Thursday, 23 September 2010

Perpignan Now #7

Day Five: 9p.m 3 September. Perpignan, France

So.. The Wolves…

Looking back at this journal.... This diary, we realize we may have been a bit harsh on these fellow pilgrims…

Yes, they hounded us at the CafĂ© de la Poste, but that’s because we have access to a portal... We have white walls, and blank pages... And they are hungry for all of that, and frankly, that’s just fair enough….
Today we sat ourselves in the burning sun of the Hotel de Pams, sweating not just from the sun but from the endless espresso’s that kept us going as we met photographer after photographer, one story teller after another…

A few things struck us as we sat there: yes, it may be true that many of the stories we saw today have been told previously….
But, nevertheless, we saw a lot of work that took us to places and introduced us to characters we hadn’t met before….


Paul Jeffers took us to Bangor Airport in the U.S State of Maine. Bangor is often the first or last port of call for U.S troops on American Soil before they head out to the war zones of Iraq or Afghanistan.
Paul’s photographs focus on a small non – profit organisation called The Maine Troop Greeters, who are based at Bangor Airport. These greeters’ role is to act almost as family to the troops that pass through the airport (whose real family, more often than not can’t be with them) offering phones, food, a shoulder to cry on and a cheerful face.

Vissarion is the title of a body of work by Russian Photographer Sergey Kozmin. Vissarion is also the self given name of an ex traffic cop formerly known as Sergey Torop, who after being made unemployed decided he was definitely the second coming of Christ….
Jeez! We thought, now here’s a story!
Vissarion and his Church Of The Last Testament lies deep in the Siberian Mountains and he currently has over 5000 followers, many of whom gave up their lives and apartments in Russia’s big cities to live as disciples in the villages that populate what Vissarion calls The Promised Land.

Moving on. We know many a photographer has visited and documented the utter devastation that Hurricane Katrina caused to both the landscape and people of New Orleans on August 29th 2005. One of them being photographer Jason Andrew , whose project Jazzland is a study of a specific place in New Orleans; a place that used to deliver happiness and sunny days out to families that have probably long moved on…This Place is Jazzland, New Orleans Six Flags Amusement Park.

Shot on square format film Jason Andrew captures this place of fun slowly becoming prey to the ever-growing swamp. Although there are no people in these pictures, there is poignancy in fact that one can almost hear the laughter that emanated from this site up until that fateful day.

So even after a long day, we feel refreshed, awakened…and it wasn’t just the espresso, we have seen some great work, some great stories by photographers, young and old…
And the above is only a small selection.


There is something new though: Multi Media…Sure it’s only another way of showing work but that is just it, it’s another outlet, and possibly an empowering one for photographers in this day and age….


But sadly the question remains…
There is this great work, but who is it for? Who is going to publish and exhibit it?

We have no doubt that the general public, the civilians want to see these stories, but as the saying goes:
"If a tree fall in a forest and there is no one their to hear it, does it make a sound?
"...
As we rest back at base this question stays in our thoughts, the taste of something unresolved…

The wolves are hungry but the hands that can feed them are tied…


To be continued...

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