This is part of the ‘Artists Taking Part’ commission I am undertaking for the London Borough of Waltham Forest, documenting the main Cultural and Olympic related events taking place in 2012. The volunteers are learning about digital photography and will contribute images from their own, unique perspective to the collection.
At the end of the project there will be an exhibition held in Waltham Forest.
Here is a gallery of images from the day, including portraits taken by the participants.
- click on the image above to view the full gallery -
Artists Taking Part: Photography Project
Commissioned by London Borough of Waltham Forest (LBWF)
During the summer of 2012 I will be documenting 10 of the major cultural and Olympic related events happening in Waltham Forest. This collection of celebratory and documentary photographs will be used to create a ‘Visual Time Capsule’.
I have also recruited a team of 20 volunteers to learn about digital photography and to contribute their own images to the Visual Time Capsule. They will be attending 3 weekend workshops prior to the shoots, during May and June. Two volunteers will then attend each shoot, where they will be supervised and encouraged to create images from their own perspective. At the end of the project there will be a final wrap-up workshop and an exhibition, which will be held in Waltham Forest.
The volunteer participants are from all sections of the community, with the goal being to include people who might not normally have the opportunity to experience this type of project.
13th May 2-5pm at The Mill on Coppermill Lane, E17
27th May 2-5pm at Vestry House Museum, E17
10th June 2-5pm at The Mill on Coppermill Lane, E17
Each volunteer will then join me for ONE of the following events
Confirmed event dates
Arts in the Park
Car free day
Light up Langthorne Park
On Friday 4th November Backyard Magazine was launched at Tokarska Gallery in E17.
Backyard Magazine is devoted to showcasing photographers who love to explore and capture their neighbourhoods. The first issue has been kept close to home, with work selected from six photographers working in London.
Throughout the evening a series of projections were shown by the contributing photographers. The images were projected onto the gallery windows, so the work could be seen from the inside and outside too.
We’re really excited about the upcoming issues of Backyard that are in the pipeline. Each issue will be based on a geographical area or theme and will be curator led – but we’ll also be asking for submissions to promote and support new work.
If you’re interested in submitting to future issues of Backyard you can join the mailing list and follow on Twitter and Facebook to keep up-to-date with what the curators are looking for – and when. (Details on www.backyardbackyard.com )
Fabien’s fantastic exhibition ‘Woof’ at his home attracted a steady stream of visitors over each weekend as well as the during the week. His empathetic portraits of dogs and owners included numerous ingenious compositions and was a big hit with everyone that went to see them.
A number of my friends made trips across town too see the Art Trail. This is my friend Tulia looking at one of Wendy MacMillan’s pieces after travelling over from Kilburn.
Sonia and Abigail came to visit the Image17 exhibition while I was invigilating. Over 800 people came to see just this one exhibition during the art trail and I really enjoyed being able to give people guided tours.
On Friday night St Barnabas hosted late night viewing of their artist’s work. There was a great turn-out and the wine kept flowing (I’m reliably informed) until about mid-night!
Over the last few months, as Bronwyn developed the E17 Art Trail App, we became very familiar with the many different exhibitions on the trail. Despite this, we kept being surprised by pieces of work or venues that we hadn’t noticed before. One of these was the Original Army’s work in Waterstones Bookshop – an intriguing and unexpected piece of work.
I went back to St Barnabas to see the exhibition in daylight. It was an engaging cross-section of work including photography, painting, illustration, printed textiles and decorative silver.
This is Paul Tucker, looking towards part of his exhibition of photography – which was installed on the Stations of the Cross.
Nearly everyone I met on the trail talked about danny’s Blue Plaques that detailed the previous residents of many of the houses about 100 years ago. I found them – and pretty much everything else that day by navigating with the Art Trail App.
Another exhibition at home was a combination of Steve’s ceramics and Emma’s paintings – where we were given cups of tea, cup-cakes and then bumped into Sonia and Abigail again!
On Saturday night Inky Cuttlefish held a party – there were drinks and lots of food inside, while outside there were musicians who played late into the night.
Co-founder of the Art Trail, Cris, was determined not to be in any of my photos – but just managed to sneak into this one! It was a rare treat to have a five minute walk home after it all ended – instead of the normal tube or taxi ride that ends most nights out in London.
Penny Fielding has supported the Art Trail from its beginnings 7 years ago and had hundreds & hundreds of people visit her shop. Penny is a great supporter of local artists showing & selling their work and also holding events and performances.
A highlight of the trail for me was meeting Toby Poolman and seeing his Urban Dunes. He had constructed a catapult which flung sand out across the floor of a garage – the temporary home of his installation.
The work was an intriguing exploration of materials and construction – he had no idea how the piece would look when he began. Within an hour of our visit the piece was swept away and the catapult packed up – so I was really glad I arrived when I did.
