Monthly Archives: February 2012

The sun sets on BAF6

The pack up begins!…. Ariane and I are busy processing all the many Various Artist stall submissions and sales from the weekend. No rest for the wicked!



Huge thanks from Ffotogallery’s BAF Team go out to all the stall holders, various artists, volunteers, Nia for delicious homemade cakes and Nanna Koekoek & her Dansette.

We had a record of over 600 visitors to Turner House for BAF6! Thanks to all who came along to enjoy the fayre, Penarth and the amazing weather. See you next year!

Helen & the BAF Team


Last night Ffotogallery was the site for ‘TANT 0.1’ – the most recent issue of the dialogical experiment that is TANT.

Rowena Finlayson, co-founder and co-editor, introduced the project in a discussion about self-publishing with Ffotogallery’s FORUM group. She describes TANT as a strongly collaborative process, without an “authoritative editorial stance”, and interestingly something that encourages promiscuity. She sees the project as an “intersection of recorded document and lifestyle” that engages with “reading as a mode of production”. TANT currently exists in physical form as ‘Issue 0’ – 300 A4-size stapled bookets, distributed locally and further afield by a mostly organic distribution process of exchange and chance encounter. But literal exchanges of ideas and active discussion are a crucial part of what TANT is.

Issue 0 begins and ends by asking me a series of simple questions. “Fight or flight?” and “Do you have an ulterior motive?” are examples. The questions are mostly posed in English with a sprinkling of Welsh, Dutch, German, Italian and Japanese. The answer spaces are left blank, inviting the viewer/reader/participant to pen their own replies. Even if some questions are in a language they don’t understand, they can make a wild guess at the meaning or less imaginatively, resort to Google Translate (as I did). I’d even suggest that the reader must participate, must write on the pages, in order to find their own meaning. This is not a publication to step back from and observe at a safe and respectful distance. It requires working with the text and writing on it, mixing your thoughts with its thoughts.

On opening up the zine, I find the questions from the cover are repeated, only this time TANT answers the questions. Intriguingly I discover that TANT itself is a reader and participant in its own dialogical space. And I find the answers – and the questions – actually tell me very little about TANT (or myself). But they open up lines of enquiry, set seed ideas, propose both familiar and curious diametric pairings. One question, ‘Spring or Autumn?’ isn’t really the same as asking ‘Summer or Winter?’. Autumn and Spring, even as accepted concepts, are the in-between stages, neither here nor there, unfixed. Meanwhile, the question ‘Are you in the queue?’ had me automatically stepping away from the conventions of said queue, then hopping back in to avoid being a cliché non-conformist, then hopping back out because, after all, I don’t like waiting in queues. The answers that I write are personal, subjective and always changing. I also doubt any two TANT readers will have matching answers.

Following the questions are the four contributions to this first TANT. Charlotte Greig’s poetic account of waiting for a ferry predictably sent me running to my own memories of waiting for a ferry, of crab sandwiches on piers at dusk, of craning eyes for land in choppy seas, of Alan Warner’s ‘demented land’ and to thoughts of future journeys I might take and future periods of waiting I might share. The photographs that accompany the piece are appropriately ambiguous. Meanwhile Hayley Davies’s ‘conversation with Kay Walkowiak’ is minute but perfectly formed. The minimalist and formal arrangement of trousers and sentences make for a palette cleansing interlude, while thought-provoking at the same time. Sally Brown’s ‘wordless sea shanty’ presents a scrawled musical score and four options of how the reader might want to engage with it. As my musical ability begins and ends with pressing ‘Play’, I was happy to find that the fourth option is ‘do what you want (sea based)’, although I hope that someone, somewhere, began to hum. Giulia Cavaliere writes the closing article, which I read as an emphatic love letter to Milan, the analysis of a personal relationship to something she calls ‘a place-of-all’, accompanied by beautiful photographs.

I kept returning to one of the questions on the first page, ‘Sprinkle or Scatter?’. It seems to provide a way to map the process of TANT. A quick web search helped me explicate the terms. A farmer scatters seed over his field. Then he sprinkles each seedling with water. TANT scatters ideas through a (potentially shape-shifting) physical form distributed over a geographical area. But a simultaneous focus on engaging and creating dialogue will nurture TANT so that it becomes more than the publication of interesting ideas. Instead it forms a rhizomatic network of thinkers and participators in the production of ideas. Yes, I might have taken that metaphor too far, but hey, maybe that was the point.

