Stu Mayhew – on photographing GDIF

Hi and welcome to my GDIF2016 photo blog !

My name is Stu Mayhew and I am an amateur photographer based in Greenwich where I help run Aperture Woolwich Photographic Society – one of the oldest camera clubs in the country. I have been photographing the Greenwich +Docklands International Festival for many years now and it’s always an honour to be asked back. In the build up to this year’s event I have been bust charging camera batteries, getting my memory cards sorted, cleaning lenses and dusting off my trusty GDIF Press and Media vest!

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The first event of this year’s GDIF took place at the Queen’s House in a specially commissioned show marking the 400th anniversary of this beautiful building right in the heart of Greenwich. The show consisted of digital projection onto the facia of the building, dance, music and narration by Sir Ian McKellen.

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I arrived at 8PM to allow myself plenty of time to talk to crew and production members about vantage points and so on, as well as to catch up with other GDIF photographers who I only get to see once a year. I spoke with Rebecca Brower, the costumes and scenic designer, and enquired into whether I could shoot the event from a platform on one of the lighting towers. A quick word with one of the riggers and I was up on my lofty perch with a perfect view over the whole crowd and production area. I set up my tripod, got my cameras (I shoot with two, a Canon 5D and a 6D) and watched the crowds gather below me. As dusk fell into night the show began – the front of the Queen’s House transforming in front of our eyes – the projections were amazing and there were dancers and a performance by Sharon D Clarke –  the whole show was transfixing. The finale was a cascade of pyrotechnics with fireworks shooting into the night sky. As smoke drifted over the audience a huge cheer went up and GDIF2016 was under way. I think it was one of the best opening nights of the festival that I can remember.

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Greenwich Fair 2015 Photo Blog

Greenwich Fair 2015 photo blog

by Stu Mayhew

Weekend off work – check. Beautiful sunny weather – check. Free outdoor arts event right on my doorstep – check ! Well this can only mean one thing then, its the opening weekend of the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival!!

Once again I find myself in the lucky position of being one of the GDIF 2015 photographers and have once again been asked to write a blog – which is what you are now reading. I spent all morning cleaning my camera equipment and getting batteries charged and set off early to get to the Naval College. The weather was warm and sunny, pretty near perfect I would say and well before the scheduled start of 1PM there were large crowds enjoying picnics in the grounds.

I always enjoy a performance with the magnificent Cutty Sark ship as a back drop so I was off to the best of starts with Sens Dessus Dessous by Collectif Malunes. Appearing from the roof of an ancient caravan the performers put on a dazzling display of acrobatics, the flying trapeze and physical humour he likes of which i’m not sure I’ve seen the brilliance off at GDIF. The crowd were enthralled for the entire 40mins of the show and cheered their appreciation at the end – it was quite some start for sure !

Sens Dessus Dessous by Collectif Malunés (Photo by Stu Mayhew)

Sens Dessus Dessous by Collectif Malunés (Photo by Stu Mayhew)

As ever its hard to know where to go next – the best way is to consult the free GDIF newspaper, copies of which are easy to find right across the festival site, and see what you fancy and make time to get to the various performance’s. I always try this technique but generally wander around and stumble upon a performance instead

Audience member at Greenwich Fair (Photo by Stu Mayhew)

Audience member at Greenwich Fair (Photo by Stu Mayhew)

Next up were an equally physical circus company 15feet6 with their show Dynamite and Poetry. It literally starts with a bang , and almost drop your camera type bang , and certainly shocked the packed crowds. Great to see so many children in the audience – GDIF really has something for everyone and I certainly think there were more families this year then ever before. Anyway this show was again packed with gymnastic skills and a very humorous story line along with the odd explosion.

Dynamite & Poetry by 15ft6 (Photo by Stu Mayhew)

Dynamite & Poetry by 15ft6 (Photo by Stu Mayhew)

GDIF2015 Photo Ambassador Toby Hawkes at Greenwich Fair

GDIF2015 Photo Ambassador and winner of our GDIF2014 photo competition Toby Hawkes took on Greenwich Fair yesterday. We had a bit of rain, but soon enough the sun came out and the fair came to life once again.

Remember to submit your photos from the festival to this year’s photography competition hosted by Award.io. You just might win a Thames sightseeing cruise, a ThamesJet experience, or tickets to the ArcelorMittal Orbit and a giftcard to JOY!

Smoke by Plunge Boom. Photo by Toby Hawkes.

Smoke by Plunge Boom. Photo by Toby Hawkes.

Monotone Man by The Human Zoo. Photo by Toby Hawkes

Monotone Man by The Human Zoo. Photo by Toby Hawkes

Camping Delight by TinCanCompany. Photo by Toby Hawkes.

Camping Delight by TinCanCompany. Photo by Toby Hawkes.

Pendula Fantastica by Travelling Light Circus.

Pendula Fantastica by Travelling Light Circus. Photo by Toby Hawkes.

Dynamite & Poetry by 15ft6. Photo by Toby Hawkes.

Dynamite & Poetry by 15ft6. Photo by Toby Hawkes.

Île O by Barolosolo. Photo by Toby Hawkes.

Île O by Barolosolo. Photo by Toby Hawkes.

 

Born in Hamilton, New Zealand, Toby Hawkes discovered his passion for landscape photography in 2007. It was an opportunity to combine an interest in technology with his love for the great outdoors. After a few years of mastering his craft, he had his first successful exhibition in Turangi in 2010. Toby Hawkes now has work on permanent display in various locations around the central North Island. Toby Hawkes is currently overseas taking a break in Europe.

For the latest updates from Toby Hawkes see his facebook page here

tobyhawkes.co.nz

Award.io

GDIF2014 Photo Competition Award Announcement!

This year GDIF held a Street Theatre photography competition, our second year running a photo competition with the amazing Award.io.

We saw a record 687 submissions, giving our judges Tony Othen of The Greenwich Gallery and GDIF’s marketing manager an amazing portfolio of work to choose from!

All of the below winning photos along with selected one’s will be exhibited on a digital screen atThe Greenwich Gallery in the coming weeks.

Toby Hawkes with his Muaré @ GDIF 2014 entry is the overall winner of this contest and will be GDIF 2015 Photo Ambassador. As Photo Ambassador, Toby’s photograph will be used for any photography competition materials in 2015 and he will be invited to GDIF2015 as an accredited photographer and photo blog contributor.

'Muaré@GDIF 2014' by Toby Hawkes‘Muaré @GDIF 2014’ by Toby Hawkes.

Judge’s comments:

Captures the heart and soul of GDIF including the color, the passion and the energy of the festival.

A riveting photograph the brings the work to life and engrains the performance in one’s memory.

�'Laundry'‘Laundry’ by Debbie Bevan.

2nd Place Judge’s comments:

Superb timing gives us a memorable moment in the act.

Enough of the props are shown to give us an idea of what is going on and the reaction from the audience(of all ages) shows that the performance is appreciated.

�'Opus‘Opus Music’ by Campbell Skinner.

3rd Place Judge’s comments:

An inventive and inspiring photograph that combines performer, audience and instrument into one lovely piece of art.

It tells the story of this show from multiple perspectives and there is always something new to discover every time you look at it.

�'Flood‘Flood 20’ by Przemyslaw Szyduk..

4th Place Judge’s comments:

Superb composition and timing.

The expression on the faces of the two performers shows how careful the timing has to be and the expressions on the faces of the audience shows engagement, apprehension and amusement.

�'Clown‘Clown Impression’ by Campbell Skinner.

5th Place Judge’s comments: A mesmerizing photograph which pulls at the heartstrings.

The color and facial expression invoke an amazing level of emotion and passion, and one is left wondering whether to find the photo heartwarming, sorrowful, nostalgic, or a little bit of all of the above.

Many thanks to everyone who contributed, Tony and The Greenwich Gallery and of course the ever-amazing Award.io team!

 

Arka Photo Blog – Stu Mayhew

So I had spent an enjoyable, if occasionally wet, day in Canary Wharf it was time to get home and charge my batteries. My camera batteries naturally ! I made the short trip from where I live in Shooters Hill down to Artillery Square in Woolwich where Teatr Osmega Dnia would bring and end to GDIF 2014 with Arka.

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

This Polish theatre group began their performance amongst the large gathered crowd, winding their way up on to the main stage. It looked like a wedding celebration but was soon interrupted by a military invasion symbolised by fire eating men who being wheeled through the square on wood and metal contraptions spitting flames high into the night sky, drawing cheers and gasps from everyone.

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

Meanwhile the stage had turned into a scene of huge burning windows , silhouetting the crowd. This large flaming structures were then moved through the crowds and the scene was strange yet beautiful to behold.

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

The performance is about war and refugees being displaced from home. It was quite a moving piece and visually captivating. GDIF has really discovered Artillery Square as a great performance venue and bring the Arts right into the the center of Woolwich has to be applauded, there is always a really big, highly appreciative crowd and tonight was no exception

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

As a huge ship gently sailed into the crowd the show ended and the curtain was closed on GDIF 2014. It is a real privilege to be apart of it, in my own small way. Over the years I have met many of the performers and photographers and its nice to see old faces. A massive effort goes into to bringing such a prestigious event to Greenwich Borough and long may it continue.

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

GDIF2014 Arka by Theatr Osmego Dnia ; Photo by Stu Mayhew

If you live locally and enjoy photography or want to learn how to get more out of your camera then visit http://www.woolwichphotographic.com and find out more about Greenwich’s award winning camera club!

See you next year

Stu

Stu Mayhew’s Photo Blog: Dancing City

Dancing City Blog from visiting photographer Stu Mayhew

Saturday the 28th June and it’s off to Canary Wharf to see the many acts that make up GDIF 2014’s Dancing City. This free event attracts performers from all around the world. With heavy showers falling I emerged from Canary Wharf tube station and was given a revised timetable of events , luckily provision was made for performances to take place indoors so I made the short walk across Jubilee Plaza and into the West Wintergarden. First up were Hands Down from Company Chameleon. I had seen them perform in GDIF 2012 and this new routine was equally as good. The two male dancers push and shove each-other in this ground breaking dance depicting how men interact. The physicality of the performance was incredible and the bar was set high for the rest of the day

'Hands Down' by Company Chameleon; Photo by Stu Mayhew

‘Hands Down’ by Company Chameleon; Photo by Stu Mayhew

Next up was The Awakening by StopGap Dance Co. Four disabled and non disabled dancers gave a mesmerising performance with a dream like quality , a lot of the moves are repetitive and really captivating.

'The Awakening' by StopGap Dance Company; Photo by Stu Mayhew

‘The Awakening’ by StopGap Dance Company; Photo by Stu Mayhew

Next a venue chance and it was off to Jubilee Place Mall. Surrounded by unsuspecting shoppers a stage was built right in the middle of the mall and as I arrived Laterite, choreographed by Thomas Micheal Voss, was thrilling the crowd with an intense routine of Tango accompanied by soprano supreme Eliana Pretorian. It was a beautiful performance.

Laterite by Thomas Michael Voss; Photo by Stu Mayhew

Laterite by Thomas Michael Voss; Photo by Stu Mayhew

Next on stage were Compania Sharon Fridman’s ¿Hasta Donde? which was very modern and again the skill and physical strength of the performers was jaw dropping. I confess to not seeing a lot of modern dance but what ever your views on it the dedication these performers must put in to perfecting these intense, intricate cannot be questioned. A bit hit with the crowd.

¿Hasta Donde? by Compañia Sharon Fridman; Photo by Stu Mayhew

¿Hasta Donde? by Compañia Sharon Fridman; Photo by Stu Mayhew

After many holidays to Spain I have a real soft spot for Flamenco and in for a treat when Marco Vargas and Chloe Brule performed Por Casualidad. In this fiery display of Flamenco the themes of unrequited love in brief moments and accidental meetings are explored. This one was a real foot tapper.

Por Casualidad by Marco Vargas and Chloe Brule

Por Casualidad by Marco Vargas and Chloe Brule

I ventured back outside and in between showers performers with Big Dance were strutting their stuff. The Big Dance features hundreds of talented young dancers and youth dance companies and the inclement weather certainly hadn’t dampened their enthusiasm.

Big Dance; Photo by Stu Mayhew

Big Dance; Photo by Stu Mayhew

Closing the curtain on the day’s events was Circ Panic The Man Who Lost His Buttons. Combining the silent comedy of Chaplin and the skills of a circus performer against the backdrop of the Thames and the City beyond this was a show stopper of an act. In a constant battle of wits against a contraption made up of a large pole and backed by a live band , this gravity deifying act drew gasps from those watching. A great way to end a fantastic day. Next up was Arka later that evening.

