By Stu Mayhew
I am a local photographer (vice chairman of Aperture Woolwich Photographic Society) and a Greenwich resident. I am lucky enough to be doing some photography at this year’s Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF) and have been asked to write a blog during the coming week.
A couple of weeks ago I visited the GDIF ‘nerve center’ at the Borough Hall and met Martina and Marta, the marketing team at GDIF, who ran me through the various amazing events taking place at this year’s Festival. During this visit, and under a vow of secrecy (!), I was shown images of an art installation which featured a hyper – realistic whale that was to be beached just by the Cutty Sark on the 20th June. So for the last 2 weeks I managed to not tell anyone my secret and headed into Greenwich armed with my camera and my curiosity.
The whale was craned onto the beach at about 1.20PM under the glaze of a multitude of press photographers, reporters, a BBC News camera crew , Festival organisers and a crowd of bemused residents! A team of performers acted as scientists and carried out ‘investigations’ on the whale, while a team from the British Divers Marine Association were on hand to answer any qustions about what would happen if a whale turned up for real.
While I have photographed many events I can honestly say I have never seen so many members of the public asking questions, the majority I would say were convinced the massive beast was indeed real. The whale is so realistic even up close it certainly made me think back to the whale that swam up the Thames back in 2006.
With the assembled media on still on the beach after an hour I made my way back home to edit my images. On the way I passed the GDIF Information Point in Cutty Sark Gardens where I snapped some of the volunteers.
This is the place to head to get timetables, leaflets and general information about the huge range of outdoor theatre, dance, installations and side shows – and its all FREE. Friday see’s the first day of the Greenwich Fair and Island Fair as well as the official Festival opener As The World Tipped which will be performed at 10PM on a vast 12m square screen in front of the National Maritime Museum.
I’m out shooting again today (Friday 21 June!). One to watch out for is the dance flashmob at 5.45pm at Cutty Sark Gardens. Performed by former Olympic Dance performers, the POD Dancers.
Full daily Festival programme here.
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