Our group Ealing London Independent Photography, has a groundbreaking outdoor exhibition of photography, which covers all five storeys of Ealing Police Station! The exhibition is called UNLOCKED; LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD. It’s a collection of 35 photographs reflecting on the surreality of the pandemic and embodying hopes for the future. It’s on now and through into 2022. Located at Ealing Police Station, 67-69 Uxbridge Road, London W5 5SJ and viewable during daylight hours and free.
The photographers taking part are:
It’s kindly supported by Gogar Service, Fujifilm and Clarion Futures, alongside a crowdfunding by art lovers.
We were a fairly small group at The Forester pub on May 2 for our second live meeting. The main event was a presentation by Kyun Ngui on the Chris Steele-Perkins book, ‘The Troubles’, featuring photographs from West Belfast in the late 70s, with text written by Paul McCorry. Kyun describes it more fully below. We also looked at an early rough layout of a Zine by Frankie McAllister, taken from her ongoing project Dividing Lines-Artificial Constructs also described in more detail below.
The Troubles by Chris Steele-Perkins. Published in 2020, described by Kyun Ngui: The Troubles comprises images made by Chris Steele-Perkins on several occasions: from his first visit to Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1978 as part of a project looking at inner city poverty in the UK, then the Milltown Cemetery attack in 1988 and finally from 2008 (10 years after the Good Friday Agreement) when he was on assignment for The Times.
Chris Steele-Perkins, as he says from the Introduction, “intended to cover the situation from the standpoint of the underdog, the downtrodden: I was not neutral and was not interested in capturing it so.” By underdog, he meant the Catholic community, whom he stayed with on his first visit.
The images from his first visit captures that community, its leisure, entertainment, homes, fun and funerals. There are also images more familiarly associated with The Troubles like rioting and the military occupation.
He was there at the Milltown Cemetery attack in 1988. During the funeral for three Provisional IRA members killed by British special forces in Gibraltar, an Ulster Defence Association member attacked the mourners with hand grenades and pistols.
In 2008, 10 years after the Good Friday Agreement, Chris Steele-Perkins went back to Belfast on assignment for The Times. He looked up people he had photographed 30 years ago and interviewed them. The interviews are published in the book together with images of them in 2008 and 1978. The interviews give these people a voice. They, like most ordinary people, simply wanted to live their lives in peace and to have equal access to opportunities in Northern Ireland.
The book also includes a commissioned text about growing up in West Belfast by a friend of Chris Steele-Perkins, Paul McCorry (whom he met on his first visit in 1978). The text is atmospheric and anecdotal, rather than analytical.
The strength of this photobook lies in its giving glimpses into the ordinary lives and activities of the ordinary people in a Catholic community and in allowing their voices to speak in the 2008 interviews. Images of The Troubles have been predominantly about the military occupation and the rioting and violence that arose from it. It must be remembered that there are ordinary people, on both sides of the community, who simply want an ordinary life that many of us take for granted.
Frankie’s presentation was a run through of a very early draft pdf spread of a zine on her project ‘Dividing Lines – Artificial Constructs’, a long term project about the northern Irish border post- Brexit and the artificiality inherent in the imposition of externally applied borders to a landscape.
The project aims to depict concepts of disruption, artificiality and division through manipulated landscape photographs from the border country of Donegal.
And lastly, the group discussed our forthcoming exhibition as part of Ealing BEAT. TRICKSTER Remakes the World is still sparking off a lot of ideas and debate from everyone but we agreed we will need to try to start getting a firmer idea of likely images, at least in indicative form, by end May.
written by Frankie McAllister
On a slightly rainy evening in the middle of February, a number of the Ealing LIP braved the weather to practice their night photography in the City of London. The walk looked to cover a wide variety of different cityscapes ranging from the historic, labyrinthine back alleys off Fleet Street to the modern chrome and glass offices of the multitude of banks and law firms.
