Mike Ashurst - A builder from Merseyside - a reluctant subject but a successful portrait taken at the Wolvstock Festival in a Pop Up studio over a weekend at the event in 2009
Wolverhampton Music and cultural festival .Americana and Country & Western fans gather at East Park and where a piece of the Black Country into the 51st State ,for a long weekend in June.This portrait project was part of my MA final work and it is essentially about identity and tribes . I set up a studio at the festival and over two days produced a series of portraits on medium format digital PhaseOne & Hasselblad my equipment of choice when working in a controlled studio environment.
Portrait photography is simple or very complex, the subject has an idea about what they want to be seen as and the photographer has an idea of what he or she wants to create as a representation of the subject, if they are the same thing,then it can be a simple process, if not it can be very complex and the end result can be very satisfying for the photographer but the subject may not agree that what is portrayed is them. This is what I love about portrait photography.
I'm saddened by my lack of details with this work, I moved and somewhere in the records I hope the captions and names of these wonderful subjects are to be found, it is not because of lack of respect, I appreciate that the subjects of this project gave their time, I did send them all prints and had the data ,but that was a couple website updates ago and many moves.
This series was photographed in Wolverhampton at East park in 2009 - I set up a Gazbo and with portable flash I took portraits over the Saturday & Sunday. I was able to engage with the audience and vet the subjects, spending time with them, getting subject release forms signed and ensuring they were not rushed in the process, this gentleman was let us say 'relaxed' as he had had the contents of the bottle that was slung from his denim outfit. It was great to be part of this happy band of Country fans.
The man in Black, if I remember correctly this gentleman came from West Bromwich, where I was born and spent a lot of my childhood, I spent more time later in Birmingham but I am still from the Black Country and proud of my diverse heritage (Norwegian, Black Country & Brummie) . I return to that part of the Midlands and my memories flood back, my accent reverts to its roots and I feel that my old world is not so different to my new, people are the same the world over, but they do seem more friendly the further north you go? Living in Warwickshire is wonderful and my life is there, but I wonder, what if I had stayed?
Portraits at Wolvstock Festival - Studio set up at festival to record the fans of Country & Western Music & the Americana music culture-