EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL - LARGEST LIVE PHOTO EXHIBITION

 

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."

Sothebys et al

We recently visited Photo London at Somerset House and thephotography auction at Sothebys in New Bond Street. A vast selection of galleries were rounded up into Somerset House showing a small selection of their wares. Photography in London has finally started to come of age as it has been in Europe for many years. Images both historic and contemporary were trading for anywhere between £1000 - £225000. Meanwhile at Tate Modern Elton John had been exhibiting his photography collection and the work of Wolfgang Tillmans was showing.

As the only independent photography gallery in Edinburgh and possibly Scotland we'd like to think we are ahead of the curve in offering great photography for new and established collectors.

 

 

CHANCE ENCOUNTERS

Over the last two weeks two people came into the gallery, entirely separately from each other. One who looked at the pieces from Greenland and then proceeded to tell me that he lived in the village where some of my pictures had been taken.  I could hardly believe it. Not only has almost no-one, who has seen the work, ever been to Greenland the chances of meeting someone in Edinburgh who lived there seem about as remote as the village itself.

Then only a few days later another customer came in and told me he had been going to Greenland for the last 40 years and had a house there. He was a mountaineer and as it turns out an engineer too. Unbeknownst to me at the time he was the person who had helped pioneer a development in 360 degree scanning of the retina to detect a detached retina (after his son was misdiagnosed and suffered sight loss.) For my own personal reasons I am very glad he did.

Books by JC and JC (the other ones)

OK it is Easter but today it felt like Christmas in the gallery as I arrived to receive two stunning books as gifts from two of the photographers whose work I shall be showing. Ironically as it is Easter they too have the initials J.C.

John Claridge sent me his book of photographs called East End. It's a beautiful tome with lovely prints all shot on film with that beautiful grain that for me brings back a lot of memories of darkrooms and processing. This is an East End that is no more. Ungentrified it reflects life in a day when having a camera was uncommon and people's suspicions less. I have thus far only glanced at the images but recommend the book. Look at the pictures and ask who those people were, what did they do, where are some of them now, what happened.

There is a telling quote on the back which reminded me of Billy Connolly's comments about growing up in the Gorbals,

"People say life was hard in the East End but I found the living was easy and I loved it." -John Claridge

The next envelope I opened was from Julian Calverey and contained his book 'iPhone only'  featuring some of his stunning landscapes all shot, surprisingly enough on his iPhone. In a sense, I think, this was a brave book to do as it could damage your reputation by shooting on a phone. Instead it has cemented it and the work has taken off. The images have a beautiful tonality akin to old oil paintings and I am very excited that I am going to have some to exhibit very soon. I can't wait to see them

 

April 18th

For only the second time I was visited in the gallery by someone who not only has been to Greenland but lives there, albeit for a month or so each year. Last week a man came in and we got chatting. I asked if he had visited the island. His reply took me by surprise,

"I live in that village", he said pointing at the picture of the huskies with the houses in the background.

Several days later another visitor came in and said he has a house but on the East Coast which he has been going to for 30+ years. he was a mountaineer and so I instead got to look at the pictures he had stored on his phone. The East of Greenland is even more remote. The main settlement Tasiilaq has a population of only around 1800. It is reached by flying from Iceland and looks amazing. If you like snow! A lot of snow!

 

April 2017

April 2017

We have been in conversation with several photographers and we are delighted to be able to represent some new names. I can't say too much for now but watch this space. We are always on the lookout for photographers to exhibit so please let us know if you know of some exceptional talent.

Source: https://chris-close-rnys.squarespace.com/c...

March 2017

Not long back from a trip to India. My third trip to this country and on this occasion I went with my Mother, Sister and Brother-in-Law. My Mother having been born in Calcutta (Kolkata) had never been back since she was 4. We made it to the jute mill and the 'bungalow' where she used to live, recreating a vintage photograph she had with her father. It was an emotional trip in many ways. I loved seeing inside the offices which felt like stepping back in time. The filing cabinets and tables all felt as though they had not changed since the 1940s. The Indians we met were all extremely polite and accommodating and I wonder what my Grandfather would have felt if he had seen it again too. We also visited my Great Uncle's grave in a war cemetery in Kolkata. I think we are the first family members to have been able to visit. In common with all graveyards tended by the War Graves Commission it is kept in a very good condition.

From Kolkata we moved into the hills by Darjeeling and stayed on a tea plantation in the Scottish sounding Glenburn. There was very little traffic by comparison with Kolkata although a four wheel drive was a necessity to get anywhere on the steep and potholed roads. On hearing the local rock band's music echoing across the hills I sought them out, said hello and shot a video on my Go-Pro. There are no overweight villagers as life there involves trekking up and down a series of steep steps and hillside tracks to get anywhere and the people in the hills look more like the Nepalese than Indians in the cities. Tough but friendly people it is a very different side of India to that in the cities.

Darejeeling is a wonderful town, described aptly by my Brother-in-Law as like a frontier town and indeed it has that atmosphere of a meeting of worlds - traders, trekkers and tourists. In the centre a large computer screen was showing cricket, India's uniting religion. Elsewhere a myriad of streets and houses form this bustling and large town perched onto steep hillsides which was crossed most easily by jumping on the 'Toy Train' a narrow gauge railway that runs through and across the streets and belches smoke periodically whilst tooting its horn. I could have spent days here alone but our trip was brief although the oldest shop in the town did benefit from our visit.

India is a country that hits you in all senses. The colour, the smells, the tastes, the sound, an amalgam quite unlike anywhere else. As if it were not colourful enough, during the celebration of Holi powdered paint adorns many Indians giving the impression of a living Jackson Pollock paintings.

 

 

 

Holi A day when powdered paint is used to decorate the skin. Indias must be the most colourful place on earth.

Feb 2017

Welcome to Gallery-Close Blog page.

February/March has seen a number of limited edition prints delivered to customers. Thank you to them and to those who have visited please do spread the word.

Also in the pipeline is new signage for the exterior of the Gallery, designed by Graham and Paul at Project with a little input from myself to produce a logo that includes a very simplified graphic representation of a camera using the O as the lens. It will give the gallery more visual presence in Howe Street.

We are actively in discussions with a number of photographers to exhibit including one of the most successful art photographers in the UK. I met her in London and was taken with her work which uses a mixture of layering techniques to give a wonderful old world quality to her imagery.

Another photographer is more local to Edinburgh and has shot a number of now historically important images including one of Jimmy Page (He of Led Zepplin fame) at Boleskine House (the former abode of the notorious Aleister Crowley. The same Mr Crowley that Ozzy Osborne sang of).

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