Edinburgh International Book Festival Exhibition - Between the Lines IX
In August gallery owner Chris Close completed his ninth outing to produce 'Between the Lines IX', It is is believed to be the largest live photography exhibition anywhere in the world. Unlike similar shows that have taken place this is a single hander shot and produced by Chris Close. The format is that he shoots a small selection of authors each day at the Book Festival in Charlotte Square Gardens. The set up is an outdoor studio akin to Richard Avedon's images of the American south ie a simple white background but instead of using available light Chris shoots predominantly with ring flash. "There is no consistency to the lighting for several reasons. The limited amount of time I have with each writer and principally the weather can be bright sunshine or dull even raining. Sometimes I am shooting when it is dark. That helps add to the variety for me."
At the end of the day the images are uploaded at the studio and the work printed onto canvas. This usually takes until midnight and beyond. The next day the work is hung around the gardens and the procedure repeated each day until the final day when over 130 portraits were on display.
"I have to get a result from everyone I shoot. There is no post curation and selecting of the best pieces. I also choose the work to create a variety of styles from each author. It would be easy to pose everyone in a similar manner but that would not convey the diversity of the writers I encounter. "
"Some authors are surprising in that they do not take themselves seriously which is refreshing and I am talking about some seriously acclaimed writers. Others who you expect to be fun can be the opposite so it is mentally and physically exhausting never knowing what and often who I am going to be working with."
"The work has to be viewed as a body of work. Unlike a studio portrait I am not working in an enclosed environment, with hair and make up artists. This is fly by the seat of the pants stuff and the work as a whole reflects that. There is a spontaneity to much of it that embraces a true festival spirit with a joie de vivre."
"I am often asked who is my favourite author from any given year and there is no one answer I can give, well not here anyway! Sometimes the best result is different from the person you most enjoyed working with. Every person brings something unique to the session, which usually lasts two to fifteen minutes. This year I shot actresses, musicians, poets and real writers! First timers and established Pulitzer Prize winners, the exuberant and the painfully shy."