3. Barcelona – Catalunya – España
After thirteen editions in different European countries, the Olympus Perspective Playground exhibit has come to Barcelona, ocated in the old convent of the Hospital de Sant Paul. A dozen interactive installations and several hundred cameras available to visitors, allow them to practice photography in scenarios that offer a lot of fun. The same location gains ghostly hues with the bluish mist that rises from the grounds of the modernist enclosure. With the OM-D Mark-II, photographing at 1/30 per second at ISO 1000 is child’s play. The chromatic contrast with the yellow windows reinforces the atmosphere. Two very effective, complementary colours.
A blue carpet leads me to the facilities. Then the “Resonant Space” by Doering and Lauber captivates me. The visitors’ movements transform the geometric games that are projected on three walls, in addition to the floor and the ceiling, with the help of a sophisticated computer set-up. The light effects blend into the silhouettes of a couple that starts a spontaneous dance in this futuristic setting.
Later I experiment with “Contact Lens”, a milestone for someone who lives imagining the world through a camera lens. This installation is not found in any enclosed space and I surround it as if it were a gigantic necklace suspended from the ceiling. After purposely wasting time, circling around Haruka Kojin’s work and observing the interactions of the public, I noticed how the acrylic circles alter the spectators’ faces. Just need to wait for the right character who, when detecting my presence with the Mark II, comes near the eye and treats me with a lick, giving me the photo I wanted.
The verb give, in this case, is well employed. You do not “take” a photograph. In fact, when it comes to human beings, they “give” it to you, they “offer” it to you. If the model is aware that he is being targeted, they may deny their photo from being “taken” (that is, that their image is taken) or allow the photographer to do their work taking advantage of their physical features. It is the chemistry of the portrait. As I reflect on that possibility, the portrait that Yousuf Karsh took of Winston Churchill comes to mind. As the Prime Minister, he always posed himself smiling, the photographer ripped the cigar out of his mouth and without a word he pressed the trigger. Churchill, who could not believe what had happened, became very serious, out of his game, but when he saw the results he recognized that it was one of the best portraits one had ever taken of him. In general, the interaction with the photographer is essential. One look, one smile helps. For that reason I often wait patiently for someone to surprise me with an unexpected reaction and if I take it I thank him. So far, no one has punched me.
In another corner, Martin Butler proposes a room that plays with optical illusions and reality. The tall ones are transformed into dwarfs and the short ones grow in a surrounding with a seemingly well-balanced perspective. The children, so to speak, exceed their parents’ size. Several holes allow to photograph the attending public.
“Fantastic Voyage” allows virtual tours; “Lightpainting” games of light in a dark environment; the photographer David Gramage photographs the visitors in black and white (an opportunity that I take advantage of because he has an exceptional eye) and, given the eyes, I go to the “Humatic” exhibit where some girls photograph my iris, the eye of the photographer. “The most important thing – I think – are the 30 cm behind the camera”.