Jake Oliver-Fishman: Visualisation

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Jake – Of

Website / jake@jake-of.com

Fruit and Veg on Head

I used to be predominantly interested in making sculptural and installation work. A few years ago though, I found myself walking around Hong Kong wearing a sculpture I’d made (Ping Pong Pants). Rather than the interest being in the object itself, it became about peoples interaction with it. The immediacy of the relationship between the work, the general public, and myself was something I’d never experienced before and it had quite a profound effect upon me.

I came back to the UK keen to find other ways to interact with people. On seeing a friend balancing a carrot on her head, I went straight to the local market, got myself and bag of fruit and vegetables and the project began. Initially it traveled with me from Bristol to London, then I more recently had the opportunity to shoot some people in Barcelona and parts of India.

People’s responses are really varied. While there are inevitably many who aren’t up for getting involved, thankfully I’ve found lots who are. I think people are increasingly keen to have unusual experiences that temporarily put them in unfamiliar situations. Despite it being a simple innocent task to perform, I feel many people do still find it too confrontational and potentially exposing. They may of course just feel they have better things to do with their time than balance fruit on their head while some bloke jumps around taking photos of them.

While I’m looking to photograph people doing something fun and playful, rather than making fun of them, I actually think it’s about celebrating them. It’s about enjoying peoples ability to be playful without a concern of whether they ‘look good’. As a result, I think all of the participants look fantastic.

I believe there is a lot to be gained from engaging in the seemingly pointless. The vast majority of our time is spent fulfilling tasks or doing what we think is necessary to achieve something. Engaging in unfamiliar activities that have no obvious objectives has the potential to help us view things about each other, our environment and ourselves differently, or at the very least put a smile on the face of a passer by.

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