The past awaits: An hour with Vincent Ward

CoverThe Boston Globe describes Vincent Ward as one of the world’s great image-makers, and the session I attend today at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival would certainly back this up.

As Vincent talks with Charlotte Ryan from bFM (who has great hair, by the way), we are treated to a selection of photos, movie stills, paintings and film clips that have mostly been selected from his recently published book, The Past Awaits: People, Images, Film. Accompanying this visual feast are anecdotes, notes and asides from Vincent, not just about the book and the process of making it, but also some truly deliciously icky Hollywood gossip, some secret (he made us promise not to tell) details about what he’s working on at the moment (a movie, a book, an art exhibition), and some real insight into what motivates him. 

In the past, he says, there has always been a division between different media. Film, photography and painting were all kept quite separate. “What interests me,” he says, “is saying, What if you didn’t have any of that separation?  If you could use all these media in layers in a single work, to express something in whatever way you need to?”

There is a great deal of audience buy-in, and supportive nodding, and some great questions at the end.  The session finishes with a question about what his overall message or theme might be, and Vincent says it’s about “… trying not to drown, but to swim, and trying to fly and not to fall.” 

This, I think, is a fitting description, perhaps, for what all the writers (and us festival-goers too) are trying to do, and I think about this, and write it down, and leave the festival behind for another year.

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