Friday, 31 August 2007

Haiku Photography

In conversations over the course of the Fringe I shared with Christina of Seth and Christina. She liked the way I had captured what was happening on the High Street. I told her that many years ago I fell in love will the Haiku poetry.

The beauty I’ve always found in the form is how in such a few words an entire picture can be conveyed.

Poetry in terms of the classics like Wordsworth and Marvell are great, but they in their wording describe the whole visual image. They’ll tell you the colour of the sky, the colour of the grass. They could be described as wide angle poets.

Haiku poets like Basho and Issa were telephoto poets. Their words describing a scene thru just a portion of the overall picture.

Old Pond,
Leap, splash,
A frog!


In a dragonflies eye,


My photography is in the most part inspired by that Haiku tradition. You will find a reasonable number of wide angle photographs in the pages of work throughout my blog empire. But the majority of photographs are telephoto or at times extreme telephoto. Where the overall image is reduced to just a small part of the overall picture. Where it is for the person viewing the image to use their imagination and own creativity to fully appreciate the whole scene that is displayed before them.
Images reduced to a fraction of the overall picture. Last year I photographed two performers. They thought they were getting a full length portrait what they got was one of my favourite shots from last year.
If I could have used even longer lenses this year I would have had more opportunity to play around. What I could do to recreate the idea is crop images already in use down to just portions and it would be like a game for anyone arriving; you could try to figure out where they come from!

Promotion or How to get an Audience Part1

This year was a little slow on the Royal Mile. T-shirts and sweatshirts seemed to have taken over on mass. Photographically pretty boring really. That might just mean that's how everyone else views it too.

Now arrive in costume. Arrive with puppets, paper-mache heads and you have all you need to draw your potential audience to yourselves. Blunderbus Theatre Company enchanted everyone with the colour and humour of their activities on the High Street.
Spotlites Theatre Company put more hours in on the High Street than even I did this year. If there were bubbles on the High Street Merlin and his band of followers I'm sure would be behind them somewhere.

Livewire arrived on the High Street, a cast dressed to "kill!" Or as headlines in the Edinburgh Evening News said "Fringe Swordsman Foils Muggers."

There is another way to get yourself noticed don't wear much!! More on that later.

Another promotion technique is just get out there on the street, especially when you're Dave Benson Philips of Get You're Own Back fame. I was surprised as to how much time Dave spent on the street. In the end proud to have met and chatted to him. He put in a good few days pounding the High Street, unlike a good few others who share the mantle of television personality, and High Street Promotion would be something for others to do on their behalf.

Another promotion method is make a lot of noise. Bang On!!! they know that works, but they know the street, because that's where they've always performed. I watched as they waited for a performer to finish their show before starting their own. They'd not start a show and destroy a crowd that was not their own. They show the respect that needs to be shown on the High street. High Kicking and loud, with an annoying drum beat; you'll not find any photos here! You showed no respect, to all on the High Street, whether Fringe or Street Performer. I only photograph people who respect all theatre!

Black and White Pieces

In Chess the first move you make can decide whether you win or loose. The Devil, Chess, A Burlesque from Foul Play Productions made the right opening move and won every game they played on the Royal Mile.

Drawing attention to themselves, courting controversy in the visual images they presented on the High Street. They almost had a Fringe guard as they moved square by square up and down promoting their show.

Of course I was drawn to record images they presented on the High Street. I think every red blooded male on the High street got caught up in the glamour and spectacle they saw before them. Sex sells! There are no ifs, no buts.

Even in today’s world of political correctness images of fantastic looking models and actresses still adorn the pages of Newspapers and magazines selling us things. So why not on the Royal Mile promoting their show.

In terms of a visual pick me up for the last week The Devil, Chess a Burlesque was just what the High Street needed. The Knights moved controlling their places, the Pawn moved as instructed and each of the Queens played right to the point where it was checkmate on the High Street.

For me I had to resign well before the end of the game. For stunning visual relief after a few days of liquid sunshine, The Devil
Chess, a Burlesque, was for me a Five film show. I never got to see!!

My Favourite Subject Matter

Beautiful women. What more can I say. If there is one subject that dominates all other subject matter I enjoy shooting on the High Street it is beautiful women.
Promotion for any production comes down to just a few key elements. The colour, the costume and a good looking girl handing out flyers.
I of course take flyers from almost everyone; but as some of the Fringe staff no I have ulterior motives for a pocketful of flyers; the bollards that wobble can be wedged to stay steady with just the right amount of paperwork.
Flyering on the High street is a hard pastime, I know I’ve spent years photographing and promoting my run of exhibitions. One of the slight advantages I’ve had is of course using photographs as flyers. And of course only selectively flyering. And as Beautiful Stu does with his street show, I get asked for mine. And of course not being flyers, being “photographs” I can pass them out to people who would not normally take one.
Over the years I’ve used a set to tactics to entice people along to the exhibition space, whether it was the pub venue or as with this year my web space. Give me a flyer and you may have to pay the price! That price is of course having your photograph taken.
I always find a few people to pester over the years. Ask Firefly Productions when I first met them back in 2000. I was caught by the beauty of Melissa Ham Ellis. After that point I was hooked.
Then there was Broads With Swords, Livewire Productions, Z Theatre Company, last year of course it was Something Else Productions. A fantastic crowd, a fantastic cast, a wonderful show. This year’s draw for me and so many others was Foul Play Productions and Black Rainbow Productions.
A big photographic thank you to everyone concerned. And an even bigger thank you to those of you out there who let me annoy them on the High Street.

Were You in Edinburgh And Did I Photograph You

Hi All,

If you were and found yourself here get in touch.

I'll add your web page to my links list. Give you photos if you can add a link to me. All I would like back is web traffic.



Hard Working

During my time on the High Street I managed to add another famous face to my collection. That of Dave Benson Philips.
He was such a pleasure to chat to, and photograph. Even more fun was his willingness on one or two occasions to be dragged off in search of a photo opportunity.
He told me of his surprise as to how much work would be involved in getting an audience; let alone a critic thru the door. One of his days out on the mile was just that as a tag line. “No critics, no star’s, we’d be happy with just one star!”
Well Mr Dave Benson Philips, I’d like to reward you with 5 stars or in photographic terms a smallbrown rating of 5 films, just for the amount of effort you put into promotion on the Royal Mile.

Red Bull and Chocolate

My diet for the duration of my holiday will probably kill me. Sadly I’m a smoker so I’m probably set for an early retirement anyway.

And waking up at five/ six am I always need that coffee fix to get me started. For the most part of the first week I was kept away from the High Street, although did manage a few hours. Especially the day I knew I wanted to be there for George and Gwen’s Wedding.
The great thing about waking up early was spending a little time working on the computer before I left the house. Even better was someone had passed me on a link to a web cam showing what was happening on the High street. At 5am, there were more seagulls wandering up and down the high street than people. But what was great was watching as the Sun came streaming up the street, hopefully that might mean a little sunshine to take photographs by; but on the High street it’s not guaranteed.
On the few days I made it on to the High street before 11am, which this year were a lot less than normal breakfast for me had become that of Red Bull and chocolate. Apart from the morning I was invited by Sham and a few other performers to breakfast. Although a breakfast of bacon, waffles and maple syrup will probably do me no favours on the health front, just like Red Bull and chocolate.

On my diet of all of the above I did manage to spend a few days on the sugar and caffeine high to get a reasonable number of photographs. Some of which I am quite proud of. Still not my best work, but then again maybe I’m my own worst critic.
Maybe what I should do is get people to pick their choice of my Fringe images. Even doing that I’d not be happy, because I’d always find fault in what had been chosen.