The group's usual venue is being refurbished so Robert Vass generously made his home available for February's meeting.
We started the evening with new work. Frankie McAllister's landscapes brought us into the heart of Glencoe. Arun Misra then took us through the work behind his image used on the cover of the current edition of fLIP. It was actually stimulated by a prompt from Jonny Baker's creativity app which was great to find out about too.
[Both images above by Frankie McAllister]
[Both images above by Arun Misra]
Next we had a fascinating tour around people's use of online to display and promote their work, sparking discussion on different template providers, how blogs can build a community and why Essex coastal towns are such fertile places for photography!
Here are links we visited. Do take a look!
Robin Segulem also introduced us to some great examples of members' work on the LIP website. It's an inspirational place.
We just had time for Frankie to update us on a profile of Ray Higginbottom that she's been discussing with the Ruislip LIP group that he was also a member of. The plan is to create a page on the LIP website that people can add tributes and memories to.
Finally we discussed the topic for next month, Spring. Members were invited to interpret that in any way between now and then and bring work to the meeting.
We opened October's session by sharing some recent work. Frankie McAllister gave us a preview of Bassin, a project inspired by Arcachon Bay in France. She's also curating this work as a zine to launch in January. Jonny Baker's images were a different take on Niagara Falls as well as long exposures of star constellations. Richard Moseley brought our attention to a new photography book, No Passa Nada. Sean McDonnell then showed new street work from trips to Mexico City and Marseille.
[Both images above by Frankie McAllister]
[Both images above by Jonny Baker]
[Both images above by Sean McDonnell]
Jonny also introduced his current project on creativity and demonstrated an app he's designed with calls to action to stimulate our imagination. Each of us chose a Get... action to think about how we could apply it to our own work.
We then had an engaging discussion on AI and photography, referencing the history of technology, examples of AI in practice and its ethical implications plus ways it's being challenged. .
Mel Meigh then presented a demo of her use of generative AI in Photoshop and Richard Baker showed examples of images he'd produced by refining prompts using DALL·E 3.
As a challenge we decided to explore this technology, play with it in our own ways and share the outputs with the groupThis is an important topic so we'll keep it on the agenda for future meetings.
September's meeting had been devoted to opening our BEAT 2023 exhibition Blondin so it was good to get back to sharing and discussing new work from a number of members for our October meeting.
Ray Higginbottom led off with a new selection of prints of landscape work from a recent trip to Norfolk. We then welcomed Mark Fisher who joined the meeting after seeing our last BEAT show and he shared some of his work from a recent trip to Norfolk too. Robin Segulem's prints then transported us to Cumbria, from the streets of Barrow-in-Furness to the Lake District Fells. Angelika Berndt took us to Austria to admire a new set of documentary images from a bodypainting festival. Following that, the Arles photo festival itself was the subject of Richard Baker's work with his take on the curation and display of the exhibitions there. Anshuman Acharya added to the global perspective of the evening with a range of photographs from Japan, India, Vietnam and Australia.
[Both images above by Robin Segulem]
[Both images above by Richard Baker]
[Both images above by Anshuman Acharya]
We had a chat about BEAT and the private view in particular. The slackline display was a hit and prompted us to think of combining with other performers or artists on any future projects too.
We then followed up on an idea Arun Misra had suggested for our topic calendar at the start of the year - stories behind some famous photographs. Dorota Boisot showed some portraits she had made in the spirit of a photograph of the Hollywood star Rita Hayworth. Sean McDonnell then shared a selection of images and stories from photographers including Louis Daguerre, Diane Arbus and Sebastião Salgado.
We also had a brief discussion on ideas for next month's meeting, including AI, and will be sharing details in advance of that.
Thanks in conclusion to Robert Vaas for hosting the meeting at Questors Theatre while our regular venue was unavailable!
September's meeting was the opening of the Blondin exhibition. It was a lovely evening on a gorgeous late summer's day cataching up over a drink, bathing in the satisfying aftermath of the exhibtion going up, chatting with friends. It looks great and will get so much footfall by virtue of its location. To add a bit of fun to the evening Nick had brought along his slackline which was set low to the ground for anyone to have a go.
Inspired by Angelika other group members brought photos along on the theme Living in London. Here are a few:
by Brigitte Flock
by Brigitte Flock
by Jonny Baker
by Jonny Baker
by Sarah Wilkie
by Sarah Wilkie
At the August group meeting the theme was Living In London. Angelika Berndt gave a presentation on a project she has been working on. She says this about it...
Living in London
In temporary accommodation
The project was developed in 2022 as a lived-in self-experiment.
