Photographing Traditional Characters
15/02/09 15:23 Filed in: Technique
The challenge at Viey La Cou in the late 1980's was that people had begun to realise that the old practitioners of the craft were on their last legs and the crush to take photographs became absurd.
It was wonderful to see these characters getting their just due and admiration, forgotten as they were by then on the road on Monday and Tuesday, but I wanted to get some decent photos.
I was able to make an arrangement to set up an impromptu studio space in the unused bar area off to the side of the old Queen's Hall, long before the massive renovations that would turn the space into an office.
In that space, I set up a backdrop that was painted for me by Illya Furlonge-Walker for a shoot with the Baggasse Company (I believe that it was Extremities, though the cloth since been reworked extensively) and two White Lightning 5000 strobes with umbrellas.
I shot on 6cm x 6cm Tri-X using an old Mamiya C330 twin-lens reflex camera I owned back then. The characters were corralled by Christine Johnston, who I was involved with at the time. Christine took extensive notes on the characters, notes that I have since long lost and because I only spoke to the subjects when they appeared in front of my lens, I have no knowledge at all of who they were.
The captions in the Virtual Gallery show are based on subsequent knowledge, which is both vulnerable to error and is also missing some identification.
The whole shoot didn't take terribly long, because they were photographed before they made their stage appearance and disappeared off to points and events unknown.