Photography

2022 here we go again!

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

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[Brighton pier on a bleak day by Frankie Mcallister]

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[Winter Wonderland by Kyun Ngui]

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[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.


The other side of lockdown

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.


UNLOCKED Exhibition

 
 
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:
Jonny Baker
Richard Baker
Angelika Berndt
Dorota Boisot
Brigitte Flock
Ray Higginbottom
Beatrice Maccarrone
Frankie McAllister
Sean McDonnell
Ray Malcolm
Arun Misra
Kyun Ngui
Robin Segulem
Edmond Terakopian
 
It’s kindly supported by Gogar Service, Fujifilm and Clarion Futures, alongside a crowdfunding by art lovers.

Living Lockdown vol 2

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Sean McDonnell has been documenting life in the locale through lockdown. Having published a book of photographs for the first lockdown he has now published a second volume of photos taken between August 2020 and January 2021. You can order here and half the proceeds go to Ealing Foodbank. He presented this to the group at our June meeting.


Negative space

The concept of negative space was the photography challenge for November’s meeting, set by Melissa Meigh. The brief that the group had to respond to was

Negative Space: the space within, between, and around objects. It defines the links between objects or defines their limits. A ghost of the silhouette.

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Melissa kicked off the session by showing images mostly of light and shadow, with very little depiction of a tangible object, and how the light can become the focus with shadow surrounding.

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Dorota Biosot’s images were architecturally focused. They showed how reflection can play with the subject of negative space, and how shadow, rather than object, can become the main topic.

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Chris Bellinger shared photos of how important image cropping can determine what is negative space; sharing photographs of how a focused subject off-centre surrounded by background can make the subject pop!

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Frankie McAllister displayed images that were shadow-heavy, directing your focus to the boldness of the remaining lit subject. Some of her photographs were reminiscent of Chiaroscuro paintings.

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Jonny Baker presented a spectrum of themes on negative space; ghosts of silhouettes, the prominence of textures, tiny subjects, minimalist images, in an assortment of colour and black and white.


Eyewitness MSF charity print auction

Group member Edmond Terakopian is one of the organisers of an inspired project to raise funds for MSF's Covid 19 relief fund. It's a a print auction of 66 prints by 42 photographers worldwide. The auction runs from now until 15 November and you can browse the catalogue and place bids here

Whilst in the COVID 19 pandemic lockdown, a concerned group of 17 photographers, members of the Eyewitness Collective, dispersed across several continents, came up with an idea: to collect a series of prints by members and by selected invited photographers, in order to raise funds for the battle against this awful pandemic. They have been overjoyed by the feedback and thrilled that so many photographers have donated their beautiful prints.

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Photo: PC McKinley by Dave Sinclair

Over the past several months, they have secured a selection of 66 photographs. Among the more notable are an image by Magnum Photos' legendary photographer Ian Berry from his iconic series The English, an image by the renowned Vietnam War photographer Tim Page, an image by the celebrated photojournalist Tom Stoddart from The Sudan, the fall of the Berlin Wall by the prominent photojournalist Paul Lowe, timeless fine art prints by the creative Yoshie Nishikawa, as well as several celebrity portraits by the likes of Mark Harrison, Jason Bell, Nicky Johnston and Clive Arrowsmith, to name just a few. 

More info is on the press release which you can download here.


Living lockdown zine

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Sean McDonnell has turned his collection of photographs taken during lockdown around the streets of Ealing into a zine to raise money for Ealing Foodbank. 
 
The images document a moment in time when the world turned upside down. 
 
Adverts for holidays became a distant dream. TFL promoted riding bikes, not taking the tube. Supermarkets asked us if we really needed to buy more. People's garden walls became display shelves for belongings to give away. Chalk made a comeback for games. Everywhere social distance circles appeared on pavements. Some shops came back to life, others did not.
 

Travel

We'd set the theme at the start of the year for our July meeting as Travel. Like most things the context of that decision had now radically changed and, like a lot of things nowadays, it gave an opportunity to reconsider some fundamental assumptions.

Presentations and discussion

Frankie McAllister and Angelika Berndt led the session with two presentations on, respectively, the variations in the genre of travel photography as a consequence of the different perspective of the traveller/photographer and the ethics of representation with particular reference to photo tourism. Both accounts were full of personal insight, referring to their own practice and reflecting on the motivations for making work in environments and cultures outside the UK. 

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Frankie drew upon her experiences in the former Soviet republics to explore the subtle distinction of documenting staged events for tourists and of uncovering everyday situations. She skillfully highlighted the challenges of looking for meaning in these, what kind of authenticity they represent and the influence of cultural perspective

Angelika Berndt

The exchange that happens between photographer and photographed, who is in control of the situation and the outcomes for both parties, was a great introduction to Angelika's presentation. She highlighted the impact of photo tourism on the local culture and people using her own experience of a road trip across Northern Ethiopia. She discussed the dilemma often arising when photographing people in countries whose economy depends on tourism. Experienced in working with NGOs and indigenous peoples Angelika spoke of acknowledging an individual's circumstances, accepting photography has a price and engaging with people to represent their lives with integrity.

She then invited the group to reflect on these themes which developed into an interesting, informed discussion considering the practice of ethics within as well as outside the UK.

Individual work

Three members of the group Robin Segulem, Arun Misra and Ray Higginbottom then showed their own photographs. 

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Robin ingeniously presented his images as a travel quiz. One for future reference!

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Arun showed new work about the Gateway of India in Mumbai which echoed Jonny's recent work on monuments.

