Where the art is

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Here are some liquid light images that I did yesterday in the darkroom.  They are 35mm film photographs developed and printed onto Fabriano paper.  I took the pics on our college trip to Warsaw in February.  These show the Soviet-built People’s Palace of Science and Culture.  I am happy with the images- the grey magnificence/vainglory of the building, foregrounded by the effortless grace of trees tracing intricate, delicate patterns in the air. I might put them in frames (I did a lot- some stones and a dozen or so prints onto paper) for our scratch show, as part of the end of year extravaganza at College in June.

I made an effort to frame the prints well, trying to ensure that the picture appeared within the area covered with the liquid light (not easy because you can’t see where it sits on the paper).  I tried to do just a couple of simple broad brush-strokes in the middle of the paper and it mostly has worked.  I don’t like to see the edge of the negative, rather I aim for it to look as if the image itself has been brushed on, as below.  This is a young woman who was handing out leaflets on Sunday morning, looking elegant and charming.  I asked her permission to take this pic and she posed beautifully.  This is a bit of a departure for me.  I don’t like the idea of street photography, without permission- too much like soul-stealing- but this seemed fine.  I took a few others of women and a little girl which I might print later.  So I was pleased with how this looks on the page- I missed her feet but got her head, probably more important.

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There is a lot to blog about at the moment, and I now have only 30 minutes or so, so will need to come back to catch all the things that are going on.

Two main projects to write about:

1.  End of Equality

Bea Campbell is the main draw for this conversation event for women in Leeds on May 16th.  We have over 70 women registered, and lots more who are coming but haven’t let us know except by work of mouth, so we’re expecting 70-80. My main interest is in the ‘harvesting’- so we’re filming, taking still photographs, recording with words and pictures and doing some poetic word-gathering.  This will get published on our Facebook page, on YouTube, and in a book I aim to make of photo-poems.  I’ve asked everyone in the planning group what they want from the harvest and we’re discussing it at our meeting tomorrow. I’m expecting the unexpected, as well as great things.

2.  Love Arts/Light Night collaborative project

Siobhan Maguire-Broad invited Carol Sorhaindo and me to work together on a submission to the Love Arts festival this October.  We are all MA students, with an interest in site-specific, image-based responses to particular environments- finding and recording the stories of evocative places.

We are working on a collaborative, creative response to St John’s Church in town (and the surrounding green space) for a show inside the church as part of the Festival, which also might be included in the Light Night shenanigans (we hope so).  Themes are Death and Light, so we are thinking about shadows, seeking stories and meaning in and around the church, including underneath the surfaces.  I’ve got a massive roll of out-of-date colour photographic paper which we might use to create lumen prints from the ‘stuff’ of the place, debris, unacknowledged beauty, ‘rubbish’…  I’d like to do rubbings and overlay them with other images, prints etc… Might do some B&W pics onto liquid light and found objects from the location.  I also met a young woman on a stall at the Leeds Arts Party who has developed photographic images onto leaves (she was selling them in frames- beautiful and delicate).  As well as using liquid light, she was placing transparency sheets from digital images onto living, green leaves- photosynthesis changes the colour of the leaf where it is exposed to light thus making the image- a bit like cyanotypes.  This is very exciting and to be explored.

So lots of ideas for methods and media and lots of scope for catching the multifarious meanings lying hidden among the shadows and cracks of earth, plants, stone, brick and wood in the oldest church in Leeds.

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