The Oxford Shark
16.03.2014 by Charles Burns
During filming of Silhouette Secrets last month we were unexpectedly let down by an interviewee in London. We found ourselves, camera crew in tow, with nothing to film on a beautiful spring morning. On a whim we got the Russian motorcycle out of the shed and headed out into Oxford.
The Oxford Shark (sometimes known as the Headington Shark) has always been one of my favourite sights in Oxford. Something about it takes me back to my art-school days, when crazy things like this seemed normal and sane. That it has remained in place for so many years is extraordinary.
I edited this little snippet myself. It was a great exercise in how to use a film-editing programme. There is so much to learn about films. I’m having a lot of fun learning, although I’m quite glad it won’t be me editing the rest of the film!
Progress away from the Oxford Shark
We have done a lot of filming for Silhouette Secrets, nearly a dozen interviews. Locations include the Regency Town House in Hove, the London Sketch Club, the National Portrait Gallery and Llandudno Pier in North Wales. Planned locations include a Ural sidecar journey to Cheltenham to visit the first studio of nineteenth-century silhouettist, August Edouart.
August Edouart is a pivotal figure in the film. He is also a pivotal figure in the history of the silhouette. Cheltenham is the city where he cut his first portraits. As far as we can tell the shop he used as a studio, or one very like it, still stands. The plan is to take the Ural past the shop while making a running commentary on Edouart’s story, especially the story of how he learned to cut silhouettes. Mark, the cameraman, will be in the sidecar.
However, before that we head to the USA. In America we plan a packed 10-day shoot, visiting New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Houston. The crew will be Andi, Mark, my daughter Taz and myself. We are doing this on rather a shoe-string budget as the Indiegogo campaign didn’t quite produce the funds we hoped! All will go well…
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