Mark showed work at Photo Scratch on 9th October 2017 at Hotel Elephant. Here he shares his experience.
I first heard about Photo Scratch, when attending a Photo Forum event in late 2016. I came along as a visitor in April 2017, mainly to see what it was all about. That visit encouraged me to apply to showcase my own project. This is the first time I have tried to do something like this, but the instructions Hanna and Phil provide really helped (read them!).
It was whilst attending an academic conference in Cuba, that I was inspired to start the project I showcased: “Reparacion – the never-ending life of Cuban things”. Having shown the work to several people I’d already done an edit (or, so I thought).
What did I learn? – Firstly, people liked the project (!) and I got some interesting feedback about new insights it had provided and some possible outlets. Secondly, it needed a much tighter edit and a much clearer narrative. After listening to these comments and reading the feedback forms it was clear that I actually had three projects and needed to split them (or kill some). For me the timing of Photo Scratch was perfect. I am heading out to Havana again soon to do more work on the project(s). But this time I will go with a much clearer idea of what I need to better tell these stories. Thirdly, and despite my initial trepidation (as a first timer), it was fun and inspiring. Fourth – read the instructions (again!) and make sure you prepare, it takes longer to set up that you think!
So, I have already split the showcased project into three – a more general ‘Reparacion – the never-ending life of Cuban things’ which, based on the feedback, will aim to show more broadly the culture of repair in Cuba. I am also going to continue working on two ‘spin-off projects’, which are more personal perspectives on the lives of Ivan and family who run electrical repair workshops, and Yalisan, who repairs cigarette lighters. As well as these repair projects, I am also continuing to work on another ongoing project in Cuba, called Zonas deportivas urbanas, it covers sports areas and their recreational and social use in urban Havana. Feel free to take a look.
And the final thing I learnt – there is lots of encouragement and (free) helpful advice out there … use it. Thank you.