Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A New Book and a Festival in the South of France

The Book Cover of "Sete 2010 #2010

Last week, I went to a remarkable gathering in Sete, a small fishing port in the south of France. A gathering of hard working documentary photographers organized by CeTaVoir.

The festival is 3 years old and called "Images Singulieres". It was a simple event organized by Giilles Favier, Valerie Laquittant, Christian Caujolle, a hard working staff and many many volunteers... Bravo to all of them. We had a blast! Wow, delicious home cooking served to delicacy from the talents of Francoise Davidenko and arduous staff!

And a big thanks to Nathalie Belayche of Food for Your Eyes who introduced my "Last Stop: Rockaway Park" work to CeTaVoir.

Last year in September I lived in Sete for 5 weeks... I previously mentioned the work while I was still working on it in 2009. It was a crazed idea that we actually pulled off-- make a book of something in the order of 60 images to publish as a book within 7 months time, from the time I began shooting 120 rolls of 120 film from the time that the work went to press in April.

Unbelievable, right? Or at least, I thought so. I still can't believe I survived, that we all came together to do this and now have an object. We have a book of portraits of the people of Sete and the tourists that pass through the city, parking their campers on the edge of town along the French Mediterranean.

As I sit here in my dining room, listening to the soothing tunes of Krishna Das lulling me to peace, I am far away from the challenge of last year of creating a piece of work in a short amount of time without losing my crackers or returning home with a acidic hole in my stomach.

That said, I did it! Just like the other two residents before me, Anders Petersen and Bertrand Meunier, given the same honor of working with free film to shoot, a book to be published and a show at a welcoming festival, I survived the the fear of coming up short, of the day to day, moment to moment, of meeting new subjects and captioning a personal vision of Sete. I found it without much intellect, but in chaos without reason or structure. I rolled with the punches and the truth of the moment. Perhaps, making art is putting the cerebral aside and just feeling the internal as well as the external and bringing them together in a clear moment of connection between model and subject.

In the end, I learned a new skill that made it all the worthwhile... I learned to make connections quickly with subjects and began to trust my creative intuition. Well, spent time!!

The week went quickly. I must make note of others who helped along the way.... Andre Frere of the French fine art publishing house, Images En Manoeuveres. We worked tediously over the last couple of months through Skype conversations, winter colds, his busted foot, and other unmentionables. I also have to thank my photo agency, Contact Press Images of which so many members, editors, photo directors stood by my side on this side. And I need to thank the city, the subjects in the book and mayor of Sete who let me scramble around, take their photograph and with great dignity!

The show was a success... the curator and writer of the book, Christian Caujolle did a lovely job of bringing the work to life at a historic site on a hill above the ocean. All good, all very good.

Not, to mention there was a wonderful line-up of photographers from abroad whose work was equally blessed to be hung in enchanting historic building around the center of the city. Some of the photographers include:

Jacob Holdt
Micheal Ackerman
Christopher Anderson
Lars Tunbjork
Gleb Kosorukov
Pieter Ven Hoopen

Sete is a wonderful place where the average non photophile has a curiosity for art and photography. It was a pleasure to see some many of the natives come to the shows and slide shows that Gilles Favier and Valerie Laquittant organized.

Please, take the time to look at the sites of not only the photographers that were part of the festival, but also, the festival itself. I felt proud to be in their company.

For now, the book is available through the publisher or with French Amazon.

Soon distribution will hit the states and other international locations.

Yes, I will keep you informed as I learn of the progress!

Peace as always!