research log: a brush with death

it is a commonplace that photographs reveal things that are not perceived at the time they are taken.  rushing around like mad to shot photos of the school by khr today, i didn’t realise women were staring daggers at me all the while.  i feel lucky to have escaped alive, looking at the photos from the safety and comfort of my temporary danish home.


diary: take a deep breath…

is what i kept saying to myself over and over again today during my meeting with a brickwall vaguely shaped in the form of a person.  had she been kidnapped by paparazzi at a young age, tortured, forced to claw her way through a brick wall then swim to freedom through a sea of excrement i’d still think the woman today was over-reacting in her caution towards my taking pictures of the school.  once again the thin veil of civility did nothing to mask the hostility i cannot understand towards this project (but obviously feel is worth recording for posterity).  actually, she was far more openly hostile than the guy from plh who basically treated my like a precocious 4 year old.

after all the work spent setting this up and the money spent on flights back there for the 4th or 5th time this year (i’ve lost count) i was told that i could come back on friday to take pictures as long as none of the children were visible except with their backs turned to the camera.

i explained that i am also shooting a school next door.

i offered to show her the photos i have taken of the nursery school in finland.

i offered to give her all of my photos.

but the ‘no’ was decided on before we met and nothing i said was going to change that.  it was eerily like being back in spain.  perhaps i never left.  ¡españa, déjame en paz, joder!

Irate rants aside, this goes to show the importance of a client – even a hypothetical one.  The success of this type of shoot depends on several factors.  With fashion you’ve got the talent of the photographer, the stylist, the model the ad working together to make or break a shoot.  Here you have the architect, the photographer and the weather working with or against each other, but if you haven’t got the owner of the building on board you haven’t got anything.  I’ve got great avenues to explore from the interview with Mikkel and from my own ideas having had a walk around – but I can’t explore any of them because this silly person, puffed up on their own power, won’t let me!

Another important barrier I should mention is myself – or rather, my training and experience.  I each time I go out to shoot it takes hours before I stop shooting on autopilot and am actually able to look for and trust the type of images I claim to set out in pursuit of.  Default behaviours are heavily entrenched in practices, taste, beliefs and logic.

diary: khr – orestad school

i have just come from the school where i was told i would not be able to get pictures of the kids in the classrooms.  i understand their position, but won’t that make it slightly difficult to tell a story about the school?  empty rooms are just that.  i need pictures of the life the building nurtures, stimulates, supports and shapes.  let’s see what i can negotiate tomorrow.

diary: khr

having left copenhagen in dismay i am back again to shoot both schools in orestad.  mikkel of khr vanished mysteriously after the interview, but i have just spoken to him and in theory i have the green light to start shooting, which i shall do tomorrow.  fingers crossed.