Category Archives: Exhibitions

Artists Taking Part (17)

Community Photography Workshop #1

On Sunday 13th May 21 volunteers attended the first of three photography workshops at The Mill community centre in Walthamstow.

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.

Funded by Waltham Forest

- click on the image above to view the full gallery -

chariot_e17_small

Artists Taking Part: Community Project

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.

Workshop dates
============
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
24 June

Mela
15 July

Torch Relay
21 July

Godiva Awakes
5 August

Chingford Day
12 August

Leyton Day
9 September

Car free day
16 September

Light up Langthorne Park
29 September

Jonathan Goldberg: Bee Keeping from the series 'Transition Towns'

Backyard Magazine Launch Party

Jonathan Goldberg: Bee Keeping from the series 'Transition Towns'

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.

George Plemper: Research Assistant and Cleaner, 1979, from the series, 'One Moment In Time'

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 )

Roo with the app

E17 Art Trail – the second weekend

Toastie & Fabien at 'Woof'

Toastie & Fabien at 'Woof'

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.

Tulia at Wendy MacMillan's

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 at the Image17 Exhibition

Sonia and Abigail looking at Katherine Green's work at the Image17 Exhibition

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.

Josh, Anna, Louise, Cinthia, Stephen, Rebecca, Kirsten, Lorraine, Paul and Sean at St Barnabas Church

Josh, Anna, Louise, Cinthia, Stephen, Rebecca, Kirsten, Lorraine, Paul and Sean at St Barnabas Church

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!

Looking into the Original Army Installation at Waterstone's

Looking into the Original Army Installation at Waterstone's

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.

Inside the Original Army Installation at Waterstone's

Inside the Original Army Installation at Waterstone's

The Lady Chapel at St Barnabas

The Lady Chapel at St Barnabas

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.

St Barnabas Church - place of worship and art gallery

St Barnabas Church - place of worship and art gallery

This is Paul Tucker, looking towards part of his exhibition of photography – which was installed on the Stations of the Cross.

The Art Trail app - in front of one of the Blue Plaques on Grosvenor Park Road

The Art Trail app - in front of one of the Blue Plaques on Grosvenor Park Road

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.

Paul Lindt's installation of Walthamstow Buildings

Paul Lindt's installation of Walthamstow Buildings

Emma, Abigail, Sonia, Shelly, Bronwyn and Steven

Emma, Abigail, Sonia, Shelly, Bronwyn and Steven

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!

Rachel, Kirsten, Ester and Anna at Inky Cuttlefish

Rachel, Kirsten, Ester and Anna at Inky Cuttlefish

African drummers with Bluegrass pickers

African drummers with Bluegrass pickers

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.

Cris at the Inky Cuttlefish party

Cris at the Inky Cuttlefish party

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.

Bo, Malikah, Amma and Penny

Bo, Malikah, Amma and Penny

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.

Carl Harris aka Cat Boy

Creator of the artwork for this year

Becky and Sharon with 'The Cavalcade of Cows'

Becky and Sharon with 'The Cavalcade of Cows' including some beautiful black & white photgraphs

Joseph with 'Tears of Blood' on display

Joseph with 'Tears of Blood' on display at home

Community art project at St Mary's Church

Community art project at St Mary's Church

Toby with his 'Urban Dunes' installation

Toby with his 'Urban Dunes' installation

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.

Installation shot of the dunes

Installation shot of the dunes

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.

The Dunes catapult in action

The Dunes catapult in action

Kate with her photos from Earth to Space

Kate with her photos from Earth to Space

Matt at Paekakariki Press with the Heidelberg press

Matt at Paekakariki Press with the Heidelberg press

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.

Copies of the beautiful poetry anthology 'Home' printed at Paekakariki Press

Copies of the beautiful poetry anthology 'Home' printed at Paekakariki Press

Each year the E17 Art Trail just gets better and better – I’m already looking forward to next year’s!

Tokarska Gallery - artists names available on request

E17 Art Trail – the first weekend

The Pivate View at Ms Wanda's Wardrobe Pop Up Shop

Ms Wanda's Wardrobe Pop Up Shop - Private View

The E17 Art Trail got off to a flying start on Thursday with private views all over town.

Tokarska Gallery - Private View (Artist names available for caption.)

Tokarska Gallery - Private View

A few doors down from Ms Wanda’s the Tokarska Gallery was also packed out and buzzing. It was fantastic to have so much creative energy and activity going on just a few streets from where we live.

Bronwyn Goodwin and John Bird at Info Hub on Town Square

Bronwyn Goodwin and John Bird at Info Hub on Town Square

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.

(FYI: Bronwyn developed the Art Trail App together with Digital Design Studio Red Leader – and of course the fantastic Catboy who did all the illustrations for the Trail Guide and posters this year.)

The artists showing at Vestry House.

The artists showing at Vestry House Museum

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.

Amanda Doidge showing at Walthamstow Central Library

Amanda Doidge is showing her work upstairs at Walthamstow Central Library

Saturday afternoon and it was off to the library for the artist talks.

Jay Hudson during artist talk at Walthamstow Central Library

Jay Hudson was the first speaker, talking about her Knit a Year Project

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.

Peter Kyte during artist talk at Walthamstow Central Library

Peter Kyte talked about his photographs from Walthamstow Market

Ron Bowman during artist talk at Walthamstow Central Library

Ron Bowman gave a brief demonstration of his watercolour work in the library foyer - while surrounded by a collection of his recent work

Ron is very enthusiastic water colour painter and also dedicates his time to encouraging and teaching other other people to paint too.

