Saturday, 20 March 2010

The Caravan Gallery

On Thursday evening I went to the Caravan Gallery talk by photography team Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale. I thought this would be very useful for me as I've been working on the RSA stamp project - to design stamps that represent the contemporary cultures of each British country.

The name Caravan gallery comes from a little Caravan they adopted and painted yellow which travels round with them as an exhibiting space. What could be more British? The pair travel to different places in the country and spend some time photographing what they see, 'trying to capture the essence of a place' as they put it. They explained they often spent the day photographing and then after a visit to Asda or Boots 1 hour photo service they would exhibit the photos in the caravan for people to see.

Looking at many of the photos they've taken, you can see that photography is just a way to document for them, many of them are not great photos in terms of composition or quality, but what they have is a keen observational eye. They capture real moments of time, sometimes extraordinary moments which you could never have conjured up. I like the idea of documenting and exhibiting the photos so quickly, from what they said it seems that the caravan is a very accessible place that many of the locals feel comfortable visiting. Through doing this they can build relationships with the subjects of the photographs and this makes the photos even more special.

I'm glad I went to this talk after a long day at uni! They're work has inspired me to do a little project about my own village over Easter. I moved there when I was 13 and have never really liked it - it has never crossed my mind to photograph the place, and as my parents could be moving to France any day now, I'd like to document it in a similar way before I have no reason to go back their! It has also given me a new angle to think about what I could do with my stamp project and how I could maybe take it in a different direction once I've designed the stamps.

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