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On Judging a Regional Art Award

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The Somerset Bendigo Bank Art Award – July 26, 2019

 

I spent most of the day at Esk in south-east Queensland judging a regional art award organised by the Somerset Art Society. The Awards attracted a diverse collection of 337 artworks ranging from re-purposed kitchenalia made into sculptures to delicate fine ceramics, to tapestries, photographs and the traditional oil on canvas. Decisions about what was the ‘best’ art in 4 main categories and 4 other special awards were required to be made with my judging partner Dr Beata Batorowicz, artist and Associate Professor from the University of Southern Queensland. The curator of the event and the judging process was LeAnne Vincent.

 

Beata + Doug Photo: Victoria Cooper

 

Let the judging begin

As a judge I have an interest and expectation that I will receive a story from each artwork. The communiqué could be about the artist’s insight or comment about some idea or issue and it must resonate in some way to transform or challenge my understanding of the world. After a judge’s briefing by LeAnne we individually reviewed the works that had been hung on moveable wall panels and plinths within the expanses of the Somerset Civic Centre. Works from each of the 3 2D categories of (1) painting and works on paper, (2) fabrics and (3) photography were grouped for easy viewing and comparison on the panels. The 3D works were arranged in the central gallery and front gallery areas.

At the end of our first review Beata and I met and discussed the work generally and looked at works that had left a strong impressions with us. We walked around the gallery again this time in conversation gaining an understanding not only about the works but also each other’s point of view, opinions and our perceived strengths or weaknesses of certain works. The selection of Beata and myself as judges brought together an opportunity to utilise the overlap of our individual arts practice and our understanding of artmaking processes and storyteling through art.

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Judges among the display panels PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

 

The regional artist and their role in community beyond the Awards

Over an afternoon coffee with my partner Victoria Cooper I reflected upon the role of the artist in regional communities. As the viewer of many artworks today I had received and been touched by so many stories and communiqués. I thought about the important role of artists in recording and documenting their lived experience. And how in a changing world these artworks come to be a history of place, a touchstone for the issues, moods and interests of that time.

 

Somerset Regional Art Gallery – The Condensery

Somerset Regional Art Gallery – The Condensery

 

Art tourism in regional Australia

In the afternoon Vicky and I visited the Somerset Regional Art Gallery at The Condensery in the small town Toogoolawah just north of Esk. Formerly a condensed milk factory it has been repurposed into an art gallery with two exhibition spaces.

I thought about how art tourism is a burgeoning catch cry in regional Australia. Fine examples include Toowoomba’s First Coat Street Art initiative that brings visitors to that community and the Silo art project in Central/western Victoria that has created a boon to local businesses. Tourists now don’t drive through the town; they now stop and stay to take in those large-scale silo mural projects.

Perhaps with this growing interest in art tourism and the wealth of artwork abundantly visible in this exhibition it may be time to consider the The Condensery as a major regional gallery space with the funding for and arts manager/curator to oversee the display and management of the arts facility.

The various sponsors of the art awards including the major sponsor the Bendigo Bank clearly support the artists and their community. The Hon. Shayne Neumann federal member for Blair, and Somerset Mayor Graham Lehman speaking at the awards event both identified and praised the importance of the arts to the community. So perhaps now is the time for the next step.

 

Dr Doug Spowart

 

The formal group at the Awards presentation night…… PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

 

THE AWARDS

We selected the 3D category first and reviewed personal favourites and their stories – sometimes guided by the title. We were also interested in the techniques employed and the way the artwork operated within the 3D space. A small bronze work entitled Swim Squad by Mela Cooke was selected as the First Prize. The sculpture represents a stilled moment of two figures by a pool. Swimming togs and bathing caps in a greenish patina clad the two young female figures their legs dawn up encircled by arms and clasped by hand.

(Photographs from the SASI website courtesty of LeAnne Vincent)

 

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Next we approached the textiles and I was interested in Beata’s insights into the range of materials and techniques presented. Works I this category included traditional tapestry, contemporary image-making through materials collaged together with extensive over-sewing. The First Prize winner and the inaugural Hetty Van Boven Textile Award was Elisabeth Czaia with her work Afternoon Shadow. The work was the representation of a room interior with the perspective flattened to resemble a two-dimensional space. The colour scheme was a riot of colour predominantly green with accents of purple and tangerine.