The weather was challenging but the mood atmospheric and Dan provided some background history on some of the sights, including one of the oldest hospitals in the world, the primary execution sight in London and the origins of the phrase “laughing one’s head off”. We were also lucky to combine the walk with the City Lights expedition, a collection of temporary art installations set up across the Square Mile that focused on light. These were well visited by the general public and gave the distinct impression that the City was coming back to life after the pandemic.
[Office buildings by Jonny Baker]
[A night bus by Sean McDonnell]
[City Lights by Richard Baker]
[We’re back baby by Frankie McAllister]
[City Lights by Rui Gouveia]
A great evening exploring an area with some fantastic pictures to show for the March meeting topic of night photography.
Written by Dan Dodman
We got on a roll in February's meeting and planned the next few months activities which are...
Feb - Dan organising a nighttime City of London photography walk with some history thrown in for good measure.
March meeting - theme of night photography so do bring along any photos on that theme. And we will share photos from the city walk in Feb . There may even be a quiz to interject.
April meeting - Creating personal projects that re-ignite the creative spark - Ray to present/lead. And we will be sharing phots from the Trickster wheel of ruses challenge (see below)! Also in April an offer of a woodland visit
May - photobook sharing like with the Book of Veles - Kyun has one to share. Anyone else is welcome to offer!
Following Jonny's presentation in January on Trickster he had revisited the book and pulled out 45 ruses of trickster - ideas, sentences describing how trickster acts in the stories. These were put into a wheel and everyone present got a random spin and has been a ruse to take photos in response to. Some were pretty tricky! If you want to try it out the wheel of ruses is here. Simply click and watch the wheel spin. But if you do, let us know what you come up with. You must go with the first ruse that comes up!
Then as ever group members shared photos. Here's a selection of the delights...
["Early Morning at St Paul's" by Dan Dodman showing phots to the group for the first time. The view from the Golden Gallery of St Paul's cathedral (85 metres high) to the Tate Modern on a crisp October morning.]
[Inspired by the trickster theme Jonny Baker showed a few of thresholds and doorways]
[Miner Ian Turner, at the end of his shift. Aberpergwm Mine is the only remaining operational coal mine in the UK the only source of high-grade anthracite in Western Europe. Aberpergwm Mine, Glynneath, Neath, Wales, UK. July 30, 2021. Copyright Photo: Edmond Terakopian/2021]
[A protestor dances on the roof of the fake wedding bus used to block the road. Extinction Rebellion protestors block off the southern end of London Bridge. London, UK. August 31, 2021. Copyright Photo: Edmond Terakopian/2021]
[Ray Higginbottom shared some images that are part of a presentation around personal projects and ideas to get you motivated to pick your camera up and go out and shoot something different. These were from litter discarded in some Country lanes in Bucks. We will be revisiting this in the group.]
Loved this quote from new group member Rui reacting to what he has found in the Ealing LIP meetings so far. He is on instagram at embracethemundane
It's hard to believe that as a group we are still meeting online but due to COVID we are, but having said that the online meetings in the group have been really wonderful. They seem to work well though we'd still love to meet face to face again but no doubt that will come in due course. One of the things about meeting online is that we have probably all put more effort in to prepare some input/presentation and to share photos. Time whizzes by. We started January 2022 with a good turnout of 14 members. It was lovely to welcome someone new who had been inspired to join by seeing Unlocked.
As ever we shared photos. Here are three from sets that were shared
[Brighton pier on a bleak day by Frankie Mcallister]
[Winter Wonderland by Kyun Ngui]
[Caussois observatory in France by Dorota Boisot]
We then had a discussion on the Book of Veles and Trickster Makes This World and felt inspired to make some mischief. Rather than elaborate here I hope that will be a blog post or two in its own right...
We had planned to plot the rest of the year but didn't get that far but no doubt plenty will emerge.
November's group meeting was exploring macro photography. Barry Webb was invited by group member Ray to present his work. He shared an astonishing set of images and as he went through explained some of the techniques he uses. It was intriguing to find that 5mm he considers large for a subject. We were introduced to slime mould and Barry is getting quite a following on instagram for his photos of slime mould. The photo above is a metatrichia floriformis line.
