If you haven't been keeping up with our Tunbridge Wells Project blog then some of you may have been wondering why I have been neglecting you for the past couple of weeks. David and I were invited to our twin town of Wiesbaden to participate in their bi-annual photography festival, the Wiesbadener Fototage.
The Fototage is 62 photographers exhibiting for 3 weeks in 11 venues all over the city and we were the only photographers from the UK to attend, we felt very privileged. You can read the daily diary of our trip over on our Project blog so I'll just quickly speed through some of the basics here.
We set off from home very early last Thursday morning to catch the 07:20 Eurotunnel train in our bright yellow Fiat 500L. This rather cool set of wheels had been donated to us by the kind people at Thames Motor Group (full review soon) and was a vital cog in the whole trip-machine.
How cool does this look with our Project logos on it? Very. Exactly!
For the next five hours the countryside of France, Belgium and Germany whizzed by in a blur until we reached the familiar roads of Wiesbaden. We were too excited to do much else so quickly checked in to our hotel - we'll ignore the four laps of the hotel we took trying to find the entrance to the car park - and raced off to find our exhibition space.
We had been assigned one of the largest spaces in the entire festival at das altos gerichtsgebäude (the old courthouse). We'd seen photographs of the space before we left so had tailored our choice of photographs to exhibit there. It was a wonderfully grotty space, perfect for our Project photos.
Das altos gerichtsgebäude
We had a brief tour of the building by the gallery manager Stefan Grötecke before returning to the hotel exhausted. We rose early the next day to take our prints over to the gallery space to hang them. Underestimating the time this takes we spent the best part of half a day adjusting, readjusting, putting up, pulling down, until finally we were satisfied that the photographs looked as good as they could do. We left the place in a jubilant mood and set off across the city to another gallery for the pre-exhibition party where all the photographers were mingling and relaxing before the grand opening. We were loudly introduced to the whole party when we arrived but not understanding a word of German we had no idea what was said (mental note: learn German)
Over the next couple of days we kept popping our heads back into the exhibition and each time we saw a constant stream of visitors wandering in to look at our photographs. This is quite a lovely feeling I can tell you.
We weren't tied to the exhibition though, there were handy volunteers to guide people around, so we'd planned to meet up with some friends we had made on our last visit, make time for some brief sightseeing, and relax with a beer. Amongst other things our trip was planned to coincide with the handover of the Wiesbaden Projekt, yes we have built a matching twin website to the Tunbridge Wells Project. We met up with local photographer Axel Sawert to handover the site and to explain how it works. With the support of the local government it looks like being a great resource in the future. Whilst doing that we were lucky enough to be able to help on one of the first Wiesbaden Projekt shoots, in an old church called Lutherkirche. It's quite the understatement to say that Wiesbaden has some amazing old buildings.
Inside the roofspace of the Lutherkirche. We also walked around the walkway you can see right at the top.
We were given privileged access to the church tower and roofspace so the Wiesbaden Project will get off to a flying start here.
Monday, our final day, had come around far too soon. We had a very quick hour to buy our wives some presents and say some auf wiedersehens before embarking on the long trek back to the UK.
As well as help in Germany, especially Frank Deubel, we couldn't have made the exhibition without some local help too. We'd like to thank Thames Motor Group for their donation of a fantastic Fiat 500L, and Signal UK who printed our photographs and also stickered up the car with our logos. I am hoping that both these local firms will continue to help us when we plan to exhibit here at home in 2014. As well as this we really hope that at some point in the future we can bring photographers from Wiesbaden to Tunbridge Wells as part of the Twinning Association.
Stay tuned because I'll be sharing a gallery of lots more photographs and videos of this epic trip very soon.