The Man Who Lost His Buttons by Circ Panic; Photo by Stu Mayhew

The Man Who Lost His Buttons by Circ Panic; Photo by Stu Mayhew

Dancing City Photo Blog by Dave Flynn

Gallery

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Photo blog from GDIF2014 Photo Ambassador Dave Flynn  

Photo blog from Stu Mayhew Greenwich Fair Day 2

Gallery

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Photo blog from Stu Mayhew Greenwich Fair Day 2   By mid afternoon the crowds were enjoying the glorious hot weather and spoilt for choice for interesting street theatre. I followed a GDIF volunteer with a sign guiding me to … Continue reading

Photo blog from Stu Mayhew

Hi
My name is Stu Mayhew and I am an amateur photographing living in Greenwich borough. I am also vice chairman of Greenwich’s Civic Award winning camera club – Aperture Woolwich Photographic Society            
Im delighted to say this is now my third year as a GDIF photographer and 2nd as an official blogger. I missed Friday nights curtain raiser Muaré so was chomping at the bit to get along to Greenwich Fair on a perfectly  hot, sunny Saturday.
Greenwich was buzzing by 1PM and my first port of call was by the Cutty Sark ship to watch Light The Fuse perform Full Stop. In a mix of dance and physical theatre the three performers took the crowd through what might happen during 24hrs at a bus shelter, from battling mums with prams to raving on the roof. Against the backdrop of Greenwich’s best known landmark it made for some great photography and a big crowd enjoyed the story.
Full Stop by Light the Fuse at GDIF2014; Photo by Stu Mayhew

Full Stop by Light the Fuse at GDIF2014; Photo by Stu Mayhew 

I moved on into the grounds of the Naval College where I think it really puts the “Festival” into Greenwich and Docklands Festival. Lots here to see but I settled on Frantic by Acrojou. Choreographed around a large wheel like structure the performers combined modern dance theatre with acrobatics in a piece I find hard to put into words but found strangely moving. The performance ended in a shower of rain, thankfully as part of the story, and the soaked dancers took their bows to rapturous applause.
 
Frantic by Acrojou at GDIF2014; Photo by Stu Mayhew

Frantic by Acrojou at GDIF2014; Photo by Stu Mayhew

 

For my 3rd show of the afternoon I made my way through the crowds back into Cutty Sarks Gardens where artist Joan Català was performing Pelat. Having literally roped in 4 members of the audience to assist him raise a pole using 4 ropes. Instructions came solely by shouting the single word “Huuut” in varying degrees of volume and pitch. Everyone seemed to understand perfectly what to do in what was a hugely entertain piece of almost circus – the children in the audience were transfixed as Joan finally managed to make it to the top of the hoisted pole. Great fun

 

Pelat by Joan Catala at GDIF2014; Photo by Stu Mayhew

Pelat by Joan Catala at GDIF2014; Photo by Stu Mayhew

I will return to tell tales from the rest of my day at the Greenwich Fair
 
Stu

GDIF2014 starts today with Awardio photo contest!

GDIF2014 starts today – join us on in Cutty Sark Gardens for a giant circus wheel, street games, musical men on segways and our opening night spectacle Muare with aerialists, live music and mobile op-art in front of the Queen’s House next to The National Maritime Museum.

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In collaboration with Award.io we are running a photo contest for the second year in a row for this year’s Festival, which also starts today! So, if you came to GDIF2014 and take some great shots with your camera, mobile phone or tablet upload them onto the portal and get a chance to win an incredible series of prizes.

The theme this year is “Street Theatre”

1st Place: 

2nd place:

3rd Place:

Runner-Up:

All photos from winners will be displayed during a digital exhibition at The Greenwich Gallery on their plasma screen in Fall 2014. Details TBD.

The contest closes August 31, 2014. To submit your entry go to award.io/GDIF. Participation in the contest is free. GDIF will also pick a selection of submitted photos to feature in GDIF2014’s photo galleries.

Tony Othen from The Greenwich Gallery will join a representative from the GDIF team on the judging panel.

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