Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dear CK,

In response to Faces of Pompidou. Revisited, CK asked, "tell us about this project, it seems rad, were they pressing the button, were you, ???? details."

Well, half the fun of that series is figuring out what exactly is going on. In the original series, I had actually explained in text what was happening in the opening diptic: Oh yeah, My Social Portraits. (Namely, the opening picture of me -- a self-portrait with the tripod-camera-wireless remote set-up.)

Here's the full story: I went to the Pompidou after classes with 2 cameras, 1 wide angle lens, and my 70-300mm zoom. I found a framing I liked, put up the camera and tripod, figured out roughly where I wanted people standing in the picture and then taped three sheets of paper to the ground. The first sheet said "Modern Art Project: Please stand on the "X" and use the remote to take a portrait of yourself." I also included the Pompidou logo on it to make it seem more legit. The second sheet said the same thing except in French. The third sheet was just the X and the remote lying on top. I missed the first 5 or so people who tried it because I didn't realize I had to turn off the auto-sleep function on the camera (and it took me a while to figure out).

For those of you who have never had the privileged of going to Paris, the Pompidou (and pretty much everywhere) is full of tourist with fancy DSLRs set to full-automatic (tsk! what a waste...) That means I could sit about 20 or 30 yards away and take pictures of them taking pictures of themselves with my zoom lens while looking like a typical tourist taking pictures of the Pompidou. Everyone around us knew what was going on after a while, and they laughed as much as we (Kristian Kasi and I) did. People who were taking portraits of themselves were usually people who were just leaving the Pompidou, so they were clueless. The people in the last diptic, the one with the little boy, was probably the most entertaining group to watch. The poor boy was too short for the camera frame. The man in that diptic is presumably his father. After about 3 or 4 hours, Kristian and I packed everything up as everyone looked as us suspiciously, perhaps thinking we were stealing the camera or perhaps feeling a little cheated.

Self-Poster by Kristian Kasi
(Can find ME in his shirt?)

This was probably the most fun project I did in Paris. I hope to be able to do it again at other touristy locations around the world. The problem is finding that environment where I can sit down with my 300mm zoom and blend right in. That, or I need to get like a 600mm lens (which isn't happening).

Let me know if that answers all your questions CK :)

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