An organised event

I was lucky to be staying in Marazion, Cornwall, during the first week of May. A planned Maypole dance on the beach was an ideal opportunity to catch up with my exercise work and complete  my 2nd assignment.  The event is a pagan ritual celebrating the beginning of summer, usually held on a village green. Being on a public beach made it seem quite special to watch, and photograph. I was able to photograph both spectators and participants. The participants belong to a group of circle dancers, and invited any spectators to join in with their celebration. 

I had 2 lenses with me, 28-75 & 70-200. The only drawback to changing my lens was the worry of getting sand into my camera, I had to be especially careful, its not really  ideal to do this, but I wanted a variety of shots and focal lengths. Another problem was the light. The event lasted about 3 hours from 2pm until 5pm. It was a very bright day and the reflection from the sea contributed to some difficulty getting the correct exposure. However, unlike film photography, shooting digitally means being able to take hundreds of shots. 

The main difficulty I found was framing my subjects quickly and effectively for maximum impact. Numerous shots were of the back of the dancers as they passed me by! A fast shutter speed helped freeze the movement and ensure sharp shots, I wanted to keep the ISO at 100, the bright daylight helped in this respect. However I still got some shots that were not well focused, I was walking and shooting around the maypole for much of the time, a tripod was totally impractical for this exercise. I found as the afternoon progressed I started to feel much more relaxed taking my photographs. The dancers were a rather eccentric bunch, dressed for the occasion. I was particularly interested in the jester, his clothes were so colourful and bold, I felt like a stalker as I followed him around the beach! I wanted to capture the vivid colours of the scene and show the sheer joy this group created performing this traditional British custom. I also wanted to try and show how much the audience enjoyed  their participation in the event. (see exercise 10)

 “Documentary photographers of the 1970’s worked in colour only from commercial necessity. The Britain of this decade was photographed in black and white“pg137 Val Williams  Susan Bright “How We Are Photographing Britain from the 1840’s to the present “Tate publishing, London 2007.This changed during the 1980’s and  Martin Parr is perhaps the best know recorder of  modern day Britain and its idiosyncratic customs. See copy in offline journal of Morris Dancers from The Cost of Living, 1998. His use of juxtaposition , the traditional Morris dancers performing outside McDonalds, a symbol of modern day excess, is sublime. . See also web links re photgrapher Suzy Prior. Their work has encouraged me to try and capture the eccentricity of the British.



Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: