Monday, June 18, 2012

Zamami People Project - Opening

It began in April, 2011 as an idea to celebrate my time on Zamami and say thank you to the community.  Fourteen months, 60 [final] photos, and about 200 people photographed later, I had held the opening party to my exhibition last night at the port.  The timing couldn't have been better as there are usually no tourists on Sunday evening, but even less so with the approaching typhoon.

Despite a weekend totally full of printing, mounting, hanging, and baking, I was able to pull it all off with no minutes to spare.  In fact, the air conditioning at the port started warping the paper and pulling apart the two-sided tape that I'd used to secure the photos to the mats, so throughout the show I was running around with stronger two-sided tape fixing up the photos to salvage all the work I'd put into making them look perfect.

[most of the kids and teachers from school came, which was really nice]

[the mayor giving an opening speech]

[The lowlight of the evening was definitely me struggling through my Japanese speech.  It was long and I didn't have time to practice and I sounded like a first-grader.  Considering the importance with which I valued the speech's content, I wish now I'd had it translated a month ago and I'd spent a lot more time rehearsing.]

[I held a raffle for all the attendees and I gave away five prints.  This junior high third-grader won first  choice.  He was featured in the J.H. 3rd grade photo.]

[The policeman's 3-year-old son won 2nd place.  He was featured in the policeman's family photo.]

[This woman helped me immensely in photographing all of the old people, so I was glad to see her win.  She was also featured in a 'Generations' photo of her family.]

[Genta - wasn't in a photo but he's a very nice kid.]

[This guy snubbed the generational photo of his family, leaving only his parents and daughter, so I think he felt bad about winning.  His daughter yelled out "cheater!" to him, which was amusing. He was one of just two people who avoided or declined to be photographed for the project.]

[The marlin captain surprised me by ordering this huge bouquet of flowers from Naha for the opening ceremony.  What a generous present!]

There were 73 names in the raffle bucket, plus at least 10 who didn't enter or came late, so my conservative guess is 85-90 attendees, or 15% of the 582 people who live on Zamami.  There were a few important friends who didn't make it, which saddened me a bit, but I'm getting over it.  Their absence was offset by the people who brought beer, sake, wine, or tea to donate and the mothers who donated their evenings to helping set up, take down, and keeping the general logistics under control.

Ultimately I'm happy with how the show turned out.  Neither my computer nor printer broke and my camera and lights worked almost flawlessly.  And while I didn't get much sleep this weekend, the end result was exactly as I'd envisioned.  I just hope the community 'gets' the purpose of the show, which is to say thank you for my time here.

The photos will be up for five weeks before I will take them down and give them to the subjects.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Oldest Woman

There's actually a woman who is older, but she is bedridden.  This 97-year-old walked a couple of blocks to come for this photo, so she deserves the extra-large-sized print she'll get in the show.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Zamami People Project - Counting Down

With the opening this weekend, I am quite busy during this, the last week.  I've been photographing on every day that doesn't rain (and even some that do) and I've pared my list down to just 3-4 more photos I hope to get before Sunday.  Some photos will have to be taken after Sunday and they'll either be included as an addendum to the show or put into a book later on.  I'm still deciding on making a book, but I'm leaning towards it.  There seems to be a lot of interest.

Here is the oldest, non-bed-ridden woman on Zamami.  She's 97.  I've got both the oldest woman and man now!

After the opening this Sunday I'll spend some more time uploading the photos to my website and here.