A dear friend of mine recently asked me to undertake a collaborative project. It was to go like this: I would take a portrait of him that would be enlarged and cut up into 72 squares, where each portion of the larger work would become one CD cover. These 72 covers would be displayed on a gallery wall, and each would contain a CD single available for purchase. So you buy a piece of art and a piece of music. It's such a wonderful idea! And of course I jumped at the chance to partake, not only because it would be a marvellous creative challenge, but because it is always an honour to have anything to do with the gorgeous talent that is Grizzly Jim Lawrie.
(Another dear friend filmed the above shoot, and interviewed both Jim and I about the project, and you can see the video here.)
The main challenge for me was constructing a portrait where even the background would be interesting when isolated as a CD case. This is difficult with a photograph, because most photographic portraits have a relatively subdued background, which allows the subject to stand out. After much brain strain, though, it came to me. Of course! A sprocket strip! Lots of colour, lots of abstract bits and pieces filling the frame(s), lots of layers, lots of sprockets and film markings!
So the technical approach was decided. But what of the content? My first idea, which you see above, was to go for a walk with Jim around his neighbourhood, and shoot whatever seemed interesting or relevant along the way (including, multiple times, Jim himself). Looking at the results now, I think they are quite interesting. But I wasn't willing to put all my eggs into one roll of film, so to speak, so I did another shoot too, which involved Jim warming a late Sunday afternoon pub crowd with his acoustic loveliness.
For the final portrait, I ended up using the results from the second shoot. I felt that the photo(s) from the first shoot were just a bit too nondescript, with not enough clarity and detail in the strip (click on them to see them up close). I'll post the 'successful' results another time. But for now, I wanted to give some love to these images - the rejects of the project, as it were - because you know what? They're not so bad.