Monday, 18 October 2010

Edinburgh Book festival 2010

I come to my hometown on a sunny Tuesday - I come to be inspired, and it never disappoints. My theme is 'words' - perhaps oddly for a photographer? - and also fittingly I am covering the book festival.
I wrote back 2005 that Glasgow has so much music, but that Edinburgh has more stories, and it's as if they bubble up from the cobbled closes and the city of forgotten black spires, a hidden backdrop to those past stories.

Words and Folk nights Edinburgh! I had a bonny time at Edinburgh festival where character, poetry, art and music flourish for a few sunny weeks - actually it was freezing also in the press pod! I am incredibly proud of my book festival shoots - and such diverse, colourful and memorable figures from the worlds of Irish poetry, political thought, children's authors, dramatic thrillers, autobiographies and more - including Irish poet Seamus Heaney. This is the first serious portraits shots I've taken.
Randomness on Tuesday. At the Book Festival I met my cousin, and an old school friend and was also greeted as a 'long lost friend' by a friend of the famous Irish poet Seamus Heaney, who seemed to mistake me for Seamus Heaney's wife, who was coming in behind me! You could feel the love. Check his new book 'The Human Chain.'
The Book festival is very much for families, the well manner educated set and the literary set who wear light coloured jackets and cream hats. I attended a talk on the importance of the 'story' with the challenge and the resolution - that help us to make sense of our very random existence.

Saturday. Melvyn Bragg's talk. He spoke of his interest in living poets and the merits of Popular Culture as opposed to high culture - and he said that he wondered why all the great artists had to be dead to be considered great.
He mentioned that we can tell more than 60% of what people are really about from the 'image' and so the image is a 'great lie detector.' Of course I agree - while I adore words I often think my images say much more than words ever can - as words can conjure images that can alter or twist reality. We learn spoken words when we are very young and they help us makes sense of our world and to communicate with others. Well that's if we are fortunate to have parents that talk and articulate the world to us. I notice at the book festival so many chatting in small groups and using the spoken word. Melvyn also mentioned, just as the printing press had had a huge impact on books - art was being hugely changed by the lasting effect that recording on videos, CDs, DVDs was having on popular art and music. Before this 'popular art' had no lasting record. He said it was often the quite simple that was the best art - while some thought it was about how complicated or difficult art was. Great art can come from anywhere and its about the quality of imagination - and actually I think that's the key thing - and it is about that extra 2%.

Sunday. I took photos of Peter Mendelson, the prince of spin. There is a freezing wind today - brr, brr, in the press pod. Later the sun comes out, for that late evening glow when the festival is at it's very best.
The Authors Look and the Subtleties of character. I wonder whether there is a 'style guru' involved for the author's look as there are for the music world artists - but no there isn't.

Monday. There is no better place to hear or read the spoken or written word than the book festival. Author of Day of the Jackal Frederick Forsyth was here today. The festival wound down with a night of music in the Unbound show - with King Creoste, Chemical Underground, Alan Bissett, Ryan Van Winkle and Burnt Island. On my return train to Glasgow the sun is a subtle glow and the harvesters are out in the cornfields - I think of cycles and how things re- new. That's another Edinburgh festival biting the dust as those who came wheel their suitcases away. Edinburgh is steeped in deep history - as if the past voices echo to us in the very fibre of the old stones. The Book festival has been magic fun - inspiring and memorable. I look at the empty tables in the press pod and I hope I am there next year.
(Posted here poets Seamus Heaney and Keorapetse Kgositsile and crime writer Christopher Brookmyre)