The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

The Paranoia of Flowers

The 3rd video in this series promoting the release of The Odd Sock Exchange by my friend, the poet David Mark Williams, had him dressed up as a daffodil (the national flower of Wales: coincidence, or not?).

Mark (as he's known to his friends) is a very warm and friendly individual with a wonderful sense of humour, although you would never suspect this if you were to judge him purely on how he appears in the numerous photos I've taken of him looking mean, moody and intense.

I often like to say, "I make people look cool for a living," but when I called round on Mark and was confronted with a bright yellow face and a headpiece, I knew this was going to be a delightfully different kind of shoot.

I was going to write more about the making of the video, but to be honest, Mark covers pretty much everything I was going to say, but from a better perspective. Scroll down below the video for his view of the experience.

Shooting The Paranoia of Flowers

This was the one for me that was the most fun to do. It felt very relaxed and this time the number of takes was not necessitated by me forgetting my lines but because Kim and I wanted to try out different approaches. A friend had suggested I should deliver the poem with a Welsh accent which was very easy for me as I am Welsh. However, we decided to try out other versions as well and the one we settled upon was the most intense and least comic, which seemed to fit the mood of the poem better.

It was my idea to dress up as a daffodil (those of you who remember the band Genesis will realise this was also a little nod to Peter Gabriel). When I pitched the idea to Kim I wondered how he would react. I needn’t have worried. He loved the concept and was up for the technical challenges involved. For me, the concern was how to make myself look like a daffodil. This was much easier than I had imagined thanks to Google. We found a mail order company that specialised in novelty items and these included daffodil heads (very much in demand on St David’s Day apparently). Then I needed to acquire some yellow face paint which wasn’t too hard to come by (a store in Dumfries sold a good quality product) and that was it. Daffodil Man was created.

Originally we had thought we might use an outdoor location. Daffodils were in bloom so there was a time constraint to get the shoot done before the flowers were past their best. However I baulked at the prospect of being spotted dressed as a daffodil by the general populace of Castle Douglas. We decided it would be best to do the shoot in my backyard. Problem was we didn’t have any daffodils so my job on the day of the shoot was to buy a pot of them. I couldn’t believe when I went to the supermarket to discover how few there were available but eventually I came away with one, albeit rather small.

I applied my yellow face paint before Kim arrived. When I heard the door bell, I hid behind the door. My disembodied voice ushered Kim inside.

When Kim saw my pot of daffodils he declared them to be too small. Don’t worry, he said, I’ll see if I can find some bigger ones. He was back within minutes clutching some fine specimens. I didn’t enquire too closely how he’d obtained them.

We were blessed with good weather. The sun shone and we did the shoot in record time. It took me much longer to remove the yellow paint. For days afterwards there was still the suggestion of jaundice about my gills.
David Mark Williams


Old habits die hard, so after we'd finished filming I knew I wouldn't rest until I took a photo of him looking mean, moody and intense, even if his face was still bright yellow...

On Saturday 21st November Mark is having a book launch at the Gordon Memorial Hall in Castle Douglas. Do come along if you can.

Meanwhile, tune in later this week for the final one in this series of performance poet videos, I Don't Know The Address.


savannah said...

...swooping down out of the dusk."

there is, for me, such great joy in hearing a poet recite his work and this time he WAS the work/the poem. well done, gentleman. and you, kim, with your "i make people look cool for a living." most excellent, sweetpea, most excellent! i am smiling because i know you! xoxoxox

hope said...

I will never look at a daffodil the same way, ever again. :)

I find myself looking appreciating the day's work, yet looking forward to the next one. And I find Mark's look more pensive than mean. ;)

Kim Ayres said...

Savannah - one of the things I love about Mark's poetry is his delivery. He's been honing his skills at performing over many years. Too often poems are recited in a dull and dreary voice - almost monotone apart from a drop at the end of each sentence - whereas Mark will put life, emotion and subtlety into it :)

Hope - Just one more to come for now. Not sure yet whether it will be posted on Thursday or Friday...

Mavis said...

I'm desperate to see this but all I'm getting is a blank yellow screen. I had no trouble with the previous ones so I'm puzzled, but will try again tomorrow. I so agree with what Kim says about your delivery,Mark. You really bring your poems to life so I hope I get to hear this one soon.

Kim Ayres said...

Mavis - try going to YouTube directly - here's the link:

Pat said...

I believed in Mark's daffodil.

Allen Capoferri said...

Wonderful. :)

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - he's very convincing :)

Allen - thank you :)

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

"The sky is glass and about to break."

Our poor, fragile life. This poem is today, isn't it?

Mark delivers his poetry like a professional actor.

Kim Ayres said...

Guyana Gyal - he is good, and wonderful to work with :)

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