Friday, 23 December 2011

Photographic Fortune Cookies

Earlier this year I was at the National Photography Symposium at the Bluecoat in Liverpool as part of Look11 the photography festival and picked up a couple of fortune cookies that were pinned on washing lines around the Bluecoat courtyard. I admit this was in May but as it happened I found them this week as I was tidying up the dining room after Christmas. I suppose I could have waited another couple of months to write about these for Chinese New Year and I imagine everyone thinking 'how come you didn't notice these the last 8 months?'. I do not exactly live by the mantra "a dusted home is the sign of a wasted life" but things do get put in drawers and corners where I do not look every week.

The couple who put up these fortune cookies were Leila Romaya and Paul McCann. The project was called Hui Yi Lu (Notes from the past). "Hui Yi Lu" celebrates Liverpool's Chinese community and came together following a series of photographic workshops within this community. Twenty large scale photographs were displayed throughout the city centre but then there were these miniature images enclosed in delicious fortune cookies. I was debating whether to open them or not as it felt somehow barbaric to destroy these lovely parcels but it was the monkeys' persuasive skills that made me, not so much because they were curious about the story but they'd fancied the biscuits!

Inside them we found two miniature images one of a boy inscribed 'travelling by sea' and one of a girl inscribed 'Martha'. Boy monkey is very keen to keep his find, perhaps I should suggest to keep it in his special box and one day we might find out more about these children. I managed to get a small bite of the cookie and I must say they were the best ones I have ever tasted.

Leila and Paul also took part in Redeye's Lightbox project and for their group show "Excavating Utopia" they created the most fabulous wall paper from images they had taken of objects in interiors along "Park Road". This road is not so much fictional but a medley of many Park Roads that photographers in the group visited and is a wonderful imaginary picture of how they perceived life in Park Road.

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