This blog entry was originally written by Teresa on April 27th, but due to our website migration appears to be from a different date and author.
Crew photographer Emma Stoner signs the GE Free Future bus. The bus has been touring through Europe as a living petition, calling for a GE Free Europe. This entry is about her experience.
Being the on-board photographer for the GE Free Future bus has been a fantastic, inspiring and totally unpredictable experience so far. I was particularly interested in this project as I've been concerned with food related topics for some time, following and sometimes documenting, food mapping guerilla gardening and planting activities of transition town movements and eco communities in London where I live. People are thinking about the future of food supplies and demand for local organic produce is increasing.
From a photographic point of view, I knew that this tour would be very much focused on people and would provide rich material as we pass through a variety of landscapes and ethnicities. As the bus is the main feature in a lot of the images, I was initially worried that pictures of people signing the bus could get repetitive after some time. Our first stop in Luxembourg allowed me to explore these image possibilities as we were given a packed schedule for the following two days and many of the planned photo-ops featured different people signing the bus. On the contrary to what I expected, I found that the GE Free Future bus opened up a whole host of creative possibilities as I played with different angles and colours within a frame. One of my favourite bus signing images was produced on the second day when the three Luxembourg ministers visited the bus. Before we started we set everything up in the square where we were based. It was a grey, rainy day and I was thinking how I would create something interesting from the flat light and grey surroundings. The flash of inspiration came after the press conference inside the Ministry of Agriculture building nearby. Everyone was getting soaked outside because of the rain. One of the team had gone to buy something to keep us all dry and returned with four large rainbow umbrellas.
When the Minister of Agriculture reached the bus for the signing, the team huddled together to shield him from the rain with our new brollies. He climbed the ladder to sign and I shot the picture from below, with the rainbow of colours above his head adding a blast of life to the frame.
I knew the next stop in Hungary would be very different again as we were planning to visit farms. It was hard to know what to expect and I hoped that the locations would be visually interesting, that we would have enough time and flexibility and that the day would provide some magical lighting opportunities. Again, it was a grey and rainy morning. A man came to show us around the farm and I shot pictures as we went along of some of the workers and animals. We then went to the fields and looked at some of the machinery used by the farmers. As the day progressed the people and places we visited became more aesthetically pleasing and the clouds lifted a bit. In the afternoon we were due to visit a farm with grey cattle, a traditional Hungarian breed. The man who greeted us as we arrived was dressed in a traditional outfit and he was sporting a fine moustache to match his clothing.
03/31/2010 Herder with Herd in Hungary. Sari Istvan is a cattle herdsman. Grey cattle, a typical Hungarian breed provide organic meat which goes to German baby food company, Hipp. Hortobagyi Gemmegorzo non-profit Ltd. The farm is an organic farm in the buffer zone of the Hortobagyi national park which preserves the genes of traditional Hungarian animals. They also produce food for human consumption and organic feed for their animals.
I immediately began photographing him and one of the team had to come and retrieve me from the sheep shed where I was taking a portrait of him with one of his black sheep. The grey cattle had arrived. The herd was impressive, led by a shepherd and his dog across the fields to our bus. The cattle were led around the bus several times and I chased after them with my zoom lens, getting as close as I could for some good animal portraits. At one point, after running across the field, I noticed some of the cattle had spotted me and they turned towards me. I took the camera away from my face and came face to face with the animals and their impressively large horns which suddenly seemed quite threatening. I quickly turned around, expecting the team to be just behind me and I realised that I had run a good distance from the group and had to face the horns alone. I backed slowly away. On our way home a pleasant surprise greeted us in the form of magical lighting as a double rainbow of full colour intensity hugged our bus. We stopped to take pictures and enjoy the visual spectacle.
The second day we visited an eco farm called Kishantos. The weather was very different - bright and sunny and the late afternoon light gave a golden glow to the fields as we explored with the farmer - Bolye Ferenc, some of the machinery and methods used for sustainable farming. I was really impressed with some of the machinery here. A special weeding machine is used to pull out any weeds that threaten growing plants and this means that no chemical herbicides are needed to kill of pests. To show us how good the soil is here Bolye took us to a field of wild, yellow Adonis flowers that he discovered on his land. The abundant flowers are a sign of non-chemical agriculture. Later, we were invited for some incredibly tasty organic food before heading off, and Acs Sandorne Eva, a director of Kishantos, gave us a short presentation about some of the programs which Kishantos are involved in. It was great to take a step back to listen to some of the information. The trip had been pretty manic so far and I'd been too busy shooting pictures to take in much of the information presented to us as we continued on our journey. The half an hour presentation provided much inspiration for the rest of the trip.
More of Emma's pictures can be seen on our GE-free future page on Facebook.