Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Sketchbook Project

After much hemming and hawing I decided to join The Sketchbook Project. It is a project created in conjunction with the Brooklyn Public Library and a group called Art House Projects.  The idea being that people can get one of these books and record their life/mission/adventures/whatevah the way they choose.  These are then submitted to the library, catalogued and put onto caravans that tour the country.  People can take them out and enjoy what others have done.  You can choose a theme or just write (from what I gather!).   It is a neat way to engage with other people, artists and the public library system.  Sounds right up my alley!

So I sent off my money and waited quite excitedly, I must admit!  I don't think that there will be high demand for my work but it's fun to be a part of something big like this.  Besides chronicling my life seems to be the thing I'm into right now.  So you can imagine my dismay when this arrived in the mail!
 It came on a rather tense day so this just added insult to injury.  "Why would you have to open this when it is clearly a paper product and then drop it in water?".  Yup, that's what they did and we know how much paper lurves water.  
 I'm still bummed!  If any of you write, you know the physical pleasure of opening up a new notebook and smoothing out that first page and having the pristine paper accept the black ink from your quill-like Sharpie.  It is exquisite!  But alas, not for me!  So I dried it out as best I could and now have to work paper the texture of Melba Toast! (dating myself there). So what do you do when something like this happens?  Well, I've decided to work with it and call it "Water log(ged)".  Quite good I think and it makes me laugh,  albeit ruefully.

But I have another book in the works as well.  There is an area here in Colombo called "Slave Island"(sounds spooky, I know!).  It's a very historic, culturally and religiously diverse neighbourhood. The name, the crowded conditions, the poverty all make it a rather daunting place for me to venture but it's vibrancy draws me.  It also has the unfortunate benefit of being close to downtown and the new developments that are now starting to come online.  Already we've seen the loss of the Elephant House Cold Storage Godowns and sites are trained on the rest of the area.  So I'm trying to document what's left of the area in a book for G for Xmas.  I got the idea from a store called "Barefoot".  The grandson of the owner published a book about the colour of Sri Lanka.  As I flipped through it I thought, "my shots are as good if not better than these", so I decided why not make one for G?

I'm not such a great photographer but I want to learn.  One thing I think about photography is that you have to anticipate, react and then be patient to make sure you got the shot.  Quite often this means approaching people and asking their permission.  Argh!! I'm a big chicken shit!  You wouldn't think so, but I am!   So me venturing into this neighbourhood really took some cajones.  I was so happy I did!  I was handsomely rewarded!  People couldn't have been nicer and and friendlier.  It's the kind of place where as soon as there is a new face everyone knows so I'm sure my presence preceeded me!  Lots of people very kindly let me take their photos.  But being a little freaked out,  I didn't get all the shots I saw in my head.  That's where I'm running into problems. I can see it in my head and aim the camera toward it, but I can't capture it because I don't have the technical knowledge or the patience.  It's incredibly frustrating but on the up side I am going to go back and take some more shots from a different angle.  I also want to see if I can find this one woman and her baby, I took such a nice shot of them I want to give her a copy.  I hope that's not too creepy!

I would include some of my photos but I don't want to spill the beans about G's Xmas present.  Yeah... he occasionally looks at my blog.  Whoo hooo!

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