Last year when we stopped by at Paekakariki Press Martin was still waiting for his printer to be delivered. Now its all up and running.
Each year the E17 Art Trail just gets better and better – I’m already looking forward to next year’s!
The E17 Art Trail got off to a flying start on Thursday with private views all over town.
On Friday afternoon I popped over to the information hub where Bronwyn, my wife, was at the Art Trail Info hub spreading the word with Artist John Bird.
On Friday there was a launch party at Vestry House Museum. It was a lovely evening, and all the artists showing there took part in this group photo. From left to right: Roger, Anthony, Scarlett, Leanne, Daisy, Carl, Julia, Jason and Lorraine.
Saturday afternoon and it was off to the library for the artist talks.
Jay put the final stitch in place on her ‘Knit-a-Year’ project at the beginning of her talk. Jay knitted using yarns that were donated, free-cycled or whatever else she could think of. You can find out more about her project on her blog.
Ron is very enthusiastic water colour painter and also dedicates his time to encouraging and teaching other other people to paint too.
I am a big fan of Katherine’s work and actually met her when she did a talk at last years Art Trail. If this isn’t a great example of the E17 Art Trail bringing people together I don’t know what is!
It was also really special to have this community based project shown and discussed in the same neighbourhood it was made.
As some readers of my blog & website will know, I’m a big supporter of voluntary projects. They are a great way to make a contribution to our community and make new friends. If you’d like to get involved contact Voluntary Action Waltham Forest or of course you could help out on next year’s E17 Art Trail!
Several of the volunteers portrayed were at the talk and discussed their perspective on the images and project. The work I had displayed was the Waltham Forest Inter-Faith Pilgrimage. You can see a short 4 minute PhotoFilm about it here.
Other work from the project by Katherine and I can be seen in the AV room at the Central Library and the Credit Union on Church Hill.
Amanda Doidge‘s work ‘Socrates’ is conceptually fascinating and a technical achievement of a very high standard. Not only did we discuss her work but for a few minutes also Greek Philosophy – a real treat.
Eliana’s enthusiasm for her beautiful colour paintings shone through during her talk – part of which took place in one of the library’s computer rooms. It was interesting to watch people stop whatever they were doing and for a few minutes join the audience.
Tayaba has only moved to the UK recently and talked about her inspirations from both Pakistan and the UK.
I’ve met Tayaba and her husband Gulfam through the Art Trail. They have been very involved this year as both participants and volunteers.
The second exhibition both Katherine Green and I are involved with is the Image17 exhibition at Chestnuts House on Hoe Street.
Together with 12 other photographers, we have been commissioned by Waltham Forest Council to photograph & celebrate 48 community sports teams & groups. The show is called ‘Taking Part’ and is inspired by the Olympic ideal that it is more important to take part than to win.
This is a really exciting project, and it’s great that Waltham Forest, as one of the Olympic Boroughs, is supporting something like this in the lead up to 2012.
Something that was lovely on Saturday’s private view was having some of the people in the photos there as our guests. This is Kai and David with their portrait.
David’s family came along too and for me, this really made the whole event extra special. I need to give a big thank you to Kai and David’s parents – and all the other parents and participants at the Multi-Sports Summer School. They trusted me to take photos all day and were happy to sign model release forms and give me permission to use the images for this project.
Another big thank-you to the organisers – Waltham Forest Sports Development Team and the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation for allowing me to photograph the event.
The whole Image17 crew, from left to right: Udall, Matt, Dan, Paula, Katherine, Joe, Fabien, Matt, Simon, Claire, Mark and Nicola.
Although I’m part of this exhibition – and obviously somewhat biased – I’d recommend going and seeing the show. There are some exceptional photographs and they have all been taken in our local community.
The Tokarska Gallery is exhibiting a varied and very strong collection of work by a group of different artists. While I was there taking photos on Sunday morning there was a steady stream of people coming in and enjoying the work – despite journeys made to get there in heavy rain. This is another ‘highly recommended’ to go and see.
Just a few doors down from Tokarska Gallery is Ms Wanda who has set up her own ethical fashion Pop Up shop. This in itself is quite an achievement as getting the space required detailed negotiations with the landlord and council. It was well worth the effort and please go and say ‘hello’ if you’re near Forest Road this week.
In the same ‘hood are ‘Ham Sandwich’ AKA Has and Mandi who turn their house into an Art Gallery every trail. We got a warm welcome when we popped by and their show is a fantastic example of improvising an exhibition space.
Our final stop on Sunday afternoon was at Sarah Nicolls house where she organsied a concert in her front room. Forty people crammed themselves into her house, were given Gin & Tonics and were then treated to an eclectic set of music of the highest standard. Jazz band ‘Tribunal’ did two sets and I was transfixed by Mark Holub’s amazing drumming. In the first set Luke Barlow played the sax, and in the second played the piano – quite amazing talents and standards of musicianship.