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The Photography category consisted of a variety approaches to the discipline from traditional pictorialism to contemporary digital montage. Gerry O’Connor won the First Prize with a portrait entitled Warren Palmer Artist. The monochrome photograph was large in size and was frank in its direct and powerful presentation of the subject.

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Painting/Works on paper was won by a mult-coloured woodblock print by Owen Hutchison entitled The Long Flight…and some stars fell into the sea. This large print suggested a mythical allegory that spoke of flight and a night journey.

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Youth Award was won by a large drawing by Aneldi van Wyck. Entitled My identity that was a self-portrait. The drawing was skillfully and carried out honouring the media of its creation.

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Sharon McKenzie with Woven Destiny 3 won the special prize category of Susan Cory Contemporary Award. Originally submitted in the fabric section this work exhibited a very contemporary use of various materials over layered with hand sewing. There is a feeling of the work being just put down as threads dangle as if there is more work to be done.

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The award of The Best In Show was won by Margaret Underdown with her painting Home Paddock. Though a representational landscape in style this large work captured the emotive spirit of place. For both Beata and I have driven down from Toowoomba that morning where the ranges were enshrouded in mist and the early morning light diffused – that may have contributed to our consensus on that decision.

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One prize was awarded by votes cast by attendees to the exhibition. The People’s Choice was won by Kathy Ellem with her painting of a male horseman entitled Edges.

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President of SASI Betty Williams thanks curator LeAnne Vincent PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

 

THE FULL AWARDS LIST: 2019 Somerset Bendigo Bank Art Award Winners

 

$5000 Best of Show – Margaret Underdown, Home Paddock

$1000 Photography Prize – Gerry O’Connor, Warren Palmer Artist

Highly Commended PhotographyLinda McPhee The Second Best Café in Town and Wayne Gillis Satin Bower Bird Male

$1000 3D Prize – Mela Cooke, Swim Squad

Highly Commended 3DRussell Solomon, Have They Always Been Here and Carol Forster, Love Not War

$1000 Painting/Works on paper Prize – Owen Hutchison, The Long Flight…and some stars fell into the sea

$750 Painting/Works on paper Prize – Charmaine Davis, Mountain

Highly Commended Painting/Works on paper – Clay Dawson, Ships in the Night and Odessa Mahony de Vries Sea view

$1000 Hetty Van Boven Textile Award – Elisabeth Czaia, Afternoon Shadow

Highly Commended Textile Wendy Houston, Dear Stag and Jodie Wade, Grass Trees

$500 Susan Cory Contemporary Prize – Sharon McKenzie, Woven Destiny 3

$500 Youth Prize – Aneldi Van Wyk, My Identity

$500 Somerset Artist Prize – Marcel Desbiens, Transition

People’s Choice – Kathy Ellem, Edges

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Somerset Bendigo Bank Art Awards sign

Photographs of the artworks are from the SASI website courtesty of LeAnne Vincent

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ADELAIDE HERE WE COME – BEST PHOTOBOOKS & WORKSHOP

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Adelaide Road Trip

 

The Australian and New Zealand Photobook Awards have been to Hobart, Canberra and Brisbane and now we are taking them to Adelaide.

The presentation of the books, a talk about the photobooks by Doug Spowart and a one-day workshop will be hosted by us at Adelaide’s Centre for Creative Photography.

 

ANZ Photobook Awards Finalists

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COME AND SEE THE BEST AUSTRALIAN & NEW ZEALAND PHOTOBOOKS

On Saturday September 28 the books will be on show from 10am–4.00pm. The Official Launch, the announcement of the People’s Choice Award and a talk about photobooks by Doug Spowart will take place at 2.00pm.

There is no charge to view the books and attending the talk however we do request that you book via this Eventbrite link: https://tinyurl.com/y225btkx

 

 

 

Arranging photos

ATTEND A ONE-DAY PHOTOBOOK WORKSHOP

On Sunday September 29 photobook road trip co-ordinators Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart will present concepts and hands on practical exercises for working on photobook projects. These are designed to assist the photographer in distilling images from their archives and then structure them into an engaging narrative flow. The workshop includes practical work in hand-making photobook formats and preparing book ideas for Print-on-Demand output.

