documenting fierce festival - day 3

My final day assisting Jaskirt Dhaliwall at Fierce 2012, Sunday 8th April, began in a disused car park, in Curzon Street, Birmingham.

Group walk with Hamish Fulton saw Fulton recreate a walking performance hed previously carried out in a car park in Leeds. the work was presented as part of part of Re-Tracing the City, a programme of walking based public artwork. 
Over 100 subscribed participants descended on the car park and were invited to pick a natural line, of any length, in the surface of the concrete. It might have been a long crack, or fissure, or the remnant of a painted line. Once chosen and in position, each performer was asked to traverse their line, but that it had to take them 2 hours to do it. The walk was to be carried out in silence.

As documenters, we were asked to only capture the event from the sidelines, so as not to disturb the performers, so again, this meant the the use of long focal length lenses, and a creative approach to the documentation process. The setting was dramatic, against the urban backdrop of britain's second biggest city which helped to frame the shots.

There were several documenters present that day, as the event was also being covered by the Ikon Gallery, currently exhibiting work by Hamish Fulton and offering this performance in conjunction and partnership with Fierce. This was a great opportunity for me to observe other practitioners' approaches to the process.

The great thing about this work was the time afforded to us as documenters. The pace was slow, and the duration long, which meant we had the time and opprtunity to carefully consider the framing and composition of the pictures - a luxury not normally afforded in this area of photographic endeavour.

The final performance of the day was the Fierce Festival Feast. Trevor Pitt has locally sourced a cornucopia of talent for what promises to be an extraordinary Fierce Festival closing party – a feast of eccentric and traditional English food, ale and entertainment. 

Special guest performances from: Wayfarers Folk Dance Club, Border Brethren Morris, Coventry Mummers, Pendulum Burdock provided Morris dancing, folk music, readings and a Mummers play as well as Easter-themed handicrafts include egg painting and bonnet making. 

The difficulty of capturing events held in really small spaces, in low light conditions, involving lots of quick-fire rapid actions, meant that I found this final event was the hardest to photograph. It really tested the ability to use the camera creatively. I found that I was shooting almost constantly, in order to capture sufficient material. The need for fast lenses and the ability to position myself as close to the action as possible without being intrusive to the performances.

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