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Miyazaki finally!!

4 seats to myself on the flight (the little triumphs of life) isn’t quite enough to make this post midnight thing into a great flight – but it beats sitting up squashed in old style economy. Fukuoka airport is pretty efficient, and though immigration had the same usual repertoire of Q’s the guy was pretty nice. Picked up and whisked off the bus station for a 4 hour ride to Miyazaki – a bit of sequel after the 5 hour red eye, but we did go through some pretty country – hills and gorges, loads of tunnels. Very smooth bus ride, kind of like being on a train. Watching bits of Japanese tear jerkers on the video with my iPod on and the scenery going by. a bit existentialist. Been there done that, going to try and fly back to Fukuoka!
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So in Miyazaki I finally meet the gang who put together the Miyazaki annual Documentary Photo Festival. Inspired by eccentric Japanese photog Akutagawa-san, a team of dedicated friends helped him put his dream together. They are amateurs in the best sense of the word: they do it out of love. Amazing that a little “city” of 350,000 odd people are ready to host their own annual festival dedicated to documentary photography.
Most of the committee seem to be holding down serious day jobs, and must be working round the clock to get things done. At dinner Akutagawa-san is late, on his way back from Tokyo, so I get to hear all the testimonials about him. They all laughed when I said I thought him eccentric, they all think the same but are totally dedicated to his vision. They also inform me that one of the area’s leading composers has been inspired to write a 20 minute piano etc composition to accompany a slide show of my photographs. Wow. But, as they have only 26 Bali pictures, those slides are going to be up for a long time, at least 20 seconds, before changing (most slide shows change every 3 or so seconds).
But life here moves at a gentle pace, and they all seem to savour it. There are bicycles everywhere, and you see suits peddling down the broad sidewalks.
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suvarnabhumi airport: on to Fukuoka

So many people think that to travel constantly for work is glamorous. Yep, all those security checkpoints, the moving goalposts of international safety, the crazy taxi drivers, and in Bangkok all the exercise getting to the waiting lounge.
Not to mention that the sponsors of my exhibition in Miyazaki have informed me that they are picking me up at the airport tomorrow morning… and then we get on a 5 hour bus ride to Miyazaki. Oh the comforts of home!
Anyway the passengers on this flight look pretty relaxed – Japanese back from Holiday. Either that or Fukuoka is pretty relaxed…
Finally got the uploading for images to the blog to work, so I did post two images that I printed on canvas and painted. Will try and do more from Japan. I decided to restrict myself to one camera and two lenses. A little discipline, think more carefully about what I shot. We’ll see. (Okay I do have my little lumix with me as well as the D3). Miss the days of my Contax G2 film rangefinders, they were fast, light, discreet and sharp as a tack. Hmm wonder when someone is going to make the first digital rangefinder with the capacity that the D3 has?

OKay they are calling the flight. More from Japan!

Japan

On the 26th of May I am scheduled to land in Fukuoka, then on to Miyazaki, a small town which has an annual documentary photo festival. I have been invited exhibit there and give some talks. They have chosen s series about Balinese ceremonies etc, and though mosty black and white I am also showing some color stuff.

Anyone been to this festival? Any comments about it?

Paint those photos!

_d3b3911.jpgOne day a friend of mine, David Trevelyan, showed me some simple oil painting techniques which I applied to some photographs I had printed on canvas. It was a big buzz for me, years ago I had tried my hand at painting but turned to photography instead. So far I have done about 12 canvases, and as each one develops the interesting thing is that there is always an unpredictability about how the colors will respond to the various densities of photographs, which I have printed a bit sepia in the first place. Most of the images I have done are black and white, and the couple of color ones I have almost completely desaturated before printing. It’s kind of fun imagining colors (skin tones are a special challenge!) Not to mention how fun it is to get messy and mix it up with oil paints.
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Bangkok – a New Base!

Since 2007 I have set up a second base in Bangkok – not only is it a great city but an easy hop to most places South and East Asia. Some new projects coming up on the horizon – will let you all know when they start rolling!
I do still spend the other half of my time in Bali though, and somehow in between (!!) lots of travel. Let’s see, two halves makes…
more later
R