The event photographer is hungry

On Tuesday evening I covered a reception and dinner at the European Parliament for the European Ceramic Industry Association. There were 100 guests, 7 speeches, 4 courses and I took over 500 pictures in the space of nearly 4 hours.

As always, I met some extremely nice people, including Giuseppe from Bologna. We got talking, and it turned I out I that I had actually visited his tile factory in 1983.

You might think that a European indutry get-together would not be much fun. But if you enjoy photographing people as much as I do then it is a sheer delight to spend an entire evening with 100 willing subjects. As I got to know them, some posed, some fooled around and some played shy. Most simply ignored me. Meanwhile, I could take my time to stalk the room, picking my angles and my moments.

I wasn't bored, but I certainly did get hungry. As the evening wore on, one of the waiters took pity on me and brought me some food and wine. I wanted to make a portrait of her but she said she didn't like photographs.

La Petite Foire de Semel

The 'little fair' of Semel is explicitly designed as an alternative to Belgium's big agricultural fair at Libramont, and takes place each year on the same weekend as its larger rival.

It's a relaxed and friendly event that mixes demonstrations of traditional farming and craft techniques, and opportunities to sample and buy organic local produce, with debates on agricultural policy and practice. The organisers present themselves as anti-agribusiness ('Towards ethical, peasant farming'). Representatives of Monsanto should probably stay away. Hard-core participants camp overnight and are invariably charming. The food is wonderful, but everyone is expected to wash their own dishes.

I offered my services as a volunteer photographer for the weekend and had a fantastic time. Almost everyone I encountered had an interesting story to tell and was willing to be photographed without striking a pose.