In her introduction, Sarah alluded to the fact Lucy is quite well known. This was something of an understatement. She is a professor of Baroque Violin at the Royal College of Music and a member of the world renowned Fitzwilliam String Quartet. Her playing was extraordinary – at times it sounded like there were two violins being played not one.
Sarah, again modestly, omitted to tell us some of her biography – she is a leading contemporary and experimental pianist and you can learn more about her on her website.
Sarah has created an ‘inside-out’ piano which she played using the keyboard – and also by tapping, bending, scraping and scratching the piano cords which – on the ‘inside-out’ piano are hung directly above the keyboard. Amazing!
On Monday afternoon I was invited to speak about the E17 Art Trail and the Voluntary Action & Image17 projects on Waltham Forest’s very own Street Life Radio.
Street Life can be heard online – but also between 5th and 30th September it can be heard by tuning your radio to 87.8FM.
I was interviewed by Zawdie and we got a chance to discuss all things Art Trail.
I really enjoyed the whole experience. While I was on-air Bronwyn was tweeting the different Art Trail venues or artists as I mentioned them. I had my phone in front of me so could watch everyone responding to the show and the mentions!
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The work was commissioned by Voluntary Action Waltham Forest and is a celebration of volunteering and community action.
The private view at the library is Thursday 1st September from 6 – 7.30pm. The exhibition then runs from 2nd – 11th September.
We will both be doing a short talk at the library on 3rd September at 2.30pm.
Waltham Forest Central Library
206 High Street
London E17 7JN
Library opening times:
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9.30am-8pm
Waltham Forest Community Credit Union
4 Church Hill
London E17 3AG
Credit Union opening times:
The voluntary groups included are The Forest Women’s Inter-Faith Network, The Waltham Forest Parent Forum, Waltham Forest Blind Association, Kreative Culture Club, William Morris Daycare Association, Waltham Forest Carers Association, The Limes Community & Children’s Centre and Waltham Forest Community Credit Union.
The very exciting news is that the photography collective I belong to – Image17 – has been commissioned by Waltham Forest Council to photograph an Olympics inspired project.
Over the coming months we’ll document 48 sports groups and teams in Waltham Forest and the work will be exhibited throughout the Borough in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics.
Our first exhibition of the initial work will be shown during this year’s E17 Art Trail from the 2nd – 11th September.
The private view is on Saturday 3rd September at Chestnuts House in Walthamstow from 6pm onwards.
398 Hoe Street
We are venue 146 on the Art Trail guide. You can also download the guide onto you iphone or android phone.
Opening times: Friday 2nd 5pm-8pm, Saturday 3rd 10am-6pm, Sunday 4th 12pm-6pm, Thursday 8th & Friday 9th September 5-8pm, Saturday 10th 10am-6pm, Sunday 11th 12pm-6pm.
I was invited by Simon Baker, Curator of Photography at Tate Modern to take part in a talk discussing contemporary documentary practice. It was a prelude to the opening of the Active Witness exhibition at Europe House, which celebrates the European Year of Volunteering.
It was a great honour to share the stage with two exceptionally talented photographers, Dana Popa from Romania and Paulo Nunes dos Santos from Portugal. Dana showed work from her project ‘not Natasha’ which is about women from Eastern Europe who have been ensnared into sex slavery. I’ve known about Dana’s work for some time so it was a treat hear her speak about this powerful body of work.
Paulo, in his own words, is a journalist who also takes photos. This is an understatement. He is an exceptional photographer. Paulo showed recent work including the ongoing conflict in Libya. Paulo was a very softly spoken gentleman and his sensitive understanding of the human impact of the events going on around him is evident in his work. Photojournalists that operate in conflict zones are (from my experience) gentle characters that aren’t anything like the gung-ho stereotypes portrayed in movies. Paulo does an incredibly important and dangerous job and I really admire his work and dedication.
I spoke a little about my photography background and then about my work from the series Guests & Volunteers: Portraits from the Crisis Night Shift.
There are 27 photographers in the Active Witness exhibition, representing the 27 EU countries. Each of us had one image in the exhibition but we were also asked to bring along books so visitors could see the complete series of work that the photographs were selected from.
All the portraits I make are collaborations – if no one agreed to be photographed, I wouldn’t have any work. I always thank people but on this occasion it was great to be able to share the experience of the private view with James.
James also got to meet the photography curators from Tate Modern. Ines and Simon had done a fantastic job putting on a great exhibition and I’m really grateful they asked me to take part. It has helped increase the profile of the Guests & Volunteers project, and highlights the dedication of the thousands of volunteers that turn up year-in, year-out to help at the Crisis homeless Centres over Christmas, as well as the work of other volunteers from all around the world.
