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Mr.Vanilla & the gentle giant
(02-12-2007)
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Reunion
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Africa
PHOTO DESCRIPTION
I'm so tired... this sunday, my flight has taken me from the cold dullness, landing into the glaring morning light of Reunion island.
it's only 6AM but it looks like the sun has been partying all night long.

I am too early to get to my hotel, still hours to wait.. in the meantime, I have to find MrVanilla at Péti Mawché, the only one open on a sunday morning. I remember he's located  past the poultry area... the muslim held corner... funny how quickly the vanilla scent takes over the birdshit stench. Waiting for Mr.Vanilla, I shoot the Comorian chicken seller.

Mr.Vanilla says : "I've got the best Vanille Péi you can buy, all for cuisine grand chef, rhum arrangé et tout...How much you pay? 100, 200?" he likes to play the Scarface of the vanilla business and teases me... I'm not ready for bargaining, I'm struggling to see something yet behind my sunglasses. I'm a cheapskate "You give me what you got for 20, ok?".

Mr.Vanilla's sister is beautiful like a testimony to the britton and african ascendants of these islanders, white coffee skin and emerald eyes. She asks me whether I would like some herbs for the rhum punch too.
I'd really like to get a picture of Mr.Vanilla counting his vanilla sticks like the Cincinnati Kid mixing a heap of poker cards... but now way, I feel too tired. Next time maybe. I also think I forgot something.

On my way out in the narrow alleys of Péti Maw'ché, I stumble against a HUGE guy who seems coming out of "the Green Line" movie. For a moment I'm Tom Hanks. I freeze and shoot this impressive silhouette.

Yeah... I remember now what I forgot... manual film unwind can be tricky, I've never advanced the film take and alike Tom Hanks, I put the gentle giant behind a bird cage.  
APN LOMO - Lubitel 166
Registred camera LOMO Lubitel 166 (Reflex camera)
Orignal filename vanilla.jpg

comments

01/26/2008
The time has come to delve into your project... I have been avoiding it to tell the truth, for I did realise that it would take my full concentration. It was not something I could grasp with a fleeting interest.

So here I am, after almost an hour of absorbing the content. The question  is, how would I be feeling if I had not read your notes? I don't think it matters.  It's a deep introduction. The references you made makes the work fascinating to me. Makes me want to go somewhere and be anonymous for a while.. I'm feeling sleepy just now though, so I'll settle for your stories instead.

First thing that strikes me is that glaring sun - reminiscent of mornings I have spent in strange places, just soaking it in. Despite the presence of the others, the atmosphere seems calm and silent.

Its difficult to write beneath your photograph, because I feel like I should be telling you something you don't already know. In fact, I have nothing like that to say. Maybe I'll try again later..

You've always captivated us with your charming words, but you seem to have excelled yourself here, by presenting it this way.
12/16/2007
up to your third post in this set, i'll start with this one, my fav so far.. an intimate travel/photo journal, you really are bearing your soul to us here...  the narrative goes very well with the imagery and the lubitel interprets your mood/feeling perfectly.. i really like the format, quite creative, in fact i think you should use your own handwriting (unless it's terrible like mine)... to me the big dark shadow here represents that uncertainty, jadedness you speak of... a big fan, looking forward to more and the (probably not happy?) ending...
12/14/2007
Hello Luko,
You must a master of suspense like Mr Hitchcock, or like Great Garbo .After a long time when everybody has been waiting for you or for something to happen, you suddenly pop up to light and make one shot or project the headlines of the site;-) Clever marketing my friend! il faut savoir se faire rare dans ce monde..-) Just joking. I guess I really understand where you come from and what your doubts are. Reading your intro to the theme, I thought I was writing something of a similar sort!...
Back to the first shot and this extraordianry idea to come up with some text on the side. Reminds me of those instant photos that are still very much in use in the fashion world, just cannot recall its name right now.. later maybe! polaroid! That's it! It gives a different approach to the whole thing. This photo is very deep, as one can see both the inside as well as the exterior scene with this man in a white outfit staring at you with a smile on his face... Theere is so much to see in there, that one can easily get lost and still discover new items.. a pure gem for a start! compliementi and looking for more Luko !
12/14/2007
What a splash, Luko! You did not wade in, you dived in, clean, with ripples (here 'splash' contradicts the 'dive' analogy---difficulties with human language I suppose ;-)
I need to savour this, and read comments by others, but now I must run to the lab, so, I will return my friend.  Before I go--a terrific idea!!
A
OK, I am back.  I read your intro.  This series should turn out to be quite interesting, even beyond the idea of the narrative as a part of the photo.  The square format to me provides the quaint charm of the old colonial world. Your ennui, our gift. This one is like a dream.
12/13/2007
i immediately knew, but couldn't remember exactly whose photographic style this was( i had seen a similar style few months back..) ...thanks for the Max Pam reference to Francis....now beyond that....i am an absolute sucker for this inaugral shot of your 'film'..really love it....it's such a lovely and personalised way of representing your story...not a surprise for me as to how well you've merged the visual and the texual narrative ...as an audience i am instantaneously immersed into your narrative..brilliant!
siddhartha
12/13/2007
Hi Luko; it is great to see a post from you. The photo is a cool double exposure I think and I applaud you for arriving with such a flourish. It is just my own shortcoming here, but I have to say that while I am impressed with your originality here, I really can't get into this upload all that much personally. AGain, just a personal thing on my part.
12/13/2007

As soon as I saw the thumbnail on the first page of the gallery, long before I read your note and the introduction to your project, or your answer to Francis, I though about Max Pam and the influence he has on your travel photography. Going East throttled in my mind. Because if there’s something linear between this post and what we have been used to with your photography, is that you make travel photography, because you are as much a photographer as a traveller. Moreover, it is on the roads of the world, and their representations you bring to light from your dark chamber, that you seem to discover yourself, in the most intimate and inner travel one can make.

