Park life and portraits

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.



[Images by Jonny Baker]


Frankie shared some more triptychs...

Abstrac urban triptych small
...and an experiment with six images too.

Affinity template 6 x landscape A1 blue & acqua

[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!



Following Robert's theatre photography presentation last month Jonny got an opportunity to put that into practice with a shoot of Road by Synergy Theatre Project. He showed the results at the June meeting. Here are three .

curation challange


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.

Theatre photography


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.


Back in the day

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.


Vitality - the 34th annual LIP exhibtion


[photo copyright Sue Ridge]

Group members Jonny Baker and Frankie Macallister are taking part in this year's LIP annual exhibtion. It is LIP’s 34th Annual Exhibition featuring an independent selection of work by 62 LIP members.

Runs: Tuesday 24 to Sunday 29 January

Open: 12.00 to 18.00 (17.00 on Sunday).

Private View: Thursday 26 January at 18.30

Gallery: Espacio Gallery 159 Bethnal Green Road London E2 7DG

Tube: Liverpool Street Station, Bethnal Green Station
Overground: Shoreditch High Street Buses: 8, 388

View the Exhibition Catalogue here


It’s always satisfying to make something tangible no matter how brief or flimsy, so I create zines and booklets of various series’ or subjects as a way either of pulling a collection together, or of drawing a line under a particular project.

Front pge

Urban Backgrounds is literally that, a short zine featuring a collection of images from ordinary background things I notice every day. The marks and textures on walls, floors, and windows, the peeling paint and torn curtains, damp and mould, faded graffiti, damaged render, old posters, cracks and holes, scratches and scrawls. They form the everyday background to urban life and the create abstracts of their own. 


Winter Light – a short booklet from a week of storms in the north west of Scotland.  We had only the briefest of forays out into the weather and the images are of the limited glimpses of the surrounding countryside and coast, and the views from the studio where I was staying. 

Blog post Written by Frankie MaCAllister