I now have Internet access again.
Although ReadingLasses is a wi-fi café, unfortunately it doesn’t stretch out as far as The Hut, and the apartment I’m staying in was supposed to pick up the wi-fi connection from the apartment next door, but didn’t. Fortunately festival manager and all round organiser extraordinaire, Anne Barclay, managed to get the get an extension cable to the hub moved closer to this place, so finally I have a signal.
After moving everything into The Hut and the apartment, getting a bite to eat and attending a debate on the “Arab Spring”, it was too dark to photograph anyone. I was given assurances by ex-reporter, ex-politician, man-in-the-white-suit, Martin Bell that he would come by The Hut in the morning, but I think he was just humouring me. He certainly didn’t show up.
Saturday, then, was the first real day of being “Artist in Residence”.
I’ve made a commitment to be at The Hut from 10.30am to 12.30pm most days, so didn’t feel I should skip the first day to attend a reading I was interested in. I dutifully set up a studio area in the studio and put up a board at the entrance to the close visitors need to walk down to reach The Hut.
It was nearly an hour before someone came in, but my first arrival was Pam, who turned out to be the mother of Richard, the mohawked drummer from “The Geese” who I photographed back in July (see post on other blog - Appearances). She’d seen my image of him in the Wigtown Book Festival brochure so thought she’d investigate. Fortunately for me it meant my first face to photograph and put on the wall.
I only had one other set of visitors - a family of 4 plus a friend - during the next hour, and they had heard about my event in Spring Fling earlier this year, so wanted to take part in this one.
This confirmed my suspicion that I would not be receiving hoards of people beating their way to The Hut each morning to take part in the project, so if I’m to make this work, I’m going to have to go out and find the faces – they will not be coming to me.
Fortunately, there is a place called “The Writer’s Retreat”, which is a space set aside purely for visiting authors and those involved in the organisation of the Book Festival, so this proved to be more fertile ground. It’s not so difficult to start chatting with people, point to the pass around my neck which says, “Artist in Residence, please let him take your photo”, and explain what I’m up to.
Highlight of the day for me was Celia Imrie. Despite the fact she’d had a long train journey up from London, and was only here for a couple of hours before the long journey back, she was warm, friendly and seemed happy to participate.
At 7pm I had my “Meet The Artist” event, which was open to everyone. It was a chance for me to explain what I was up to to the masses and use the opportunity to take a few more photos.
Not everything went to plan however. Even putting aside the fact I only had about 10 people show up to it (a very wonderful, enthusiastic, supportive 10 people, it has to be said), I’d only taken 3 photos when there was a bang and the studio light I was using went out.
Despite changing bulbs, changing the lighting socket and changing the fuse on the extension lead, there was no saving it and the rest of the event was spent in conversation with no chance of further photos that evening.
After everyone had left, I tracked it down to the fuse box being tripped when the studio light had got so hot (I really should have switched it off between shoots) that it melted the cable running into the back of it, causing wires to touch that shouldn’t be touching.
There was never any danger to life but it did take a bit of time to eventually find the fuse box and restore the settings.
However, now I have Internet access at the apartment, hopefully I can start updating this blog a bit more regularly.
In meantime, visit the photosets on Facebook and Flickr to see complete set of faces taken on Saturday.