As Part of our Young Artist Series, this month we were fortunate enough to take part in a workshop hosted by the eternally playful Tom Pope.
First he shares with us some of his incredible work along with a handful of peculiar stories that paint him out to be a neighbourhood terror in a comic or something.
Tom Pope’s shirt is the colour of lemons and by his feet is a bag of oranges. These oranges will be thrown with reckless abandon into the path of cameras that are hungry to catch the oranges before they collide with walls and floors, splitting their skins in a shower of orange juice.
If the camera is successful in ‘catching’ the orange the photograph is essentially spoiled by an obscure orange blur.
The next act in the workshop has us locked in photographic combat, our fingers poised on each other’s triggers. Maeve’s lens is pointed at me and mine at her, ready to shoot. But we don’t want to shoot each other, we want to shoot ourselves. I want to capture a thousand of my own images with Maeve’s camera but I don’t want her to snap herself on mine. So now we’re dancing, everyone in the room is dancing! Like a group of couples in the ballroom of a cruise ship that’s hit choppy waters and scattered us about. And all the time we’re going in circles, trying to move our camera away from their faces whilst drawing theirs towards us.
I’m almost as tragic at writing about this as I was in actually doing it. My chaotic brain can’t handle the two actions at once and I unknowingly let Maeve photograph her laughing face over and over and over while I fail to capture my own.
And now (with our cameras still citrus-scented) we are temporarily blinded and guided through the gallery; shakily up and down stairs, awkwardly into lifts, clinging on to walls and sometimes each other, led under chairs and tables until something in our sightless minds tell us the moment is right to take the photograph and open two sets of eyes at once.
My photograph is a white-out because I had my camera on the wrong setting. The camera was as blind as I was and the image is a total nothingness. The outcome isn’t always as important as the process.
In the last part of our first workshop we do what Tom Pope does best: we play a game. Here are the seven rules to live by if you want to get involved and play the YA Game of Photography:
1. Offside rule.
2. No zoom.
3. If someone shouts ‘You!’ And points, everyone must photograph them.
4. Eye contact with the lens makes the picture invalid.
5. Cannot have two feet on the floor when taking a picture.
6. After taking a picture you have to turn 180 degrees
7. Must shout ‘Yes!’ when taking a picture
You can go and peep at Tom Pope’s work here: http://www.tompope.co.uk/