Festival Under the Stars

So I am working on a new book of sorts.

Back in July, I spent four and a half days in Oak Hills, NY, at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival.  During these days, I shot about 9 or 10 rolls of Tri-x, and when these were gone I picked up one or two Kodak disposable cameras at a local convenience store.

And then I also collected some photographs at the festival, brochures and advertisements I found scattered around the campsite and in the trashcans.

Really with the first photographs I made, I started outlining the final piece.

I am currently making four saddle-stitched booklets – each about 15-28 pages – made on my inkjet printer at home, all made from scanning in the negatives shot and photographs collected at Grey Fox.

Each of the four booklets is named after a different part of a musical structure – Head, Solo, Mandolin, and Coda.  The photographs in each are sequenced and sized to represent different melodic or musical ideas.

Head is the first, and in ways the simplest of the four.  All of these photographs were made in the first 24 hours at the festival.  Like the head of a jazz or improvised musical composition, this booklet introduces all the basic visual ideas of the collective piece.  Like all four, it mixes both monochromatic and color photographs.

The festival ran Wednesday-Saturday, and on three of these days, I left my party aside and went to wander on my own to make photographs (Grey Fox is a camping festival, so one is not only in close quarters with family, but the camps run extremely close to one another).  The two “instrumental” sections, Solo and Mandolin, are made from photographs made during these “solos” I took during the festival.  Each of these booklets increases in complexity (Mandolin being the most complicated), and again the sequencing is developed to imitate the expansion of melodic ideas, mostly by adding more dynamic rhythmic interactions with the size and quality of the photographs.

The fourth booklet, Coda (or Next to the Trash), is all composed by the discarded photographs I collected from the festival – from brochures, ads, etc…  The subtitle, Next to the Trash, is the title of wonderful Punch Brothers song, a waltz that changes meter, back and forth from three to four.  The rhythm of the picture sequencing and design is the simplest of the four books.

The booklets, again printed at home on my inkjet printer, are all printed on Strathmore Windpower Drawing Paper.  It’s a lovely color paper, just a slight warm tone to the base.

When each of the books are completed, they will be housed in a wooden slip-case, and then original silver prints will be laced between each of the books, and also through the pages of them individually.  I hope to make an edition of five.  The title of them all together, Festival Under the Stars, really because that’s how we experienced it all – dinners by the campfire, and late nights by the stage.


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