Wednesday, 8 February 2012

MOL: A début and a new adventure

MOL in print

Event flyer
Last Saturday night, my photographic moniker My Other Limb and I had the privilege and pleasure of showing my photos at the Bizarre Bazaar & Variety Show, held in Plaza Midwood in Charlotte, NC. It was an event meant to showcase the work of young artists in the Charlotte area, and to raise money for Burners Without Borders.

It was extremely exciting in the midst of the show, with artists and acts like live painting and glass blowing, to open mic acoustic jams, to belly and burlesque dancing, to DJing, to silk acrobatics, to photography. There was such an incredible energy in the place, and the two studios were packed with people for the whole night. I got to show a "wall" of photos by presenting the printed images on a curtain divider in the middle of one of the studios, gave out business cards, and had a lot of fun meeting and photographing the other artists. One of the other photographers shooting at the event was someone I had already chatted to on Facebook, so it was a real pleasure to meet with him in person.

I was also very sweetly supported by the attendance of Ben, Christine, Ryan, Cassie, Josh, Sam, and Leah, the last of whom brought along a colleague from her new job who is originally from England, so I got to meet a fellow Brit, too! This might sound a bit daft, but I actually really enjoy both the immediate comfort I get from hearing a British accent in the midst of all the American ones (much as I love the southern sound of an NC voice), and the identification of unusual American things that are just automatically understood between English people. I don't want to be back in England per se, but it is without a doubt my home proper, however much I love Charlotte.

New MOL stamp for photos!
The event was a huge success, and massive kudos to Liza, the organiser, and everyone who was involved who made it such a smooth, invigorating, and entertaining event. For me personally, it meant a huge amount to be asked to show my photos, and I hope it brought some extra publicity to MOL, which is generally a good thing and hopefully will also be useful as and when I can push forward with MOL as a company, not just a name. Part of my "deal" with myself when moving to Charlotte was to have a decent crack at being a (at the very least part-time) "real" photographer, and this is a very happy step forward in that process.

Another step I've taken is to join the Charlotte Photographers Meetup Group (CPMG), and I attended my first meeting with them last night. It was their monthly meeting, so consisted of a review of the last month's activities, a projection of the next month's, announcing January's competition finalists and winner, and a talk by a professional photographer.

This month's speaker was Les Saucier, a nature photographer and teacher, and was absolutely brilliant. The energy and humour with which the presentation was given was really infectious, and though the information was not all new learning, it was presented in such a way that really made you think about the craft of photography coupled with making it an art, not just thinking shot-by-shot. Emphasis was put on the three elements of creating a photograph: recording, expressing, and connecting. There was a lot of visual psychology involved, in terms of drawing the viewer in, and I was reminded of lectures back in Reading when we were studying how the human eye processes and interprets images.

Saucier spoke a lot of the importance of practice, of learning your craft, so that the way you see and feel the image can shine through, using you as the medium. Hearing someone with so much experience and skill speak of heart in photography was inspiring and exciting and, even though I thought I was already pretty energised by the mere prospect of picking up a camera, I am even more so now. I guess it's a combination of an already existing love for photography, an inherent appreciation of academic presentations, and an excellent teacher. I will definitely be going back for more!

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