Over several months Angelika Berndt lived in different types of temporary accommodation in different parts of London. Accommodation types ranged from a room in a flat share, to a hostel, a fully furnished attic apartment and a sublet in a family home.
The experiment became as much a trial to find out how it feels to live in these different types of accommodation as it gave insights into the neighbourhoods themselves, their people, the supply chain and transport facilities.
Having lived in Ealing for many years, Angelika soon was to learn what social support; good access to supplies and transport was all about.
This photo research was first presented at Ealing LIP and is now available as a digital book.
And here are some pages from the book
A review of our submissions for this year's BEAT project was the main subject of July's meeting. The group has been busy spending time in Blondin Park, a local open space that also has a pavilion for community activities, to create a collection of reflections on the life of the park.
It's been a great opportunity for us to represent the range of styles and interests within the group and engage with our local neighbourhood. We plan to exhibit our work in an outdoors gallery in the park and it will be an interesting companion to our Ealing Unlocked project on the facade of Ealing police station, created for BEAT two years ago which is still on show!
We always make time for members to share their work in our meetings and this month we had a fascinating range of work.
We started with some of Aasem's latest images and a wonderful drone view of Tower Bridge. Ray then showed work in progress on his family portraits plus prints of two new triptychs, Inspirational as always.
[Image by Ray Higginbottom]
Jonny shared some great natural portraits of two women, Mariza and Maria, who work in an ethical cleaning company called Clean For Good set up to pay cleaners the London Living Wage.
...and an experiment with six images too.
[Images by Frankie McAllister]
Brigitte is also developing ideas using this technique, taking a documentary approach in work from Brighton and Rome. Another fascinating development.
[Images by Brigitte Flock]
We concluded with a review of meeting topics for the rest of the year. It's looking really promising with a book launch and AI on the agenda too!
We decided to run a little challenge whereby we were paired off into twos and each person swapped a collection of their photographs for the other person to edit/curate into a smaller selection. The idea was to go through a process of deciding what went together, what the connections were, what the appeal was and to explore the issues around selection and curation. So far Dorota and Frankie have reviewed each other’s images, each coming up with completely different selections and now Sean and Carolyn have done the same with their two collections of black and white prints. Their process brought them both to very similar selections, each filtering images though into their different forms of connection. We’ll carry on with this as and when the other pairs of photographers work through their assessment as it’s interesting to see how other people view your work.
Group member, Robert Vass, drew from his long experience working with Questors Theatre in Ealing both as a theatre photographer and as an actor, to give us a presentation on theatre photography. He explained the particular challenges and pitfalls of working in theatre conditions, the low light, the distortions of stage lighting specific to both LED and tungsten, and the difficulty in capturing actors in action. Apart from the constant of low light, the main challenge is that you are often dealing with a moving situation which means you sometimes catch actors in unflattering poses (Robert’s tip: wait till the actors have finished speaking!) so it is difficult to keep that balance between energy, motion and aesthetics. A variety of shots are always needed, often focusing in on one actor with another being in the frame but out of focus, so you need to remember which actors you have shot and in what combination so that you can avoid repetition. What’s always vital is to ensure you have a picture of everyone in a show. Robert feels that his experience as an actor has helped him significantly as he has an awareness of how the actors will behave and move around the stage, and what they are likely to do next at a given point in their performance.
Another issue with the photography is simply timing, as publicity shots for a production are often required well in advance of that production getting underway. So, with no costumes or sets, sometimes no actors, ingenuity becomes another essential for the theatre photographer. The type of publicity shots needed also varies with the production, and some creativity is required to take pictures that are reflective of the particular show. Robert showed a number of prints of different shows demonstrating the different aspects of the work as well as different types of show. He also showed some images of the layouts of shots used in the in-theatre notice boards.
Robin's prints shared at January's meeting sparked this month's theme of Back In The Day. Group members brought some personal pictures and gave us all the opportunity to reflect on our own journeys with photography so that made it quite a special evening.
We travelled both in time and geography. Brigitte took us to Paris in 1972, Arun to experience colonial life in Zambia in the sixties and seventies, Carolyn to Portugal through a slide viewer! Richard had a selection including his first self portrait using a Zenit-E that brought back memories for some.
[Paris 1972 by Brigitte Flock]
It was great to see Ray Higginbottom now we're meeting on Wednesdays and he shared some prints from his archive using a range of processes. Jonny and Sean each shared informal family photographs. It stimulated thoughts on the tradition of the family album and post-holiday slideshows.
We also updated our plans for ideas for the rest of the year and Ray offered to chair March's meeting on the theme of Censorship.