A few group members then shared some macro photos
[Frankie McAllister macro image]
[The Translucent Pelikan Souverän M805 Blue Dunes Special Edition. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian/2021 Instagram: @fountainpenscribbles ]
[Dorota Boisot macro image]
And Sean presented his third book in the Living Lockdown series - see the previous blog post .
Sean McDonnell (group member) has published the third in his trilogy of photo books documenting lockdown. They are a terrific record. Below he reflect on the process which is lifted from he blog -
I'm writing this having just published my third selection of photographs from the streets of Ealing over the last eighteen months. I'm anticipating - hoping? - it will be the last, having reached the end of the official restrictions, in England at least, back in July. However I think there's little belief that this is the end of the impact on the mental and physical health of a large part of the population and will be felt by generations to come.
My motivation for documenting the symbols of these times as they unfolded was to find a way for me to comprehend the changes in our ways of living, working, even being. In a world where so much influence is attributed to social media, I've been struck by the intimacy of handwritten notes and signs. Shops have become time machines, fast-forwarding us into the future. Hairdressers going out of business, re-opening as COVID testing centres. Want to buy some shoes? How about an electric bike instead? Simultaneously we've been pulled back in time. Posters for cinema and theatre openings replaced by public information instructions. Take a Jab for Britain. Countered by Cold War cartoons on lamp posts, representing the resistance. The mask has become a touchpaper of division we'll live with for a long time.
It's been positive to turn these sideways observations into something of tangible benefit for people directly impacted by the pandemic, through making a contribution to Ealing Foodbank from the book sales. It's now set me on a path of working with other members of Ealing LIP to find ways to use photography to enable local community groups to express their own feelings about their experiences.
I was fascinated by my pivot from a lifetime of pursuing a passion for black and white photography on film of people on the streets of London's West End and other cities around the world, to a daily routine of using my mobile phone to record what I literally stumbled across on my morning runs around my local neighbourhood. So where does that leave me now, when I have the freedom to return to those streets? It's important to recognise the ideas and movements that have come to the fore in these febrile times. Rights of representation and the power of privilege are now impossible to ignore in everyday life and certainly in the practice of street photography. It's made me re-think carefully about my own ways of working.
I've also been struck by the range and brilliance of creative response to these times. I confess to having found it hard to resist buying books and zines, often for good causes, as well as attending fascinating virtual talks and exhibitions about peoples' ways of dealing with lockdown and loss. I'm proud to have been part of Ealing LIP's own contribution through the Ealing Unlocked exhibition. Platforms have been taken by marginalised voices and opportunities seized to innovate and share ideas with new audiences. I hope to see that the channels of production - as well as the work - will not be forgotten too.
Lockdown has been a portent of the pace and impact of disruption that will become more common as we face the realities of social and climate disruption. Photography's response will inevitably draw upon its history of documenting, but I feel its tradition of activism will become more vital. Those shifts in the balances of power can be amongst the positive changes we can take through the other side of lockdown.
Another Ealing LIP meeting, another wonderful evening! When we meet, whatever else we do you hope people will come and share photos and talk about them. This month did not disappoint. Here's a selection below of photos people shared. We also heard how some of the Unlocked workshops with community groups had gone so far which was very moving.
The penultimate protestor to be taken off the open top 'wedding bus' was dressed as a bride and had her hand glued to the glass on the bus’s front door. She was arrested and put in the back of a Police van’s secure prisoner cell. Extinction Rebellion protestors block off the southern end of London Bridge. London, UK. August 31, 2021.
Chris Moxey is taking part in Thirteen at Lauderdale House. Details of opening times are on the invite above. The private view has happened so ignore that part!
Photo: Edmond Terakopian
There is an article on London's tallest outdoor photography exhibition in Amateur Photography magazine. Of course that exhibition is ours - Unlocked! Group members Edmond Terakopian and Jonny Baker are interviewed about it in which they relate how it came about, the curation process and working with Ealing Police to get permission for it.