Interesting Concert

Despite everything I’ve ever said about crap lighting etc…..I went back to the Cri’Art for a concert on Wednesday. It was Punish Yourself and frankly any self respecting photographer should not have missed this! In the event, there was a member of the local photo club ISO, and a ‘new’ photographer called Sebastien.

The members of the group Punish basically cover themselves in ultraviolet paint – which makes for some interesting images…

Au Cri’Art le 31.10.2018
Au Cri’Art le 31.10.2018
Au Cri’Art le 31.10.2018

I enjoyed the visual effects – but as usual, the music left me wanting…

Festival – last day

Sunday was the last day of performances for the 31st Festival Cirque Actuel here in Auch. I only had one show programmed – La Mondiale Générale with « Le Gros Sabordage » this was due to be performed in the studio which I was convinced was jinxed after a short series of really dull shows…

However it seems the jinx has been lifted – thank goodness. I went in early, as much to chat to the artists to help me choose the best position, as to just say ‘Hello’ as I think I can say I’m friends with this troupe – we’ve experienced residences and shows together before, and I like them a lot.

This show was an extended version of one I’d seen and photographed before – but when I met Marie and Alex they told me that virtually everything had changed, and not to expect to see what had gone on before…ah ha – a surprise?

And it was brilliant – a couple of quiet moments, but on the whole a very good performance…and I’m quite pleased with the resulting images.

La Mondiale Générale
La Mondiale Générale
La Mondiale Générale
La Mondiale Générale

A great end to an intense week.

Festival – day 9

Saturday and down to only two performances today.

First up was Sibliminati Corps with « Deixe-me » (Which I’m assured is Portuguese…I still don’t know what it means, but judging from the spectacle it probably means something like « Leave me ») This was performed in the theatre here in Auch – a very nice little Italianate theatre hidden away in the town hall. The show was pretty lively and fun – and for once there was a fair amount of lighting…

Subliminati Corps

When this ended I had to dash over to CiRCa where Cie Libertivore were waiting to start their performance of « Phasmes » – this was written and directed by Fanny SORIANO and I was able to have a nice chat with her before the show. It’s always useful to talk to someone intimately involved in the production – helps a great deal with choosing the best position to take photographs. The show only lasted 30 minutes, and was very sombre…still, I managed a few reasonable shots.

Cie Libertivore

Only one more day left, and one more performance for me to see, before the festival closes it’s doors until 2019…

Festival – day 7

Thursday brought me to the parc Endoumingue in Auch where the companies had erected two huge circus tents.

The first up was AKOREACRO and « Dans ton coeur » (In your heart) – there’s something very reassuring about this company – total professionals, you know that you will have a good spectacle – and this was certainly the case tonight.


The performance lasted 1h 15minutes and was dynamite from the start! Here’s another one – look at the image closely…


I only had to walk about 10 metres to get to my next spectacle – CirkVOST and « Hurt me tender ». This was quite good, dynamic etc. but for me not as ‘competent’ as AKOREACRO – that’s not to say it was bad, it was just not as coherent as a whole for me – but the artists were certainly supercharged and gave their all – not bad at all.


After these two, my last performance was back at CiRCa in the Salle Bernard Turin – I’m beginning to wonder if this salle hasn’t got a jinx or something as the performance was, well, how can I say….boring? This was La JUNE with « DRU » – to start with the I wasn’t allowed to make any noise – there was no backing music or sounds of any sort, and the two girls on the stage basically just jumped up and down onto two trapezes. This lasted for 45 minutes….it was long, very long…


Better luck next time….

Day 8 (Friday) I didn’t see anything – I was tired and the only one I had programmed was probably going to be very slow so I stayed at home…more on day 9 (Saturday)


Festival – day 6

Wow – what a contrast. I don’t think I’ve have ever been so unimpressed, and above all bored, with a circus performance before this evening! Sorry guys but this really was a piss take. Naïf Productions with « Des gens qui dansent » (People who dance) There is a huge variation in the quality and content of the work we see here – I understand this, but this performance was simply the most contrived and « intellectualized » that I think I’ve ever seen. It lasted an hour – which I estimate is about 55 minutes too long… (and discussions with another photographer after the performance made me realize that I wasn’t alone)

I have to follow certain rules when I take photographs of the circus companies – this evenings were fairly simple, no photographs during the monologue (which started the performance) which lasted a little more than 10 minutes… and then be careful in the quiet periods. Essentially this meant sitting for 50 minutes with the camera on my lap. I’ll look at the other 40 images I made later on…this is one that worked…for now…

Naïf Productions

Quick drive from CiRCa to the Centre Cuzin (the other side of town) and I met a couple of old friends (well, acquaintances really). I’ve photographed Serge and Colline a number of times over the past few years – and always with different companies – this time Les Mains Sales (Dirty Hands) is their own company.

