Friday, 27 June 2014

THROUGH THEIR EYES: Photographers transport us into their fascinating world at Pecha Kucha

SHARP FOCUS: Reeves, a dance photography pro, captured this vivid moment from the NDTC's Sulkari.

By definition, Pecha Kucha (pronounced PE-CHAK-CHA) is the onomatopoeic Japanese term meaning 'the sound of conversation'; the English equivalent for 'chit-chat'. So the element of dialogue is a given. But when the concept merges with a subject as cool and intriguing as photography, it makes for a rather refreshing meditation on the arts.

In the case of Kingston on the Edge's Pecha Kucha 20 X 20, which took place at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston last Wednesday evening, it saw the coming together of a dynamic group of Jamaican photographers (relative newcomers to the form and seasoned pros) discussing their work finding inspiration, overcoming challenges, distinguishing themselves complete with power-point presentation.

The packed meeting room, elegantly decked out with white chairs, white curtains and drinks being served by charming waiters, sat rapt (with intermittent peals of laughter) as these supertalented visionaries expressed, more of less, the pride and palpable passion driving their work - twin qualities that set them apart from peers we've encountered since the start of the festival.

Kirk Martin, for instance (a UWI Camera Club alum), engagingly reflected on the need for "quiet, simplicity, and finding that inner peace" as a template for his process. "[Photography] is like therapy for me; it lets me me find my centre," he admitted, as the screen showcased a selection of his best pieces, notable for their clean lines and unfussy composition.

Presentations also came from the Exhibit Hope initiative and the JN Resolution project and other potential household names as Shanti Persaud, Glen Henry and Stuart Reeves, the veteran of the group. 

On scoring the perfect shot, Reeves (a specialist in still lifes and dance photography) said simply, "Sometimes you just hope that your finger hits the shutter at the right moment." Henry, who is into animation and game development, noted, "For me, it's the storytelling behind [the art] that I find most fascinating, and it's something I'd like to continue exploring." 

When combined with the interdisciplinary show (ceramics, conceptual art, photography) taking place in the adjoining room, Pecha Kucha served to us that a singularly strong and soulful image is indeed worth a million words.

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