Tomorrow TANT 0.2 will take place at Ffotogallery’s Book Arts Fayre 6. Come and participate in what is becoming a very interesting discussion!

In Depth: Ibolya Feher

Ibolya Feher‘s ‘Sisters of Sclerder’ is a wonderful series of photographs offering a glimpse into the lives of the Sisters of Sclerder Abbey, a Carmelite Monastery in Cornwall. A product of Feher’s ‘long- term interest in every day life and spirituality’, the images combine warmth with mundanity. Most of the images look as if they’ve been taken at a youth centre, a local church or a neighbours garden, but there’s a warm glow to them that seems otherworldly. I love Feher’s use of light which is reminiscent of religious paintings but never in a heavy-handed way that ruins the relatability and naturalism of the image.

‘As a photographer I was aiming to be non judgmental and my project reflects my personal view of how I saw the Sisters and their life during my visits.’

In depth: Dave Kent

It’s less than a week to go for the Book Arts Fayre now so I hope everyone is looking forward it!

Through the range of contributors and styles of work coming to the B.A.F. Dave Kents’ work has caught my attention. His beautiful and interesting seaside images that really capture the feeling of being there. Even on a small scale it draws you in and makes you form questions about what you are looking at as if you just happened to come across these things whilst out walking.

This image from the ‘settlement’ series particularly interested me.  It’s hard to believe that they are real structures and not plastic monopoly houses. But I love the idea of them being so unique despite their uniformed appearance, a theme Dave continues to explore throughout this work.

Dave has made a couple of zines (shown on his website) that document exactly what the titles suggests ‘A Series of Walks’, that do very well in taking you along the journey with them.

It captures perfectly exactly the kind of things we soak up whilst on such walks, not only the stopping for a few minutes to take in a beautiful landscape but also that intrigue and wondering  ‘what’s that over there?’ or ‘what are those people doing?’ and these are exactly the kinds of questions we will be asking on Saturday at the Book Arts Fayre!

In depth: Pet Galerie

If you’re planning on coming to the Book Arts Fayre in search of some interesting and lovely new books, then you are in luck as Pet Galerie Press will be there.

Pet Galerie’s books really win you over with the narratives that run through and the chosen topics that have a real warmth to them . It’s like the feeling of community being captured in the pages.

Below are a few images from the handmade version of Mrs.Derrick’s Blankets. This is a charming book documents the process and journey of crocheted blankets for a cats and dogs home.

Whilst browsing through the archives of work online I’m really interested in how the tactile has been translated into print. The way textures have been flattened in the process and then spring out again in your mind upon viewing. It’s the way the books are put together and images themselves that really evoke this feeling.

This is only enhanced through the whole ethos of Pet Galerie which is about creating the atmosphere, bringing a little slice of their style and transporting it into a space or nook or just about anywhere they’ll fit. As the website explains this idea was inspired by Pet architecture (a term coined by Tokyo based Architectural studio Atelier bow-wow).

You can have a sneek peek at the editions and the impressive back catalogue of works and projects via the Pet Galerie website.

In Depth: Mule Press

Bridgette Ashton and William Teakle have put together a lovely zine called Horses Animals Hunts Queen Mother Tall Ships. It’s displayed in this video which emphasises the physical aspects of looking at and touching a book, and we like that because it should encourage you to come down to the Book Arts Fayre on the 25th!

Horses Animals Hunts Queen Mother Tall Ships from Mule Press on Vimeo.

Ashton and Teakle have used a selection of found images, presenting their chosen theme of ‘the erotic representation of women’ in contrast to lots of white negative space. It’s a neat idea to reflect the fetishisation of  feminine curves with unusual page layouts, and makes the most of the book format where blank space is something we take for granted. There’s also something pleasantly tactile about it, highlighting the difference between a book that we’re usually allowed to touch and a framed piece that we generally aren’t.

This won’t be the book’s first presence at a fayre or festival, it has previously been to Photoleggendo in Rome and at LeGarage at this year’s Rencontre d’Arles festival.