by Trevor Yerbury Published 01/02/2012
One of the most disturbing session occurred when we were making a portrait of a young ex soldier working at the Poppy Factory who had suffered PTSD in Afghanistan, when I looked through the back of the Canham, remembering you see the image upside down and in reverse, and I focused in on his eyes and was shocked to see that there was nothing there, the eyes were simply empty of any emotion or feeling. We will never know what those who serve their country go through both historically and presently but they deserve respect from everybody.
From our previous experience with our CITIZENS exhibition back in 2003/04, which was seen by over two million visitors, images are wonderful but the viewer needs information. For CITIZENS we simply have a couple of paragraphs about why the person was in the exhibition so they could understand and place that person in context.
With this exhibition at each session we took along an 8x6-inch piece of white card and, either before or after the portrait had been made, Faye sat down with the sitter and asked them to write on the card what the poppy meant to them. They then signed the card and, where required, followed by their regiment. We now have the most wonderful collection of cards, some with one word, some with drawing, some with a statement and some with a life story on a single white card. Amazing words, amazing people. When it came to printing the images funding only allowed for mounted images and we were delighted when Tony Herlinger from Fotospeed offer to help sponsor the printing. I asked Tony if you would use my favourite paper, the Fotospeed Platinum Gloss Warm Tone, and we were delighted with the finished images complete with the Poppy Scotland logo.
When it came to exhibiting the images I was clear with the charity that in order to create the most impact they should be exhibited in a very public space. As a result of my advice they agreed with Princes Mall, a major shopping centre in Princes Street, Edinburgh, that they would host the exhibition between November and the end of January.
We still have around 20 portraits to make during this 90th year and discussions are already taking place with other venues around Scotland who are interested in hosting the exhibition and a book is also in discussion.
This has been our latest 'Project' and those who have been on any of our seminars or workshops will know that we feel that such projects only enhance your life experience as a photographer. Such work does not make money but this is not about making money it's about creating images that matter.
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