There is a charge to attend the workshop – Details of the workshop and booking information can be found on this Eventbrite Link: https://tinyurl.com/y2pnpbhu

 

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Victoria Cooper & Doug Spowart acknowledge the support of MomentPro Photobooks and the Centre for Creative Photography in making this event possible.

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2019 PHOTOBOOK ROAD TRIP BEGINS – HOBART

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The 2019 Photobook Road Trip

PHOTOBOOKS @ TOPSPACE STUDIO/GALLERY IN HOBART

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Ilona Schneider and Doug Spowart

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The 2019 Photobook Road Trip began last night at the TopSpace StudioGallery in Hobart. The Australia & New Zealand Photobook Awards (ANZPA) exhibition was installed by Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart. Visitors to the Gallery were welcomed by the gallery Director Ilona Schneider.

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Vicky setting up the dispaly

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On show were the 12 Finalists and Award winners of the 2018 Australia and New Zealand Photobook Awards sponsored by MomentoPro Photobooks. The books were:

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Winners 2018

Finalists 2018 from 117 entries:

SEE More about the ANZPA HERE
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The event as attended by around 30 participants including representatives from the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the Allport Library, members of the AIPP and representatives from the Hobart Camera Club.
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To cover costs associated with the gallery hire a raffle was conducted with books by Cooper+Spowart and ANZPA catalogues and MomentoPro’s ‘Publish Your “Bloody” Photobook‘ booklets.
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Looking at the Cooper+Spowart books

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COOPER+SPOWART presented a small selection of the concertina photobooks including  YOU ARE HERE and QUESTIONING+KNOWING.
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Around 6.00pm Doug made a presentation about the awards and the current state of the Antipodean photobook. A lengthy Q&A session followed and private conversations and continued book viewing took place well after the intended finish time.
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Doug presenting his talk

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THANK YOU!

Thanks to Ilona Schneider and the AIPP coordinator Matt Palmer for their assistance with the presentation and Momento Pro for making the books available.
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CANBERRA is the next stop in the PHOTOBOOK ROAD TRIP on July 20 at PhotoAccess where the books will be displayed, Doug will present a talk about photobooks and Doug+Vicky will present a workshop on photobook forms and the photobook narrative.
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D+V Coming to Canberra

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#MomentoProBooks #ANZPhotobookAwards #PhotobookRoadTrip #Photobookjousting
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4 PHOTOBOOK EVENTS – Brisbane August 2, 3 & 4 2019

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PoP-uP logo

 

4 PHOTOBOOK EVENTS OVER 3 DAYS – Check out the individual program

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Event 1 – FREE TO ATTEND

VIEW THE BEST PHOTOBOOKS

from the Australia & New Zealand Photobook Awards                  

From Friday evening August 2, Saturday 3 & Sunday 4, 2019

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  • It’s a FREE EVENT
  • Attend the ANZ Photobooks Awards Launch on Saturday at 12.30pm
  • You can view the books from 5.30–8.00pm on Friday and also Saturday & Sunday 10.30–3.30pm
  • Location: THE MAUD STREET PHOTO GALLERY – 6 Maud Street, Newstead, Brisbane
  • The Sponsor of the ANZ Photobook Awards is MomentoPro Books.

BOOK THIS EVENT THROUGH EVENTBRITE using this ink:

To Register to ATTEND THE ANZ PHOTOBOOK LAUNCH & VIEWINGS

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PoP-uP logo

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Event 2 – FREE TO ATTEND 

THE ALL PHOTOBOOK POP-UP

SATURDAY August 3, 2019 ALL DAY

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THIS EVENT WILL FEATURE:

  • The BEST Australian & New Zealand Photobooks
  • Talks by Libby Jeffery from MomentoPro
  • The latest T&G PUBLISHING BOOKS from PHOTO IRELAND
  • Queensland Photobooks from the 2019 Melbourne Art Book Fair
  • Buy Second-Hand and new photobooks
  • A display of historical and rare photobooks

