Bath is a great city. It has thousands of years of history, is a World Heritage City, and is very popular with tourists from all over the world.
The local Arts and Music scene is also exceptional. The Bath Literature Festival has just finished, the International Music Festival is coming up, and so is the Fringe Arts Festival, which is the pre-eminent annual visual arts event.
There is also an excellent new group, Photo|Bath, planning a range of activities, including an exhibition later this year.
So yesterday, it was a lot of fun, and more than a little challenging, to be part of the PhotoMarathon, organised by Fringe Arts Bath.
The idea was to take 20 photographs to illustrate a given idea in a fixed sequence. Some were fairly straightforward – “shadows”, “texture”, “reflection” – and some required real thought – “I wish…”, “undercover”, “contrast”.
I took the opportunity to blend the challenge with my ongoing street portrait work. Bride-to-be Tracey and her friends were happy to oblige.
And having to do things in sequence meant that even if you saw something better, later, you couldn’t use it unless you wanted to start all over again. So, having a few favourite places in Bath was useful knowledge.
I opted to shoot everything with the Leica SL and the Vario-Elmarit 24-90, rather than carry a bag full of kit. The flexibility and close focussing of the two was perfect, and the zoom gives a very nice bokeh when shot wide open.
We were given 10 hours to complete the task, in two sessions, although a few of us opted to go straight through with all 20 images. My iPhone told me that I had walked almost 6 miles around the city, and it took about 6 hours to fully complete the task.
At the end, we gave either the unexposed film or the 20 raw, unedited images to the FaB organisers. No editing allowed, and the files all had to be clearly in the sequence of the challenge set.
Everyone’s images will be printed out by the organisers, and they will all be exhibited as part of Bath’s Fringe Arts Festival, 27th May until 12th June.
The challenge also got me looking anew at people and places I know well. This protest group are by the Abbey most Saturdays, and with “I Wish …” as the photo challenge, there seemed to be a different meaning in how I viewed their cause.
I also visited a few places that I hadn’t been to in Bath before, like the Victoria Art Gallery.
Some images seemed to pop into my mind quickly. But for some I had to wait, and keep shooting. In “reflection” I think I must have taken 20 or more shots before the lady actually looked properly at her hair in the mirror.
Yesterday was also the final day for entry to the Bath Open Art competition, which I entered, thanks to prompting from Anna Kot. The fun and the sunshine meant it was a great day for photography in Bath.
You can find all of my 20 images here (and I admit to the odd bit of cropping 🙂