Visits to Bass Rock
Since stepping foot on the Bass Rock last year I have developed a fascination for Gannets and marvelling at the sight of these wonderful birds hitting the water like torpedoes at 30mph to catch fish for their youngsters. What I didn’t realise of course was that some of them had travelled up to 200 kilometres from their nesting sites on one of the 5 or 6 colonies scattered round the coast of the British Isles.
I had six attempts last year to get onto the Rock 5 of which were cancelled due to the unfavourable weather conditions. The same is happening this year and my final attempt will be on the 7th August. Here’s hoping.
Being in close proximity to these wonderful birds on Bass made it a challenge to get some special photographs of them and also the opportunity just to sit and watch the behavioural patterns that they displayed. I took some short clips of film and sound recordings and just practicing using the video features of my new nikon camera.
When the time came for me to decide what my approach was going to be to the next Spring Fling event at the end of May this year I new that I needed to be more creative. Eventually having thought and dreamed about gannets since that visit I came up with my plan which was to create an installation in my little studio where people could have a close encounter with gannets.
Multimedia was the answer. Combining still images, moving images and audio in the relative comfort of a white room. A comfortable alternative to the sometimes wild weathered, smelly, noisy gannet colony.
Step one – to print still images of gannets onto something other than photographic paper. Answer Chiffon??? Why chiffon you might ask? Well it is as light as a feather, it moves gently in the slightest of air movements and takes up the printed image reasonably well. A visit to Glasgow School of Art confirmed my decision and I ordered my first test print. It worked. I hung it in the studio and created some air movement with a fan. Great. I ordered several more all with slightly different images on different sizes of chiffon.
My plan was coming together slowly.
Step Two - Create the white room. The small room at the end of my gallery space was just about the right size. I lined it with the special white paper I use for back drops when doing my portrait photography.
Step three - Create a video to project onto the ceiling. I had the footage of gannets flying above and I had recorded some of the gannet sounds. All I needed now was music to give the whole thing and extra dimension and add to the atmosphere. Son Christopher having graduated in Music Composition at Bristol soon came up with something pretty amazing.
Step 4. - Experimentation. Spring Fling gave me the ideal opportunity to challenge my visitors. In all 180 people experienced Infinite View either sitting or lying in my white room immersing themselves amongst the gannets for 11 minutes. It was so rewarding to see the people coming out with big smiles on their faces. The feed back was 100% positive.
I had nearly 50 different descriptive terms written on my feed back forms. Mesmerising, relaxing, therapeutic, gannetastic, dreamy, and many more words I had never heard before.
INFINITE VIEW from Roger Lever on Vimeo.
Where now? Next month - August at the Mill on the Fleet in Gatehouse. I have another challenge of setting the whole thing up again in a somewhat different space. Between Ken Smyth and myself I think we have it sussed. If you are feeling down and need to escape your normal daily routine. Drop in for a gannetastic therapy session at no cost but your time.
Thereafter The Seabird Centre in North Berwick and hopefully a few other venues.