 

TO BOOK THE TALKS AND THE ANZ PHOTOBOOK AWARDS LAUNCH use these links:

 

LAUNCH The Australian & New Zealand Photobook Awards Brisbane Launch at 12.30pm

“CLICK THIS LINK”

DEMO by Libby Jeffery from MomentoPro about ‘How to make a photobook with MomentoPro software’

“CLICK THIS LINK”

TALK by Libby Jeffery from MomentoPro about ‘How to launch and market your photobook’

“CLICK THIS LINK”

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TO BOOK A $25 TABLE SPACE “CLICK” This LINK

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Event 3 – For a Fee

HAVE A PHOTOBOOK REVIEW

with the Doctors – Doug Spowart +Victoria Cooper

By Appointment

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We will work, one-on-one, with you to review book ideas, dummy photobooks and photos from projects being considered for a book and provide comments, critique and supportive feedback.

We can discuss relevant aspects of your photobook process including:

  • idea development
  • image sequencing and narrative
  • issues of texts and photos
  • aspects of contemporary and traditional book design
  • production options – DIY, Print-on-demand and trade
  • pricing > sales > promotion > distribution

BOOK THIS EVENT THROUGH EVENTBRITE using this ink:

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/photobook-review-with-the-doctors-tickets-62800959360..

 

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Event 4 – For a Fee

..NARRATIVE:

   Sequencing photos for photobooks

A full day workshop with Doug+Vicky

SUNDAY August 4, 2019

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One of the biggest challenges in making photobooks is the initial task of selecting images from the 100’s that you have captured to form sequences that carry strong communicative potential in a book.

This workshop is designed to engage the photographer with different processes of distilling images and structuring narrative flow in their photobook projects.

These ideas will be developed concurrently with the hands-on making of 3 photobook forms as ‘dummy’ books. A dummy is a tester, a sample book – it’s a physical object that you can you can hold and turn pages to review the changes that may be required to make a better book. Book designers may make many dummies as a key part of developing a great photobook.

The participant armed with these skills and knowledge will be better prepared to publish their photobook through print-on-demand options.

 

BOOK THIS EVENT THROUGH EVENTBRITE using this ink:

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/narrative-sequencing-photos-for-photobooks-tickets-62800120852

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ANZ Photobook Awards at Maud Gallery

 

 

 

Thank You The Maud Street Photo Gallery for supporting this Photobook Club Brisbane event.

 

These events are coordinated by Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper

 

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2019 WORLDWIDE PINHOLE DAY 28 April – Our images

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WPD-logo

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Round the [w]hole world on Sunday the 28th of April 2019 pinholers were out having fun – Making their images for the 2019 WPD. Far away from the darkroom (again) we’ve once again fitted a pin-prick in a piece of aluminium fitted to a body cap of our Olympus Pen camera and we went on a road trip in Tasmania from the D’Entrecasteaux Channel to the mountains and back again.

This is the 14th year we have supported the WPD project!

 

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ABOUT VICKY’S PINHOLE IMAGE:

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Capturing time and light in the mountains of Tasmania..

The photo was taken by digital capture with hand-made hole on an Olympus Pen using manual setting.

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My friends take a photo with their iPhones

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ABOUT DOUG’S PINHOLE IMAGE:

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Late this afternoon we went walking in the Autumn light down past the bare trunks and branches of deciduous trees – my friends stopped to photograph with their iPhones… Callie walked on…

 

Both pinhole photographs were taken on an Olympus Pen camera

Olympus Pen with hand pierced aluminum foil hole, Aperture exposure mode, ISO 1600.

Camera with pricked pinhole in alfoil, Aperture exposure mode, ISO 800.

