Amy Nicholson is a puppeteer, musician and set designer for film and theatre. She also creates wonderful kids interactive theatre with Handmade Theatre.
I don’t usually write about the subjects that we are trying to convey in PoPA, but this one was a bit different. Amy wanted to try some surrealist poetry, and use that to give us the themes for the day. So we sat in Lee Rosy’s, drinking unusual teas, with odd names, and created weird poetry.
One of the phrases that came up was ‘ping pong ball’. That gave us our location for the day, as Das Kino, with it’s ping pong tables, seemed to be an obvious choice, and they kindly let us photograph the whole shoot there.
Jack Britton is a member of the arts collective Tetrad. As as a creator, he works on subjects as diverse as parkour and the paranormal, using the equally diverse mediums of dance and comedy, live art and devised theatre..
After the customary café discussion, we seemed to walk most of Leicester, experimenting with ideas, before settling in Peter Pizzeria, which proved an inspiring environment for our photos.
Nicky Daniels comes from a theatre background, but decided to move from playing fictional characters, to expressing herself, so got herself a First Class BA Hons in Drama Studies from DMU, Leicester. She’s now pursuing an MA Arts, again at DMU.
I’ve photographed Nicky before, doing her piece ‘Nicky Daniels – Violet Persephone Marina and Me’, so knew that her visual approach would fit People of Performance Art. Although Nicky does live art, and I’m still learning the difference.
I was privileged to be asked to photograph Maud Lannen‘s Psychotic Ballet, performed by herself and Julie Moosburg, which was presented as part of The University of Nottingham’s Fine Art Degree Show.
Maud and Julie performed the piece several times; Outside at Jubilee Campus, and also in the Djanogly Art Gallery. One of the performances was done as a durational of 6 hours. The piece was described as “a performance piece that is both humourous and endearing. Lannen draws on an ‘anti-balletic’ series of movements and architecture to expose her subjects’ awkwardness and vulnerability”.
Lewys Holt is a dancer & choreographer. He’s also one of the organisers of Tetrad, based in Leicester.
After an initial discussion in a café, we started by shooting in a park. Some teenagers on kids bikes cycled past, and one shouted angrily ‘Fucking queer’. Oddly, this lightened our mood for the rest of the day. I think it was the absurdness of it.
The park wasn’t working for the photos, so we decided to move indoors, where serendipity, once again, added a lot to the day.
It’s fascinating watching the creative process. Katherine Hall and I had finished for the day, we had talked of many subjects, but had nothing strong completed. We weren’t dispirited, though, as we would continue the following day. We parked up, to look at a potential location, and Katie stopped… staring at the road markings in a car park, it had triggered something. We quickly shot some bits, and both knew that that was what the day had been about. It unintentionally provided us with something that contained many of the themes we had discussed. Where did that come from?
Olwen Davies was one of the first performance artists I met, although I didn’t talk to her until some time later, as she was playing one of the silent Shrug Ladies. Since then I’ve seen several of her own performances. I believe she also acts in films…
After seeing Tom Morgan perform his piece Sisyphus/ Hanged I knew I wanted to photograph with him as part of the People Of Performance Art project. I intended not to talk with him about the shoot beforehand, but we ended up having long conversations about his practice, exploration of philosophies and martial arts. This ended with a decision to shoot in a natural environment. Charnwood Forest seemed a natural fit, and we used two locations: woods and open scrub land. Both had a different mood. The woods were taken at a slow, considered pace, exploring rock and wood, then after soup in St. Joseph’s tearoom, the open scrub land was more rapid and instinctive.