Les Mains Sales

The lighting was very difficult for this performance, and coupled with the fact that there were very few periods of ‘noise’ or music, almost impossible to photograph without having camera noises.

With a bit of luck Thursday (Day 7) should be more productive…

Festival – days 4 & 5

Day 4, Monday, was interesting – I was supposed to follow two spectacles, but I hadn’t been too impressed with the previous time I’d seen Alexander Vantournhout and so I let « Red Haired Men » slide…

But I did see Cirque Aïtal and « Season de Cirque » which was good – and enabled me to see how things had developed since I photographed them here in résidence.

Cirque Aïtal

Katy and Viktor were just as crazy, and a lot of the slow bits have been speeded up and all it all it was a good evening.

Tuesday, day 5, started off with the Cie Aléas – I know these two from previous spectacles with other companies, so it was great to seem them on their own.


The whole spectacle revolved around a triangle comprised of two ladders – it’s amazing what you can do with a ladder and 35 minutes stage time… Enjoyed it, which was the most important for me.

After this I drove over to the Dôme where a company I’ve followed for nearly three years (no doubt due to the fact it’s exclusively women…) performed « Project .PDF » – nothing to do with Acrobat reader or Photoshop – PDF stands for Portés de Femme.

Project .PDF

Great show – much better ‘finished’ than I’d seen in the development stage… Another great evening…what will day 6 bring?


Festival – continued

Day 2 brought us to see the Centre National des Arts de Cirque (CNAC) with « Zooo ». it was ‘different’ as the performance occurred in three places at once, and every 20 minutes the audience got up and moved to the next bit. In a purely artistic sense it was very well played, but a total horror to photograph. I did manage one I was pleased with, from up in the roof of the Dôme de Gascogne…


Later that same evening I traveled to the other side of the town to see Cirque Sans Noms with « Abaque » – this was more clowns than pure circus, and I enjoyed it a lot – despite the VERY low lighting for 90% of the performance…

Cirque Sans Noms

Day 3 was back to CiRCa and Baro d’Evel with « Là » – I’ve photographed this company before, and they’ve often used my images so it was a pleasure to see a new piece – however there’s a moratorium on the images and I can’t publish certain sequences without an OK from the company.  This one doesn’t give the game away!

Baro d’Evel

And we’re off…

The festival has opened, and first up (for me) is « Kaaos Kaamos » a co-operative of circus artists based in Sweden.

Babel, Glöm
Babel, Glöm

I enjoyed it a great deal – a great start to the week. Young and very dynamic.

I’ll add more as the week advances…


Festival 2018

Cie Pré-O-Coupé

YES! The 31st Festival CiRCa starts today – 10 days of madness in and around Auch – I am covering 17 performances, some I know, but a lot of new work – watch this space!


Spring Cleaning? In October?

Well yes – from time to time it’s a good idea to clean the muck off the sensor of your camera/s, and as the Circus Festival starts in 5 days time….I thought it best to be prepared.

I prefer the « wet » method of sensor cleaning – a couple of drops of cleaning fluid on the swab and a couple of gentle passes on the sensor.

The best way to check if the cleaning has got rid of all the muck is to take a photograph with your widest wide angle lens – in my case, I used my 14mm, stopped down to it’s minimum – f/22. Take a photo of the sky or a bright, even surface – much easier to see the blobs of muck. Using the minimum aperture means that the natural ‘diffraction’ which occurs at very small apertures will mean that the dust spots really stand out.

This is an example before the cleaning process. The dark spots are tiny pieces of dust. It saves a lot of post treatment to remove this rubbish before making pictures! (Click on the image to enlarge it)