 

As much as many photographers have a cinematic approach to photography, and in spite of the reference to The Green Line, you seem deeply rooted on the literary stylistic genre, whether you like it or not. I have been reading you for more than three years, and I have gathered enough evidence… Many of our web friends who have been doing the same usually appreciate your very structured analysis while commenting on photographs or various other themes. I also have learned quite a bit from that, but it is the storyteller in you that moves me the most because you have that rare capability of including yourself in the story you tell, to the point that there isn’t any story outside you. We only photograph ourselves, don’t we.

 

You start with a project so deeply anchored in an inner perception of the outside world, when physical tiredness associated to the loss of references (that might be also the self questioning about the sense of our lives) give us the feeling of crawling either towards salvation or despair. It makes me plunge in a heterogeneous mix of A. Camus (L’Etranger) and N. Bouvier (The Scorpion Fish) universes, even though the geographical gap. Time, its absence or its omnipresence – as you wish – is another element indissociable of your visual world

 

Your introductory text to the project carries already an important part of the story (even if there will not be a sequence, the narrative process is present), instead of remaining a neutral introduction letting the story unfold along the posts. Hence, I would not have minded to see some of its thoughts directly associated to one of the photographs in the series. It is a very good text, better than the one attached to this photograph.

 

But, I see that I have started wandering off the subject, and in fact have already laid here some of the thoughts that would best fit as a Project’s comment. This is an original way to start over and it definitely appeals to my intellect as well as my emotional perceptions. Let’s hope it unfolds as brilliantly as it has started.

 

Gal

12/13/2007
After experiencing this upload I have made my mind: I want to abolish notes for single pictures... Why?, you ask me... Well, the answer is right there in your picture. The words that surround the photo are as important - I would risk say even more important - as the photo itself. And that's why you included them in the frame. For me, a picture needs to be a picture without lengthy notes. If someone tries to say something that isn't in the picture, he fails - imho. If he/she wants to make a story out of a picture that doesn't tell it, to me that's a failure. And I have the feeling that some of us try to justify bad pictures though the use of good words... But if someone wants to tell a story - a words story - and wants to complement that with a photo, that's great. That's what illustrators usually do... So Mr. Illustrator, I love your first chapter very much, and I do love the illustration you decided to include in it. The Green Mile guy steeping out of the prison in the most grandiose way is indeed a great view. The multiple layers trick couldn't work better. What a post!
12/13/2007
Hello Luko
j'ai peu de temps pour commenter, en ce moment sur Holik, mes journée sont  longues entre les prises de vues et les aller retour a Pattaya sur la réalisation de la maquette du livre pour le Tiffany ( comme tous clients ) ils ont des exigences, et je dois refaire pas mal de prise de vue.
je tenais tout de même, à commenter cette photo et te féliciter, pour ce premier projet. c'est vraiment bien de voir quelque chose de different. un projet que je vais bien sur suivre avec intérêt.
Juste une petite remaque technique sur la compression, il semble que le texte n'a pas vraiment apprécié cette compression. Comment as tu procédé pour le réalisation de ce montage?
je vois autour du texte comme un cartouche, c'est voulu ?

A suivre ...

••fly••
12/13/2007

Oh, what a start...exactly what I want to see on PH. I can absolutely tell that you've put some thought into this series and that you're taking very seriously the structure of the project coming to our eyes. I've opened the first page of an immediately interesting book...can't wait to see the rest.
What of the shot...well, reflecting on your words this seems to be an incredible outline of the story to unfold in the future. Incredible job displaying the elements here...The HUGE guy is dominating yet very much in the background...The shot is almost like the dustjacket of a novel...Somehow someone has to deisplay the contents of story in just one image...can that be done? Is that what you've done? I guess we'll have to see.
Waiting...it's great, I'm excited.

Chris

12/13/2007
On he one hand, not my cup of tea, on the other Im happy you went and posted something so different, a bit of sand in the eye for some who may want to put too many restrictions on our interpretations of what stories and projects can be.  The reflection is fantastic, it does have that Pinkhassov feel.
12/13/2007
I never figured you to go the Duane Michaels route, Luko, but upon reflection it's perfectly logical - the accumulation and "aboutissement" of traits already in evidence, "hinted at" before...
Big Fellow coming your way, you looking doen at the ground glass waist level finder of your Soviet thingie, Big Fellow upside down in the frame. You shoot. "Damn", it's a ...double exposure (non?) but a miraculaous one as it turns out.
Film Noir, Noir the voice too that narrates, tired, world weary but still a litle intoxicated by the spices around him in that familiar exoticism of the isles...
Touches of Sasa here actually in the photo, along with many other elements.
The Project as "journal", terrific idea.

Some things...are definitely worth waiting for ;o)
12/13/2007
Warm welcome, Luko! I have kept wondering when you will actually join... You have entered PH with an elan and punch that jolts me out of my evening reverie. The idea of putting your story beside the shot, the gentle giant beside the chicken seller. All is a new type of magic realism, I'd say, it somehow reminds me of an African flavour of the mood in Marquez's novels... there is so much playfulness in this dreamlike and ultimately very amusing shot--one might quote Pinkhassov with the reflections, but here with the interplay between large and small. Fantastic way to start the series, iconoclastic, new, sizzling. Look forward to the continuation.
sasa