A giant globe of light suspended from the trees above a round table. As dusk falls, the globe creates a focal point, bathing the leaves, gravestones and festival-goers in an ethereal glow, visible from deep in the woods.
This was Knight Feast – an installation by Rebecca Sainsot-Reynolds and Katherine Daish, and part of Shuffle Festival, held in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park on the August bank holiday.
On the table/stage, there were music and theatrical performances by Greg Hall, Lea Collet & Marios Stamatis, Electro Improv Street Performers, Fear of Fluffing and Talulah Haddon & Elijah W. Harris, culminating in a crazy musical space-jam. (Which, unfortunately, was shut down by zealous council enforcers as the decibels were breaching agreed limits).
Shuffle consists of music, bars and cinema screens peppered throughout the overgrown cemetery. It’s a Danny Boyle project and has been running for a few years, but the word hadn’t reached me until now. It was an entertaining, thought-provoking and visually intriguing evening and I’ll definitely be marking Shuffle weekend in my calendar for next year.
Purdue Convocations, one of the oldest collegiate performing arts promotors in the US, has licensed my image of Daymé Arocena for the cover of their 2017-2018 season brochure.
Andrea, weaver and textile seller, Panajachel
A colourful character in Panajachel, often seen zipping around town on a BMX.
A bit slow to report this (still in Guatemala with all the distractions and technical limitations that implies), but my photo has won an award!
Along with the excellent Angelika Berndt, I am joint winner of the Public’s Choice Award at the Photofusion Salon/16 exhibition for my photo of Charlotte & Fenton from the Night Tube series.
Charlotte and Fenton, Central Line, 23.30, Greenford to Mile End. Going to a warehouse rave.
Nubiya Brandon, singer/MC with the musical collective Nubian Twist.
Another year of portraits, although I missed my daily portrait after I completed the year-long challenge in February – I may embark on something similar again in 2017. There’s something about showing up to make work every day, independent of any project or commission… It isn’t always what you want to do but the rewards of discipline, practice and serendipity outweigh all of the inconvenience.
Anyway, here are some of my favourite portraits of the year, one for each month.
Happy new year :)
Lucy & Thomas, Clissold Park, London
Cleo Cobb, kids’ clothing designer, Victoria Park, London
Comedian Spencer Jones, album artwork shoot for Hackney band We Used To Make Things
Cuban singer and composer Daymé Arocena in Shoreditch, London
We Used To Make Things, Hackney Marshes
Opera singer and cabaret artist Nara Taylor, on her narrowboat on Regent’s Canal
Dancers Julien et Aude, Nowhere Festival, Spain
Singer Inna Modja at WOMAD festival, Wiltshire
Bookseller James, Word On The Water, Regent’s Canal
Fenton and Charlotte, on the Night Tube
Musician Alex Tinlin in Shoreditch, London
Photographer & student of anthropology Aline Aronsky
WOMAD this year was one of the best. I was there for the third time shooting for Rhythm Passport and as always it was a joy to be a part of that team of superstars. Even without founder and key superstar Kia, who was at home waiting for the arrival of his first child.
Apart from a couple of drizzly showers, the weather was warm without being in heatstroke territory. The site had a new layout – the Main Stage is no more, it’s now the Open Air Stage; everything feels a bit more compact and evenly spread. From a photographic point of view, there’s no longer direct sunlight hitting the stage during daytime performances – hurrah!
George Clinton has to go down as one of the strangest gigs I’ve ever photographed. In the first three songs he barely sang, just waved his arms around and span on a swivel chair while his band took turns on the vocals. Afterwards, another photographer assured me that this was completely normal for a Clinton show.
The thing about working at a festival is I rarely see a performance all the way through, you shoot the first three songs and then go on to shoot something else, or head back to the media tent to upload the photos. Of the acts whose gigs I did see a proper chunk of, I particularly loved Hot 8 Brass Band’s exuberant covers, Kel Assouf’s desert rock fusion, Afriquoi pumping out beats in the moonlight on the Ecotricity stage, and Ana Tijoux – infectious, political Latin hip-hop.
As ever though, the highlight of my weekend wasn’t even on the programme. Racubah Soundsystem led the party in the Lunched Out Lizard tent every night until the wee hours. The Isbell brothers have scoured Africa and Latin America to find music that sends irresistibly happy vibes from your hips to your feet. Always my favourite party of the summer and if they hadn’t turned the sound off at 4am that Sunday morning I would probably still be there dancing my booty off.
If Burning Man is a dusty city with 80,000 inhabitants, then Nowhere is a dusty village with just 2,000. I like it that way. This was my third time, having missed 2015’s 50 degree heatwave, and it felt like coming home. Lots of friends and familiar faces yet to become friends; dusty bodies, crazy dancing, sharing, creating, connecting and being. Can’t wait to do it all again next year.
All photos made with an old Mamiya c220 twin lens reflex camera on 120 Kodak film in a 40 degree dustbowl.
Nara is a professionally trained opera singer and cabaret artist, living on a purple narrowboat along the Regent’s Canal. I photographed her last week as part of a Huck Magazine mini workshop on the documentary portrait, with photographer Guy Martin.