Rest in (Dove's) Piss

“Rest in (Dove’s) Piss” – Performance in Palermo

While I was in Palermo to work on my performance as part of the minifestival at the Cantieri Culturali alla Zisa, I was also photographing the other shows that took place. One of those, Rest in (Dove's) Piss, was collectively created by Claudia di Gangi, Alexandra Draghici, Lesley Ewen, Dario lo Cicero and Josephine Were. This was a site-specific piece that used a lot of strong visual images as well as instruments created from objects found in the space. Photographed is Claudia pouring water on Alexandra.

The setup was such that the audience looked at the room most of the performers were in through a window from a fixed distance. All of the images were framed for them by the window. However, as a photographer, they suggested that I place myself inside the room out of sight of the audience but with the best view of everything taking place inside. It was a unique and interesting position to be in, and resulted in some great images that would have otherwise been impossible. I'm not entirely sure about the optics of this, but I think that by looking through a window at something framed you see much more than a camera can from the same distance - because of course you have two eyes. So it's very hard to capture what the audience actually sees in this situation, unless you go and stand a few feet in front of them, directly in the middle of the frame. Of course, if you do that then they don't actually see it at all, so you defeat the whole point unless you're shooting the dress rehearsal. Anyway, in this situation it was fine to be in the room and stay there, because there were a couple of other photographers outside to capture the bits I'd miss.

Lesley Ewen - Rest in Dove's Piss

I really liked this set turned black and white. I shoot everything in colour and raw, and very rarely convert to black and white except for acting headshots. However, these look fantastic converted to black and white, and it's been nice to practice working on them in this way. My process for black and white is generally to start by lowering the contrast and getting quite a flat image before painting in the contrast manually with dodge, burn and clarity in lightroom.

Rest in (dove's) piss

Dario is here playing a flute made from a metal oar - extremely well I have to say, it's not just for the look of it. He was also playing roof tiles on a clothes rack which sounded like they were tuned to quarter tones, although I have no idea how he'd done it if that was the case. He also had a glass flute which Josie played in the performance.

Rest in (dove's) piss

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