Monday, December 20, 2010

a very very happy Christmas ...

I just want to wish all my friends, family and supporters of my Ancient Olive tree  project a very beautiful and Happy Christmas ...
and mention the progress to date...

Today I pick up my new darkroom equipment found on Trademe NZ , our own version of Ebay...
in the next week the replacement silver gelatin Fibre based photographic paper arrives from the UK, and another piece of equipment from the USA , so hopefully once I rebuild the darkroom I found here, I will be happily printing away the limited edition works on the first day of January !!!!
so looking forward
meanwhile best wishes for Christmas and the New Year to everyone !!!!!

 and lots and lots of presents under the tree for everyone!!!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

ancient olive project continuing stoooory...

so now the hunting, finding, shooting of the Ancient Olive trees has come to an end and I have returned to New Zealand with the material and am working very hard on the final printwork for all my amazing project supporters...

I am having some problems finding a black and white darkroom to use for the limited edition print run...but I will find a way ...
the colour printwork is what I am working on this week...and the choosing of the best recipe .... 

I did end up having grannies fighting to give me recipes in the supermarket just before I left :) ... and rushing to their houses to get the food so I could try it ... got to love that !

I particularly liked the sagne incannulate ...but there was one risotto that I could eat every day of my life ... hmmmm

at this point I would like to thank another series of backers and supporters...

thank you so very much to
Amy J McCray
Gofenshefer she makes lovely accessories inspired by the natural world
Solvita Danevica who makes sweet jewellery and miniature pinback buttons 
Erica Kremenak
thank you to Inge you can find her here at cri-cricurieux

thank you also to Elsa Dorfman who is a wonderful photographer from the USA who shoots with one of the only 7 giant polaroid rail cameras .... the camera is so huge it needs a few people to move it and she makes giant polaroids 20x24 inches... 

thanks to Vincent Corona-Evans
Marleen De Troyer
Bonnie Jones , another photographer (I particularly like her teapot house picture!!!)
my new lovely sis Lynn Evans and her husband Zeke

and my dear friend Peter Towers ... a genius architecture photographer that I used to assist when I was just a baby photo-kid

Saturday, December 4, 2010


still reeling

with the events of the last days
here is yesterday ...

 darkroom death life creation travel  food drink friends work art

yesterday was my last day to get into the darkroom and print more of the limited edition series ... it has been an endless struggle as the giant professional enlargers they have there no longer have lamps, and the lamps are no longer produced ... so after a month of searching the Director of photography at the Academy found a lamp that had a fitting that could be used. It turns out to be neon and the quantity of light produced each time is different as well as the colour temperature , which in turn changes the image that is produced on the paper ie: lightness darkness contrast etc....

I had just made what I thought were the perfect prints and two men rushed into the darkroom turned all the lights on and told me I had to leave

the Director of the Academy has died

all my printwork was destroyed by light and I had 10 minutes to get myself out of there 

he was one of the most beautiful men I have ever met..

a gentleman ,the perfect Grandad

gave us everything
he is who gave me full reign over the darkroom as he was sad it was not being used anymore

he gave us our show
he organised it all
he removed all the bureaucratic stumble-blocks
he allowed us to do as we wished

his door was always open for all students and visitors
inside his office old antique Narnia furniture with faces of fauns and devils looking out of heavy carved doors and desks
he wanted only to move art forward in a generous way without any recompense

it was he who organised for his friends son to be my shadow to see how the old school photographers worked ...

it was he who saw creative desire and allowed it to go 

even if we had nothing to do with the Academy

a true forward thinker

an Architect, he studied at the university of Florence
he brought the Accademia delle Belle Arte Lecce to the height it is now, on a par with the Milan-Brera and Bologna schools of fine art and recognised as one of the very best in all of Italy

I went to do the "visita del morte"
I have now seen my first dead body in a coffin

his name is Giacinto Leone

this means

Hyacinth Lion

and he was exactly that 

all his students are crying

Monday, November 22, 2010

the final seven ...

 here they are ...the final seven choices for the first exhibition,
opening today at the Accademia delle Belle Arte Lecce

let the show begin....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

one single perfect print...

2 months shooting 
4 days in the darkroom
427 mosquitoe bites
150 sheets of film

and I can now show one single perfect print 
on utterly beautiful fibre-based archival photographic paper,
brought in from the UK as there is none in the whole of the EU that I can find.

I had forgotten how precious this stuff is ...
how much more beautiful the images look than on the regular resin coated plasticised photo paper we are used to.
I had also forgotten how super long it takes to develop , stop bath , rinse, fix and then washing under running water for 45 minutes ...
2  days to dry 
*test proofs take a minimum of 30 minutes before you can turn the lights on and see what it's even looking like..........

then the worry about how to flatten it out after it curls during the drying, not to mention how it darkens up over the course of the 2 days drying ...


well ...anyway the giant works are hung for the first show 

I have one single beautiful perfect tiny print
laid out to dry, in the darkroom, on a towel in the Accademia delle Belle Arte

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ents .... a meeting

nothing to say ,..... alot of Enty old "tree beards" ....
having a meeting 
creaking and groaning like old boats 
a storm coming in from the Mediterranean heading for the Adriatic ...

