Monday, 2 August 2010

When everything happens at once, time bends to compensate

So this has just been one of those weekends where everything manages to happen at once!

So one way or another I found myself volunteering for Rhubarb Rhubarb's photography festival '10 - Collision, Where image worlds meet-. I didn't know much about it, and hadn't found the time to properly research because I'd been generally busy. Anyway, Thursday I find myself at Birmingham international airport ferrying reviewers from their planes to the train station. Seb forgot to give me a sign to hold so I had to make my own. I'm at the airport, I'm holding a hand written sign, it says 'RHUBARB', I'm getting funny looks. There's about an hour and a half in between each reviewer and the last one is delayed by an hour, I'm thinking WTF! It was okay though, everyone I picked up was really nice and friendly and I managed to get back to Birmingham, only 10 minutes late for my meeting.
I was 10 minutes late for my meeting but it was okay. Recently David Viney has accepted my request to make some photographic work for the up coming SHOUT Festival in Birmingham, so we met for drinks to discuss. I'm not going to say too much on that, but let's just say it is my most exciting project to date, so watch out for it in November.

I'm back volunteering, this time, in the AM at Aston business school. From the outside I thought it was a regular uni building but inside its a conference centre with a courtyard, fountains, a restaurant, breakfast area, bar, seating area, hotel the whole shebang! It was pretty cool and well designed. I was stationed in a room were reviewers from all round the world sat at tables whilst photographers came to have their work looked at. Every 20 minutes working under Nick's guidance I helped move people in and out of the room. It was surprisingly fun, and I was able to show my work to a lot of people, and the more I showed it, the more people wanted to see it.
DINNER WAS AMAZING!!! It was a buffet, with roast pork, beef stroganoff, mixed vegetables, a veggie table, salads and a dessert table with things like chocolate cheesecake. Believe me when I say I ate till I thought my stomach was splitting.
(Okay I'll speed it up now).
I was told about an exhibition Rhubarb was holding in the former ArtLounge in the Mailbox so I popped along. There was work by Adam Magyar, Vee Spears and Ricardo E. Zulueta and the Jackson Twins. To tell you the truth I loved it all, it's well set out and the work is of an excellent standard. Vee Spears' work is by the door and I love it, the colour, the desaturation, the props and the eerie look in some of the children's eye is captivating.The other work that really caught my attention was the theatrical creations by the Jackson Twins. They had managed to explore identity and doppelgangers by reflecting on their own being twins and their ability to change their identity whilst still reaching the same goals. Their work speaks for its self, and is full of clearly thought out visual stimuli. Their ability to become other people is astounding and often fooling. This isn't on for much longer and if you're in the area is definately worth seeing! The scale and types of presentation and display are something within themselves.
That evening I met with James Lawrence Slattery and we had an amazing time hanging out after so long at yet more Rhubarb Rhubarb related events. We went down to their headquarters in Digbeth for an exhibition of various local talents, with all the reviewers and photographer getting together. It was a great chance to meet on a social level.
Work that really stuck out to me was the surreal images by Zhao Renhul,
And the stunning images of children by Kelly Hill called 'In the cities'.From there we all went to a local pub, with a massive back beer garden, with benches -some occupied by mannequins playing checkers- and an amazing BBQ we're talking, burgers, sausages, Italian meatballs, everything that's delicious basically.

Saturday was the same as Friday in respects that I helped in the room showing people to the correct tables and moving them on when it was time. There was a great standard of work going round but I just couldn't wait to see what was for dinner. It was this day I managed to show my work to a lot of really great people, and they all pushed it onto one another. As soon as I showed it to Carry from Nottingham Trent University she made sure everyone knew about it and was going to see it. So, I got to have my work viewed by a lot of great people.
Saturday was also host to the Promenade where all the photographers laided out their work and people came round to see it. It was at the new Mac at Canon Hill Park and was a wicked night. It was fascinating to see such a high grade of varied photographic productions.
I had my work with me in a bag, and Mark McPherson -the founder of Big City Press, and independent publisher of the photographic book Hijacked- took charge. He had it out, on the table and was calling people over from left right and centre. He's a great guy with a wickedly friendly personality and I'm glad to have met him. At one point Carry comes over and says 'have you shown your work to the Jackson Twins yet?' I was baffled but low and behold there they were in the corner of the room wearing opposite shirts. I covered them in a torrent of verbal vomit trying to extract every piece of photographic based similarity between us in a very short space of time. They're wicked guys, really friendly and have such confidence in their work (By that I mean, they speak about it effortlessly, there's no erms, argh or it's kind of like's). So it made my evening to talk to them.

Sunday I wasn't working at the Business School because I had things to attend to but I managed to stop by. That afternoon however Kyle took me to yet another exhibition!!! This time in the Pallasades. Surprisingly it was really good. A great body of work by high speed and strobe photographer Harold Edgerton.The work is captivating and definitely worth a look, it's on until the 5th of September so there plenty of time to pop down and check it out. After this I returned home and got changed ready for the next Rhubarb Rhubarb event which was the unveiling of Adam Magyar's work at the building site of the new Central Library. They have displayed his picture on the large white boards showing his massively creative photographic work. It's all in the detail so I can't say too much but his work is on show both at the Library site and in the Mailbox exhibition.From here everyone moved on to the Mailbox to see the exhibition, which gave me a further chance to talk to the Jackson Twins in front of their work. There were a great many speeches and giving of gifts between the organisers (I caught the bouquet of flowers before they fell of the desk, my personal achievement of the day). After this we were taken to the Ikon Gallery for more chatting and tapas.

What can I say, I have had an amazing weekend! The best weekend since finishing university, and the most photographically involved weekend possibly ever. I would like to take this opportunity for some thanks of my own. I would like to thank Rhonda Wilson, Lorna-Mary Webb and Sebah Chaudhry for putting on a fantastic and well structured event. They looked after everyone with the greatest care, and made sure that my stomach saw the widest range of food since leaving home!!! I would also like to thank 'Uncle Zitty' for putting me in touch to Seb and making sure that I was able to volunteer at this event.

Then there's Diana and Simone for being great volunteers, and Nick for being thoroughly organised and co-ordinated. Carry from Nottingham Trent for being so passionate about my work, as well as Mark McPherson for being so positive and helpful.

So you would think that's it. What more could I possibly have to say!? Well, I went to uni and collected my results on Monday, and guess what? I have a First Class Honors Degree, receiving 80% in my Final Major Project. Yes, at the moment, life is good.

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