|"Green" from our practice |
We arrived bright and early with a bag full of stuff we thought we'd need for the day: emergency Jaffa Cakes, pens and paper, a bag of meeples.. Oh yeah, meeples. If you haven't ventured into my blog before you'll be unaware of the fact Gareth and I are massive modern board game enthusiasts (and I even work for a board game shop!) - meeples are "mini people" often used instead of pawns in games. We chose to use a red one from the game Tournay as the star of our photos and to provide a bit of a through-line. It was pretty much our undoing...
Partaking in coffee and a cake in the Millennium Centre, we waited for the clock to tick down. What were going to be the topics? Will we be able to incorporate Fred the Meeple into each shot? Would another slice of cake hurt? Finally everyone gathered and there was a rousing, celebratory speech to commemorate ten years of Photomarathon. Then we were off, we bustled out of the door and were handed our fate for the next four hours. They were: 1. Me, Myself and I (plus entry number) 2. Street Level 3. Camouflage and 4. Ten. It was time for an excited wander around the bay, throwing ideas back and forth.
|1. Me, Myself and I|
Like everybody else we immediately were drawn to the idea of three images of a person (meeple) for Me, Myself and I. As we wandered we saw more and more people taking those shots though and struggled to come up with something more original. Failing to find inspiration, we thought about ideas for the other categories. We spotted red chairs in the Millennium Centre shop and darted over there to ask permission to photograph Fred against them. This granted, we did a test shot (yes, well before the first two images were even chosen - we were back in our dangerous practice-run territory.) We loved the bright red background against Fred, it was perfect for camouflage. Gareth already had a strong idea of what he wanted to do for Street Level so Me, Myself and I was really holding us up.
|2. Street Level|
Ten. Ten was a struggle. There were a lot of literal things we could have gone for - ten meeples being the most obvious, but Ga really wanted something a bit different. As usual I stuck to stating the obvious "We should have realised "ten" would be a category - it's the tenth anniversary!" I don't think Gareth found it very helpful. Back in the Red Dragon Centre we headed into the Bowling Arcade, desperate for inspiration. The penny-pushers were where we hit gold - not only for 1p or 2p, there were machines full of 10ps! We tried out different ideas, having Fred and loads of 10ps in the coin tray to make it look like he was a prize, but it just wasn't a very nice shot. Gareth went over to ask the man whether we could put Fred inside the machine for a moment, explaining about the photomarathon. He was incredibly helpful and opened up the machine for us - despite it being a really busy day! We only had a few moments to take the shot so it may not be the best angle or focus - but it certainly involved the most gumption!
It was time for the pub and some Pepsi. Looking through our photos we were reasonably happy at this stage - it was going okay, maybe some weren't perfect but they weren't awful either! Avoiding awful was pretty much where our hopes lay for the day. Then it was back to the Millennium Centre to pick up the second set of topics. 5. We're All In This Together 6. Attention to Detail 7. Control 8. Crossed Wires. A pattern seemed to develop at this stage - Gareth would immediately have plans for the second shot, the third shot we had loads of thoughts for but the first would cause a disagreement and the last we would be utterly stuck for ideas for.
We also started to really regret using the meeple. He was a pain when we were idea-less, often tethering us to very literal interpretations of ideas and sometimes felt very "tacked on" to the shots (if he feels like that now, wait until you see the worn-out Aimee and Gareth's idea for topic twelve!) For, "We're All In This Together," Gareth wanted to do a photograph somewhere that showed the divide between rich and poor. This slowly became more and more impossible to capture - even with a bus journey to central Cardiff. Tips for future board-game-playing photomarathoners (surely, there are others out there!) - meeples look utterly rubbish lining up to get into job centres. Even when you try multiple job centres..
|5. We're All In This Together|
|6. Attention to Detail|
|8. Crossed Wires|
The next four topics were: Dying of the Light, Stacked Up, Join the Dots and That's A Wrap! Our pattern of the first one being tricky to agree on, the second two going well and the last one being somewhat hopeless kicked in again. We went for food - maybe our brains would work better with a pint and a burger inside them! The Dying of the Light ideas were split between a Dylan Thomas book we picked up (meeples are hopeless at reading though..) or a moodily lit shot. We asked if we could use the cupboard in the pub, but were sadly told it would have to go through their PR department! Fair enough, we finished our meals and headed back into the Bay and found a nice shadowed area:
|9. Dying of the Light|
Stacked Up was a simple one - we had brought plenty of meeples with us and they joined Fred to build a pyramid. Sadly not a very high one as I had very clumsy fingers:
We were down to the last two - and were still milling around in the Millennium Centre. We had considered finding somewhere the had loads of decorative dots and using string or chalk to shape a meeple through them, or alternatively just draw one on some paper. Luckily, however, there was an amazing blackboard in the Millennium Centre and our join the dots was born:
|10. Stacked Up|
|11. Join The Dots|
|12. That's A Wrap|