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Photographing the photographer

A journalist and a photographer accompanied our group when we walked naked at an art gallery in Eastbourne last Saturday. In spite of a lens of a good length he was amazingly considerate and unobtrusive. A lady new to naturism said to me after a closing photograph as we left, I was happy to be included in the photograph but I don't know why. At one point someone said - what about taking a photograph of the photographer photographing the participants viewing the pictures. So we did.

At the next event we will be visiting a gallery in Hastings where the installation is a completely black room with 3 miles of white rope on the walls to make a grid system. If you go and wonder why there are large white numbers written in reverse you will discover this was all part of the invention of motion photography ( we call it cinema these days) and the artists idea to cover one wall in mirrors to make the gallery goers the exhibit. So this is one step further than 'taking a photograph of the photographer photographing the participants viewing the pictures' - there are no pictures.

Yesterday I was privileged to be present at a live relay from Glyndebourne of Samuel Barber's opera 'Vanessa' for the first full-scale professional staging of the piece in the UK, although it was written in the 1950's. To quote the Guardian 'The opera's world is one of secrets, lies and evasions, and beneath its elegant surface lurk intimations of deep trauma. The subject is the bitter conflict between emotional idealism and sexual reality'. The music is as powerful as the female characters. You can see it here

Keith Warner’s staging uses two great mirrors shown above to create an intense melodrama. The people on the left hand side are behind the mirror. At times this creates an illusion of looking back in time to the events that preceded the action at stage front. Even for so large constructions the mirrors were easily moved and were configured sometimes at 45 degrees. Here the characters in the foreground have double reflections and this puts past and present on a linear line or a pseudo four dimensional space. Terrific.

If we can I want to see what we can do with multiple reflections at the Jerwood. Can we transport a 19th Century photographic pioneer, world famous for his large photographs of the natural wonder of theYosemite Valley, to the 21st Century (read about him at ) and somehow do a service for the normalisation of naturism.

At the Towner the modern ideal of vast panes of glass and space and light were not covered for our visit. Unconcerned passers-by strolled by the entrance as naturists visiting the shop, discovering Eric Ravilious' fabulous renderings of the Sussex Downs - the place where only the day before we hiked naked in the wind and rain to commune with nature. In our minds we were transposed between the natural (prehistoric) world and the modern - a kind of mental mirror melding past and present.

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