Katherine Green during artist talk at Walthamstow Central Library

Katherine Green speaking on the stairs in Walthamstow Central Library

Katherine Green and I then did a talk about a series of photos commissioned by Voluntary Action Waltham Forest.

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!

Visitor, Christina Brown discussing work during artist talk at Walthamstow Central Library

Visitor Christina Brown discussing Katherine

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 discussing work during artist talk at Walthamstow Central Library

Amanda Doidge discussing her work

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 Parry discussing work during artist talk at Walthamstow Central Library

Eliana Parry discussing her work

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 Gondal discussing work during artist talk at Walthamstow Central Library

Tayaba Gondal talking about her paintings

Tayaba has only moved to the UK recently and talked about her inspirations from both Pakistan and the UK.

Tayaba Gondal discussing work during artist talk at Walthamstow Central Library

I’ve met Tayaba and her husband Gulfam through the Art Trail. They have been very involved this year as both participants and volunteers.

Kai and David at Waltham Forest Pool & Track

Kai and David at Waltham Forest Pool & Track during the Multi-Sports Summer School

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.

Kai Dudley-Kuhl & David Rycroft with their portrait at Image17 exhibition

Kai & David with their portrait at the Image17 exhibition

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 Rycroft + Family with his portrait at Image17 exhibition

David and his family with his portrait at the Image17 exhibition

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.

Photography Collective Image17 - names available on request

Photography Collective Image17 - thanks to Paula Smith for this photograph

The whole Image17 crew, from left to right: Udall, Matt, Dan, Paula, Katherine, Joe, Fabien, Matt, Simon, Claire, Mark and Nicola.

Visitors at Image17 exhibition

Visitors at the Image17 exhibition

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.

Tokarska Gallery with artists Punk Recruit, Nadiya, Patrick and Allen

Tokarska Gallery with artists Punk Recruit, Nadiya, Patrick and Allen

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.

Patrick O'Sullivan - showing at Tokarska Gallery

Patrick O'Sullivan - showing at Tokarska Gallery

Punk Recruit - showing at Tokarska Gallery

Punk Recruit - showing at Tokarska Gallery

Ms Wanda in her Wardrobe Pop Up Shop

Ms Wanda in her Wardrobe Pop Up Shop

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.

Has and Mandi - in their home / gallery

Has and Mandi - in their home / gallery

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.

Jazz Band 'Tribunal', playing at concert in Sarah Nicolls Home

Jazz Band 'Tribunal', playing at concert in Sarah Nicolls Home

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.

Violinist Lucy Russell playing at concert in Sarah Nicolls Home

Violinist Lucy Russell playing at concert in Sarah Nicolls Home

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 Nicolls playing her 'Inside-out Piano' at a concert in her home

Sarah Nicolls playing her 'Inside-out Piano' at a concert in her home

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!

Luke Barlow, Mark Holub, Lucy Russell and Sarah Nicolls

Luke Barlow, Mark Holub, Lucy Russell and Sarah Nicolls

Streetlife Radio presenter Zawdie, me and radio producer Brenda

Streetlife Radio presenter Zawdie, me and radio producer Brenda

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.

On air with Street Life Radio, the sound of Waltham Forest

On air with Street Life Radio, the sound of Waltham Forest

I was interviewed by Zawdie and we got a chance to discuss all things Art Trail.

Zawdie interviewing me

Zawdie interviewing me on Street Life Radio

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!

Answering questions about the E17 Art Trail on Street Life Radio

Answering questions about the E17 Art Trail on Street Life Radio

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Voluntary Action in Waltham Forest

Salim & Natasha at Noor Ul Islam Mosque, Walthamstow.

Together with Katherine Green I will be exhibiting a selection of work as part of this years E17 Art Trail at Walthamstow Central Library and the Credit Union on Church Hill.

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:
Monday, 10am-8pm
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9.30am-8pm
Wednesday, 9.30am-6pm
Saturday, 9.30am-5pm
Sunday, 12noon-4pm

Waltham Forest Carers: Copyright Katherine Green

Waltham Forest Community Credit Union
4 Church Hill
London E17 3AG

Credit Union opening times:
Monday, 9.30am-4.30pm
Tuesday, 9.30am-4.30pm
Wednesday, Closed
Thursday, 9.30am-4.30pm
Friday, Closed
Saturday, 10pm-2pm

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.

Multi-Sports Day

“Taking Part” a new project by Image17

Kai and David: attending the Multi-Sports Day at Waltham Forest Pool & Track

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.

Chestnuts House
398 Hoe Street
E17 9AA

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.

active-witness

Active Witness: talk & private view

From the left: Dana Popa, Mark Burton, Simon Baker (Tate Modern) and Paulo Nunes dos Santos

Photograph by Jonathan Goldberg

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.

Paul & Richard from Guests & Volunteers

I spoke a little about my photography background and then about my work from the series Guests & Volunteers: Portraits from the Crisis Night Shift.

Annie looking through the Guests & Volunteers book

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.

Kalleen and Rob looking at the photos in the Active Witness exhibition

James next to his portrait with Octavio

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.

Shoah, Simon, Ines showing James the exhibition brochure featuring his portrait

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.

The Active Witness exhibition brochure opening page

Some TV at the end of the day...

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
London SW1

Active Witness: Octavio & James

Active Witness: 12 Star Gallery

An Exhibition of Photography to Celebrate the European Year of Volunteering

One of the images from Guests & Volunteers has been selected for an exhibition at the European Commission 12 Star Gallery by Simon Baker, curator of photography at Tate Modern and Ines De Bordas.

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
London SW1

talk-small

Guests & Volunteers: discussion forum

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.

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