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Other images we made on the day…

 

Visit the WPD Site for details of other submissions:  http://pinholeday.org/

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Our Past WPD images:

2018 Doug+Vicky https://wotwedid.com/2018/04/29/2018-worldwide-pinhole-day-29-april-our-images/

2016 Doug: http://www.pinholeday.org/index.php?id=1235

2016 Vicky: http://www.pinholeday.org/index.php?id=1540

2015  https://wotwedid.com/2015/05/04/april-26-worldwide-pinhole-day-our-contributions-for-2015/

2014  Vicky’s http://pinholeday.org/gallery/2014/index.php?id=1810&City=Toowoomba

2014  Doug’s http://pinholeday.org/gallery/2014/index.php?id=1811&City=Toowoomba

2013   https://wotwedid.com/2013/04/29/world-pinhole-photography-day-our-contribution/

2012   http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2012/index.php?id=1937&searchStr=spowart

2011    http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2011/index.php?id=924

HERE IS THE LINK to the 2011 pinhole video   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk4vnbzTqOU

2010   http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2010/index.php?id=2464&Country=Australia&searchStr=spowart

2006  http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2006/index.php?id=1636&Country=Australia&searchStr=cooper

2004 Vicky  http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2004/index.php?id=1553&Country=Australia&searchStr=cooper

2004 Doug  http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2004/index.php?id=1552&Country=Australia&searchStr=spowart

2003  http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2003/index.php?id=615&Country=Australia&searchStr=spowart

2002  http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2002/index.php?id=826&Country=Australia&searchStr=spowart

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 ©2019 Doug Spowart+Victoria Cooper
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Creative Commons-by-nc-nd.eu.
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Our photographs and words are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/au/..

1788–January 25th, the next day, and now

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In 2010 we wanted to make an artwork to comment and reflect on Australia Day and some of our feelings about the origins of the date – the implications of that event and the repercussions that we live with and navigate today. Through a scorchingly hot day in Toowoomba we worked with cyanotype solutions and selected objects – some from our home and others sourced from the food scraps from a local seafood smorgasbord restaurant on the day.

The work that we did that day emerged as the collaborative artists’ book, a broadsheet we titled, Australian Banquet, January 25/ 26, 1788.

 

A statement about the artwork

Across Australia over the January 26th long weekend, people prepare, cook and consume food to mark this day in history.

For us, this work is our response to, and in recognition of, the ‘turning of the page’ in Australian history that this date represents. One day, January 25th 1788, Aboriginal people feasted on a diverse banquet of bush tucker as they had for thousands of years. The next day, the country was transformed by a new paradigm represented in this work by the table setting of the First Fleet.

Australia Day, for us, is an important time to acknowledge the First Peoples’ perspective and their knowing of land, culture and history and how it should be recognised as underpinning the diversity and identity of contemporary Australia. We, as descendants of European people, are seeking to understand and know more about our place within the longer history of this land.

The work is to be viewed/read in a display context with a spotlight directed onto the work.

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View 1: Australian Banquet, January 25/ 26, 1788

The 25th of January side of the broadsheet is viewed and contemplated.

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View 2: Australian Banquet, January 25/ 26, 1788

The broadsheet is then turned over to view the 26th of January side.

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View 3: Australian Banquet, January 25/ 26, 1788

Finally the broadsheet is held up to the light – the complex interrelationship between the two visual references to be seen and considered.

 

 

BOOK DESCRIPTION: A unique state artists’ book broadsheet

TITLE: Australian Banquet January 25/26, 1788

MEDIA: Double-sided cyanotype image in rice paper

DIMENSIONS: 37.6 x 77cm

PLACE & DATE MADE: Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, 2010

EDITION: 7 variations

 

EXHIBITIONS & AWARDS:

2014 EXHIBITED: Alternative Imaging – Curated by Dawne Fahey at Two Doors Gallery, The Rocks, Sydney

2011 SHORTLISTED: Southern Cross University Artists’ Book Award, Lismore. Judge: Ross Woodrow

2011 EXHIBITED: BLUE – Arts Council Toowoomba members exhibition, Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery

2010 FINALIST: Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Photography Award,

………………………Gold Coast City Gallery. Judge: Judy Annear

COLLECTIONS: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland

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2018 FIELD STUDIES: CAMERA OBSCURA FERRY PORTHOLE – Bass Straight waves over the Spirit of Tasmania

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Our 2018 Field Studies submission of 100 artworks

 

As an important end of year ritual, we have once again prepared our submission to the ‘FIELD STUDIES INTERNATIONAL’ collaborative mail art project organised by David Dellafiora. Artists from around the world contribute to this project by mailing to David 100 artworks of any process and printed media made to A5 size. He then works with a team to collate all the submissions and assemble 100 copies of the collaborative book. After each participant receives one of these books, a number are then sold to private and institutional collectors to fund the project. We have contributed to the Field Studies for the last 10 years. Some links to the previous submissions are provided at the end of this post.

