and the like will be open to the public to meet the creatives in their own environment. This will be Maggie’s 6th and my 3rd year of participation in the event.
While it’s an excellent opportunity for people to meet the artists and buy from them directly, the kind of photography I do can’t be sold off the wall. No one is going to purchase a portrait of someone else, so what I need to do is create something more participatory, and give people a taste of what I do.
2 years ago I decided to take a quick portrait of anyone who visited my studio, and pinned the photos to the wall each time (see Facing The Weekend). This year I thought we could have a bit more fun and get everyone to dress up as a particular character.
It took several weeks from the initial idea to actually deciding what character to go for. I needed a look that would be iconic and recognisable but not too complicated to produce. Eventually the idea of Humphrey Bogart in trademark trilby and trench coat was mentioned and it seemed ideal. A few more weeks of tracking down something affordable from ebay resulted in acquiring the appropriate apparel.
I then needed someone to model for me while I worked out the appropriate angles and lighting, and fortunately the wonderful Alice Francis (see Photographing A Fish out of Water) came to my aid.
You can never be sure how these things are going to be received until you put them into practice. I might be inundated with people queuing up to be photographed as a Hollywood icon, or it might frighten everyone away.
The hope is I get a wide variety of people joining in – young, old, large, small, male, female – to fill my studio walls with as the weekend progresses. When everyone is photographed wearing the same outfit from the same angle with the same lighting, what it will do is emphasise the differences.
If you find yourself in the bottom left corner of Scotland this Saturday, Sunday or Monday, then do call in and stick on the hat and coat. I’m Studio 24 on the Purple Route of the Spring Fling trail. And if you have a bit of time, Maggie will be in Studio 32 – she will be delighted to see you and you won’t even have to dress up.