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We were also pleased to see a fascinating project from Ray using the tintype process.

Sean McDonnell


Making Strange

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Making Strange presentation to Ealing LIP group by Arun Misra and Fabrizio Quagliuso

Fabrizio and I gave a presentation on 1stJuly 2020 on the short lived but highly influential art and photography movement called Making Strange. Making Strange, which is also known as ‘De-familiarisation’ was situated within the broader context of the Russian Futurism movement at the beginning of the 20thCentury.

We talked about some of the really big early 20thC events and how these affected society, culture and art and that there seems to be a parallel with times we are living through now. The first 20 years of the last century saw World War 1, Russian Revolution, rise in fascism, recognition of women’s’ rights to equality, the beginning of the end of the British Empire, Spanish Flu, Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity that led to a fundamental change in our outlook of the Universe. The supposedly rational World order was broken and distrusted, and in culture there was a move away from Romantic ideals and beliefs towards new forms of artistic experimentation and expressions. 

New, anti-sense, irrational, reverential art movements came about including Dada, Futurism, Surrealism all of which foreshadowed modern arts such as abstract, expressionist and conceptual arts.

Out of all this, in Russia, grew Russian Futurism and Making Strange – a concept developed by Viktor Shklovsky. He expressed the idea of de-familiarisation as:  

Art exists to help us to recover the sensation of life, to make the stone, stony. The end of art is to give a sensation of the object as seen, not recognised. The technique of art is to make things ‘unfamiliar’, to make forms obscure, so as to increase the difficulty and the duration of perception. The act of perception in art is an end in itself and must be prolonged. In art, it is our experience of the process of construction that counts, not the finished product

Russian Futurismis not easily defined. It was an ideological umbrella that was intentionally flexible, accommodating diverse artists and practices. Russian futurists believed that Romantic ideas of pure vision and Karl Marx’s idea of false consciousness about the ways in which we see and represent the world could also help to change it and art had a role to play in this. Russian Futurists shared a passion for exploring new modes of expression in poetry, visual art, music, and performance. They wanted their art to help change and create a new and better society.

The concept of False Consciousness refers to the systematic mis-representation of dominant social relations in the consciousness of subordinate classes such as workers.  Subordinate classes, according to Marx, suffer from false consciousness in that their mental representations of the social structures and relations around them systematically conceal or obscure the realities of subordination, exploitation and domination by others. This belief led to a radically new emphasis on the ways in which culture legitimates particular forms of society, and may in turn be used to disclose and de-mystify them.

So as a group we adopted a working definition of Making Strange with which to experiment and create our own works. Making strange is the artistic technique of:

    • presenting common things
    • in an unfamiliar or strange way
    • in order to enhance perception of the familiar.

The group looked at works by leading Russian Futurist such as Velimir Khlebnikov (poet), Kazimir Malevich (Black Square), El Lissitzky (The Announcer), Aleksander Rodchenko (various paintings and photographs), and Natalia Goncharova (The Cyclist).

Russian Futurism and Making Strange had a powerful impact on the imagination of a generation of legendary European and American photographers. Amongst them Andre Kertez, Cartier-Bresson, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Man Ray and Franz Roh who experimented with new perspectives, angles, lighting and shadows to show their unique insights, and through de-familiarisation, ‘prolonged the duration of perception’.

Making Strange possessed an ideology that implied that social contradictions could be made immediately accessible to the eye, simply by means of visual surprise. This is now thought to have been flawed. But in the end Making Strange was assimilated into mainstream European photography giving rise to a new type of pictorialism.

As part of the session members contributed their photographs taken with making strange ideas in mind. Fabrizio presented a slideshow which led to a lively and exciting discussion and a strong feeling that we should continue with this kind of work. Everybody’s images were critiqued and the group provided interesting and varied feedback.

The group considered how we should take this forward and the consensus was that we should produce an exhibition or a Zine to reflect the strange times we are experiencing.

Please give your thoughts on how we could harness the energy and enthusiasm of the evening.

Arun Misra

Here are a few of the group's images that were shown:

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Arun Misra

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Dorita Boisot

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Fabrizio Quagliuso

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Frankie McAllister

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Richard Moseley

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Ali Moosavi

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Arun Misra


Workshops for July and August in Ealing

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Award winning photographer and Ealing LIP member Edward Terakopian is happy to announce a new project with OPEN Ealing. He’ll be doing a series of eight workshops over several weekends on various photographic and video topics. All bookings can be made via the links below.

THE TALK
The series starts with a talk about Edmond's career and how he has been documenting the COVID 19 lockdown. To see more details and book your spot, either for the limited seating (20 places) or online stream (200 places), see 31 Years Of Photography; Photojournalism and Beyond.

THE WORKSHOPS

Click on the links below to book for any of the workshops. They are in person with social distancing so are limited to 10 places for each.

PHOTOGRAPHY: A MARRIAGE OF THE TECHNICAL AND THE ARTISTIC. Sunday 12 July, 2020.
DAILY LIFE AND STREET PHOTOGRAPHY. Saturday 18 July, 2020.
TRAVEL AND LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY. Sunday July 19, 2020.
IMAGE EDITING AND PROCESSING. Saturday 25 July, 2020.
IPHONEOGRAPHY; PHOTOGRAPHY WITH SMARTPHONES. Sunday 26 July, 2020.
PHOTOJOURNALISM. Saturday 1 August, 2020.
SHOOTING VIDEO WITH MIRRORLESS CAMERAS AND DSLRS. Sunday 2 August, 2020.
STILL LIFE. Saturday 8 August, 2020.

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