1 day to finish as much as possible for the first exhibition... we hang it on friday 19th Nov...

second show on the 27th will be projections of the works on the castle wall here...

I will continue shooting until the last moment before I leave here so I have material enough for a beautiful book
but the light is changing and the shadows are blocking up  so I have been here at exactly the right moment reality

but I need about another 6 months for this project ............... aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrghhhhhhhhh !

no pressure no pressure ...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"la raccolta" ... harvesting olives in Salento

all through the countryside husbands and wives are out in the olive groves collecting and sifting olives and leaves in the first part of the harvest ...
the clean up around the base of each tree before the nets go down

hard back breaking work...
flashes of colour in a giant flower field caught my attention so I went to see what was going on
Marissa said she is very very tired at the end of each day 

Tomaso gave me 3 oranges from their tree that is groaning with fruit

later I found a magic fairy trullo...

and this running screaming skeleton olive tree.... :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

un piccolo mondo nascosto ...

you would never know it was there 
apart from the little box of tiny, grey clay gnomes sitting outside the door in a cobblestone alleyway to dry....

Alfredo's world is about 4 shoulder spans wide 
packed with all the local characters of fable and folklore.

 Tiny  mediaeval folk made of terracotta clay , they are absolutely beautiful even before they are painted ... Alfredo puts on his selotaped glasses and puts a board over his knees and gets to work on a new set of gnomes, while I prowl around in circles with my tripod. Apart from an elevator in Milan this is one of the most confined spaces I have ever shot in ... 

inspired by Breugel and Bosch, Alfredo's tiny characters come to life under his hands ...I wish I had made a little movie ...

this afternoon back to the mosquito swamps ... a new strange Olive grove full of distorted old professors and philosophers has been found  ... quite by accident

Sunday, November 7, 2010

mary poppins town ....

festival of the vino novello at Leveranto

(dodgey photos from my phone ... which takes the worst photos I ever saw,  ....blurry and messed up even in full daylight... so mad at myself ...this happens everytime I think Im not going to take my heavy camera gear around, for once..... errrghhhhhh)

but it was a magical night ..
I loved that it was all teenagers playing traditional "Taranta" music and singing and dancing ... playing tambourines, accordian , spoons 
a different group on each corner or in each alcove of the town 

the "Taranta" ... a kind of whirling jumping dance that is symbolic of what happens during the olive harvest if you get bitten by the tarantula... e vola vola vola ...

and this stilt walker sitting in a window bashfully crossing and uncrossing his legs , playing a little pipe...with a long beaky mask on .. I dont know how they were walking on the uneven jumbly cobblestones sweet

Friday, November 5, 2010

silence ...

silence is mostly all you will hear from me for the next 2 weeks ... now the fundraising for the project is over it is time for me to really really concentrate on photographing the trees in the best possible way.

today was amazing ...perfect white overcast conditions with breaks of sun to stretch your back out and straighten out all the creakyness from crouching in the mosquito swamps looking at an upside down image on a ground glass screen, and trying to work out if you like the composition from the upside down and back to front image which is all you can see
I went back to Trepuzzi today ... the craziest olive grove yet
Trepuzzi in my translation means "3 stinks" 
but apparently in dialect it means 3 wells... I like my version better, makes me laugh

Now I seem to be completely at odds with Italian timing ... while they are all closed behind doors for lunch and siesta I am out in the fields on my knees with mosquitoes the size of helicopters attacking my face... I can count 17 bites around my jaw and neck and temples and even in my hair ...erghhhhhh

I want to thank everyone who was involved in the kickstarter , you are all absolutely brilliant, and generous and now I can get down to work.
Just dont be surprised that I will be very quiet in the next weeks

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

day 2 .... on film ......

I had forgotten ... film itself has a very particular smell...
and now with my arms in the portable darkroom film change bag I smell the past

today and yesterday were sad days and the trees knew ...

wait for me...

I guess there is 28 hours left, if you want to be involved in this project ... and help me make the best show and book that I can ...
it's here at kickstarter

you may end up with some pretty unusual Christmas presents ... :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

and now it begins ....

the film has arrived from Germany
Kickstarter is up to target
I have a little car to zip around in with all my gear , 4 different types of camera and tripods and film chassis and darkroom change tents etc...
and the weather is packing up ... which is a good thing !!! 
I want overcast !

photo essay (of the commencement of filmwork) by the brilliant and infamous Captain Jack
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