What an amazing day yesterday was. It has been many years since I have gone to a fair and topsfield was a fair to the nth degree. Having never been there I was overwhelmed with the sheer size of the grounds and the multitudes milling through it.
To to put this all in perspective I have to start at the beginning. The night before I had the chance to assist a fellow photographer at an event up at Harvard. The event was the annual induction for the Harvard academy of arts & sciences. The participants and inductees were from around the world and covered a variety of different disciplines. From professors of chemistry to deans of colleges from around the country, all were in attendance at the sanders auditorium. The venue was impressive with three stories of Mahongney columns and benches.
There were a variety of speakers and after the ceremony we wandered the cocktail party afterwards capturing the various alumni and new inductees. The experience at this high society event was great in learning how to navigate and document an event like this. It was thus ironic that within little more then 24 hours that I would go from the solemn atmosphere to the cacophony of the topsfield fair.
The topsfield fair was part of an assignment for one of my classes and a treat for a photographer in terms of the multitudes of humanity packed into an event that means many things to many people. The fair can hold many memories for people of varying age. From the neon lights to the stuffed prizes and fried dough, we each hold different feelings. My assignment was to approach people and pose them against the backdrop of the happenings of the fair.
In order to do this we had to approach complete strangers and explain who we were and why we wanted to capture an image of them. In essence it could be called photographic speed dating as our teacher explained it. Over the course of the day admit the chaos of the skeeball and rides I found my subjects. I found myself drawn to certain indiuvals, and just like dating I had to have a pitch with an idea. Rejection was always at the front of my mind but to be honest nine times out of ten people were receptive and willing to have their picture taken.
Overall the experience was very eye opening to the publics view of photographers and their willingness to have their picture taken. I went into the fair dreading assignment but now I understand and can't wait for the next event to use what I learned. The fair itself was amazing In scope and uniqueness harkening back to a day in the past with the country fair experience.
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