If you’d like to volunteer at Crisis, please visit their website for more information.
At the end of the night James and I were interviewed by the crew of the EuroNews TV channel. It was a slightly surreal experience!
The exhibition runs from July 19th – September 9th and is open from 10am – 6pm, Monday to Friday.
Nearest tubes are Westminster, Victoria and St James Park.
12 Star Gallery
32 Smith Square
An Exhibition of Photography to Celebrate the European Year of Volunteering
The exhibition brings together 26 works by photographers representing the 26 participating countries, whose work either engages directly with the voluntary sector, or with closely related social issues.
The exhibition will then run from July 20th – September 9th and is open from 10am-6pm, Monday to Friday.
12 Star Gallery
32 Smith Square
The discussion forum team from left to right: Kalleen Knowles (who chaired the event); Jennie Smith (volunteer manager from Crisis); James Hayes (senior Crisis volunteer); Mark Burton and on the far right, photographer Katherine Green.
When planning the Guests & Volunteers exhibition I really wanted it to be about more than putting photographs on the wall. I wanted to engage different groups of people and utilise different media to spread the word about the exhibition. I also wanted the highlight of the exhibition to be a talk and discussion forum about the challenges of photographing people in vulnerable situations.
What the gallery looked like for the speakers!
It’s always a bit nerve-wracking, holding an event. Will anyone show up?
Well, a few people arrived and then before we knew it, there was a full house with over fifty people crammed into the Tokarska Gallery. As the afternoon progressed more people arrived until there were people sitting at the front with standing-room-only at the back.
Jennie from Crisis began the talk explaining it’s history and the work it does. Crisis runs a year-round programme and has operations in London, Oxford and Newcastle. Each Christmas it runs temporary centres in London. In 2010 8,000 volunteers cared for 3,000 homeless people for 8 days and nights.
The next speaker, James, is a very experienced Crisis volunteer. He explained how people might end up rough sleeping – very often because several things have gone wrong in their lives at the same time. A minority are able to bounce back very quickly, but many suffer from what people working in the homeless sector describe as ‘complex trauma’. They will have mental health and/or dependency issues and will need a greater level of care and support to re-build their lives.
My part of the discussion included a slide-show of work from previous projects photographing people in vulnerable situations.
I explained the central idea behind the work – which was to portray the dignified and respectful relationships that develop at the Rough Sleepers Centre between guests and volunteers. I also wanted the work to challenge perceptions of homelessness: the subjects removed identifying name badges or wristbands, often making it unclear who is the guest and who is the volunteer.
I explained how I was a long-term Crisis volunteer and how this (and a lot of patience) helped me get permission to take photographs in an environment where cameras are normally banned. I also explained how I made the work over the course of each night and you can read more about this here.
A contribution that really brought the whole talk to life was when Mike spoke about his experience being photographed. He’d been a guest at Crisis and I was very grateful that he gave his perspective of the project.
A volunteer’s perspective came from James. (He’s wearing the red-and-white stripy top in back left-hand corner!)
Photographers often talk about their work giving a voice, or representing people who are often not heard. I do feel this about much of my work – but I wanted the participants in this project to have the opportunity to say what they thought about the images.
After the talk I took this portrait of James and his children in front of his photo. He explained how much it meant to him to be included in the project. Sometimes, as a photographer, the most important thing you can do is take the time to make someone’s photo. Something I always try and do – no matter where I made the work – is to send a copy to the person in the picture.
The next speaker was Katherine Green. (Far right of photograph.) It was fantastic to have Katherine involved. She is one of NE London’s best known artist’s and photographers. I have always admired Katherine’s work and her passion for photographing the people close to home in Walthamstow.
Katherine is one of the photographers commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) to document community groups in the five Olympic boroughs as part of ‘The Road to 2012.’
As part of the commission Katherine has photographed sports groups, but also other community groups including a homeless hostel in Walthamstow called Branches. Katherine explained how she persuaded the NPG to include Branches as part of the overall commission.
Katherine showed work from several projects, many of the images dealing with photographing people in vulnerable situations. One of the things Katherine and I have in common is a desire to make images that portray people in a dignified manner.
Kalleen asking Katherine a question: throughout the whole afternoon Kalleen did a great job prompting the speakers and keeping everything on track. Her efforts and expertise gave the discussion a very professional and structured feel.
The whole afternoon was a tremendous success. I hoped 20-30 people would turn up. In the end we had 60! Thanks so much to everyone who spoke and came along – in particular Nadiya, who held the exhibition and talk at her gallery. Thanks also to Tim Roberts who took some of the photos included on this blog.