I was ‘volunteered’ to take some pictures at Lyme Regis community fete to support the Jazz Jurassica festival.  This takes place on the late May bank holiday weekend, but the fete was a couple of weeks beforehand.

Being a Jazzfest I thought it would be interesting to allow people the opportunity to indulge in a little performance of their own, so I procured a number of disparate musical instruments to use as props.  The setting was in the open air so everyone was hoping for a fine sunny day; they were in luck.

I put up a black background on wooden supports.  The background was muslin but even so it needed additional opaque material behind to stop the rear view grinning through.  I was prepared for the very bright sunlight with a large scrim in a frame, sitting over the top of the photography area.  The scrim is ripstop parachute silk and it makes a very soft light in direct sun.

Various visitors stopped by to have their portrait taken.  Then more people turned up – a football team, a something (what is the collective noun?) of Morris Men, all squeezed onto a 3metre backdrop.  Everyone was in very high spirits.

People often find it difficult to know what to do with their hands when being photographed, so the props were useful.  They also gave people the opportunity to lark around a bit and show a little of their more relaxed nature.

This is what my open-air studio looked like:

Oddly enough it doesn’t look so sunny in these, but it was blasting hot as I remember it.  I had to lower the overhead scrim as the sun went down through the afternoon.  Sometimes a bit of fill from a handheld reflector was employed by Glamorous Assistant.  Typically, in the later afternoon, an onshore breeze started up but the weights held things down nicely.  This was 5% photography, 40% public relations and the rest was shifting the furniture.  It was an enjoyable and rewarding experience for me though, likewise, I think, for the participants.  Files-by-email were offered to sitters, but not to individuals in the large groups.  They looked like this (click on the picture to open the viewer):


The format varies because the promoters wanted both portrait and landscape.