Thursday, April 15, 2010

A conversation with Meg Birnbaum: Part 6

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How do you decide what to photograph?

Often by accident or sometimes it finds me. I shoot a lot and then see what 'develops'. The way that my series on summer fairs started was totally a wonderful accident. A friend of mine and I went to a fair on a labor day weekend in Burlington, Vermont. I hadn't been to a fair since I was a kid but the tastes, smells and sounds brought happy memories rushing back. I only took a few shots but two of the back to back negatives turned out to be two of my best shots ever and they were very exciting to me. I did some research to see how other people had handled photographing the same material and I felt that I could say something unique and different by combining the timelessness of black and white film with the toy camera. Plus it gave me a great excuse to be around animals and eat french fries. The hard part was in having to wait 11 months until the fair season started again in New England.

One of my current projects came about after reading about a woman in a short item in a local newspaper. I couldn't stop thinking about her so I found out her email and wrote to see if she might be interested in being photographed. Luckily she said yes and that led me to other like-minded subjects.

Photo credit: Meg Birnbaum discusses her photography in a slide show talk to visitors to the Tanto Tempo Gallery in Japan.

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