Monday, 27 August 2012

Book Launch: Encierro N'awlins

It's the Big Easy Rollergirls' tribute to the San Fermin encierro fiesta in Pamplona, Spain. The Rollergirls dress up as bulls, the streets on the waterfront are closed and the residents of, and visitors to, New Orleans get out bed early (or stay up), dress in white, wear red paƱuelos (handkerchiefs) and run with the bulls.

It was hard to find the motivation to go to this event (there was also a French waiter's race that captured my creative imagination), but after a short talk with my husband in our hotel room, recounting a long week we had just spent eating buttered barbecue shrimp at Mr. B's and drinking frappes in the Old Absinthe House, we took the streetcar two blocks and followed the crowd to find the bulls.

When we arrived the event had a unique feel. You could sense that people were looking forward to it. The bulls were in a big group on one side; posing for photographs and chatting with each other, friends and photographers.

Once the running started the Rollergirls formed a funnel to make sure that as many people as possible got bashed with a bat. The mood changed at this point to a kind of platonic version of chasey-chasey spalshy-splashy. The first shot in the book is taken while I ran through the funnel. It's a surprise that it isn't out-of-focus as I'm giggling and trying to dodge a bat.

Most people take a snapshot and it is a process of framing and posing. The interesting thing about shooting is seeing the shot in a split second and knowing that you have captured the way the person experienced that moment. Once you start to see shots in this way it can be hard to stop shooting. I can be a hazard to myself in this moment and I am pleased that Kim is usually there to make sure that I don't get run over.

When I shoot, I am looking for the essence of the experience and when I see it I click and represent it on film. The camera captures emotions and attitudes and my favorite shots in this book are the ones where you see both motion and emotion.

I hope you enjoy this book.

Sharon

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