The interpretation of the "Borders" theme was at the core of this year's competition. The picture, entitled "Glasgow World", didn't win the main award, but was among the 50 best pictures chosen to be part of a book. The following questionnaire answers a series of questions that the finalists were asked about their photograph and the story behind it. Enjoy!
What's your name?
Anna Battista. I'm a freelance journalist, writer, researcher and independent scholar with a personal passion for photography.
What made you decide to participate?
The theme of the competition sounded really intriguing. Borders could be considered in a negative way as something that divides one thing from the next, but also as a balancing line, a sublime place where everything is suspended between two extremes and this is how I wanted to interpret the theme in my picture.
Please explain the process/thinking behind your photo. Why this photo?
Scottish artist Frank Boyle and I were walking around the Barras Market in the East End of Glasgow on a Sunday morning. The main idea was having a look around its mix of street and indoor stalls, get inspired by unusual things and look for books, old magazines and hardware tools. I was also looking at the theme of dereliction for a post about it in connection with fashion for my site Irenebrination. We turned a corner and passed this surreal gravestone display and the contrasts between the hustle and bustle of a market and the quietness of death immediately came to my mind. I was mesmerised. In the last few years, the loss of some members of my family deeply touched me and I started pondering more about life and death. The gravestone display was directly under the sign that read "World" and it evoked in my mind the invisible border between these two states. Was the booth actually telling me that life ends in death or that death is nearer to the chaos of life than I had ever imagined? The more I looked at the gravestone display, the more I felt it was almost like a portal to an underworld that hinted at a series of "borderline" dichotomies - from chaos Vs quietness to joy Vs sadness. The rolled up grass carpet in the background also looked like a shroud containing a body, while the carefully folded three-stripe tracksuit seemed to be an irreverent version of Jesus' linen burial cloth, hinting at a urban resurrection. On a personal level the image also came to represent a border, evoking the personal illusions and delusions I lived in Glasgow and, architecturally speaking, it established a further contrast and a border with the Barrowlands (also located in this area), the historical music venue where many iconic bands play. In a nutshell, there were so many different borders in this one shot that it became a favourite of my three submissions to the Tiger Camera Competition. One final note: I entitled the photo "Glasgow World" - that translates in Italian as "Mondo Glasgow" - thinking about the Italian "Mondo Movies". This subgenre - the result of a combination of documentaries with exploitation films - often featured strong and shocking images and themes, claiming to show the bizarre and unusual in the world, even though the movies weren't usually entirely real. This dichotomy is still standing in my picture since it looks like showing something really shocking, but, if you know the real story behind it, you discover there isn't anything controversial or scary about it, since this is actually a real gravestone display.
What camera did you use?
A battered Kodak EasyShare Sport, a tiny pocket camera I stole off my brother. Small cameras are perfect when you don't want to attract the attention of other people in busy places and, being waterproof, this camera is handy in the temperamental Scottish weather and in torrential rain.
Where was the photo taken?
The Barras Market, Glasgow, Scotland.
Is photography a part of your everyday life?
Photography runs in the family, but more as a personal passion rather than a professional career: old family photograph albums have always been an obsession of my mother and my aunts, while my father used to take a lot of pictures of damaged cars for his job as a Motor Vehicle Assessor. This meant there were always a lot of cameras and films lying around the house and this was an irresistible temptation for my brother and I. We would steal the stuff and take terrible pictures trying to come up with surreal shots. We never managed to beat my father's accidentally experimental skills, though: one time he employed a used film with some car pictures to take photographs of my cousin's wedding. All the pictures were ruined, but the final result was tragicomic with lots of car parts replacing human limbs - unforgettable pre-digital era effects! Maybe that's why I'm more interested in taking shots of inanimate objects, unusual and disquieting places, or mechanical parts...
Will you participate again in the 2016 competition?
Yes, and can't wait to hear more about the main theme!
Finally so we know what to do better: What do you think is the Best and Not So Good thing about the Tiger Camera Competition?
Well, there are many great things about the competition: there is no entry fee and you can post three images, so you get more than just one chance to win. The first prize offers a great opportunity to the winner to travel and get visually inspired by another country. Yet also the finalists get a great reward as being published in a book that will be widely distributed in the Tiger stores and will be available at a very reasonable price is something that puts a smile on your face. What's not so good? Well, I would personally get three main winners rather than just one, and expand the number of finalists to one hundred. You know what they say - "The More The Merrier"!
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