 

Here’s the story of our 2018 Field Studies report…

 

In 2000, we began a series of site-specific camera obscura projects that is a continuing body of work… This year we made two attempts to construct a cabin camera obscura. The second attempt proved more successful and so in this blog we present this recent work – Through a porthole in 3-5metre seas on the The Spirit of Tasmania.

 

The Spirit of Tasmania

 

On the morning of the 3rd of November we boarded the Spirit of Tasmania and checked in to our cabin for the nine-hour day crossing. We had booked months earlier and had requested a porthole cabin with the idea of making a camera obscura.

Earlier in 2018 we had tried unsuccessfully to make camera obscura images on an overnight crossing figuring that by the time we boarded the ship we would have a brief period of sunlight – alas, that would not be the case it was dark by the time we had boarded and checked into our cabin. This second time we worked it differently with a day crossing and a porthole cabin… we then prepared for a full day of camera obscura work.

You can imagine our excitement to find that our cabin was in the middle at the front of the boat with a view over the flagpole on the prow of the ferry to the sea beyond. So we set to work with a mini camera obscura tool kit had been prepared for the preparation of the darkroom:

  • A quantity of heavy-duty black garbage bags
  • Gaffa tape
  • Scissors

 

A camera obscura tool kit

 

Vicky documented Doug as he negotiated the space beyond the bunks to tape the black bags over the window. Progressively the room got darker and glimpses of the features outside our little cabin imaged themselves on the walls of the cabin. One problem was the darkening down of the central image area caused by depth of the room and a mirror on the reverse of the door. We decided that to create an observable image we needed re-purposed two white doona covers as a screen by taping them to the ceiling and walls with the gaffa tape. To recreate the theatrical space of the cabin camera obscura, we combined a series of images of the cabin walls and the screen at different stages of the journey. We also found our humble Olympus Pen camera set at ISO25,000 the best option as it fitted the small space and enabled hand-held exposures.

 

 

The Spirit of Tasmania left Devonport port and headed out into Bass Straight. For us this was a challenging crossing as there were strong westerly winds and huge 3-5 metre waves for most of the day. It wasn’t long before we began to experience the ‘bang’ and ‘splash’ of waves over our porthole… we were on one of the upper decks – deck 8!!! Kwells (anti-seasickness pills) were taken and to take our minds off the thump and roll we got active documenting the CO crossing.

Two composite images were constructed from our work that day that we entitled Through a porthole in 3-5 metre seas on the The Spirit of Tasmania. The first is a panorama that shows Vicky on her bunk looking at the projected camera obscura image. On the right-hand side the shadow of the camera held aloft is imaged. The final panorama is made of 4 images.

 

Vicky observing the panorama camera obscura image

 

The second image is a triptych of the projected image on the screen showing a series of three photographs made by Vicky as the boat rocked with the centre image documenting a whiteout as a wave crashes on the window.

 

Camera obscura: a 3-5 metre wave crashes against our porthole (inverted)

Camera obscura: a 3-5 metre wave crashes against our porthole

 

We left the camera obscura setup until we docked. Midway across Bass Straight the images described above we assembled and optimised as the ‘bang’ and ‘whoosh’ of the waves on the boat continued incessantly. At one stage we ventured out to see how those brave souls in the public areas of the ferry were managing… they all looked pretty green–some not well at all, and many finding any horizontal space they could to find some comfort.

When the Spirit docked we dismantled the CO and disembarked, glad to be on terra firma again.

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To see a post about the FIELD STUDIES INTERNATIONAL and other of our Field Studies submissions

About David Dellafiora and  Field Studies International

https://wotwedid.com/2013/01/05/field-study-international-our-contribution/

 

Our 2016 Field Studies International submission

https://wotwedid.com/2017/01/17/field-studies-international-2016-our-contribution/

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