Photography

The Troubles and Dividing Lines

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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


A night walk through the City of London

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. 

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[Office buildings by Jonny Baker]

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[A night bus by Sean McDonnell]

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[City Lights by Richard Baker]

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[We’re back baby by Frankie McAllister]

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[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


The wheel of ruses

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!

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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...

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["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.]

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[Inspired by the trickster theme Jonny Baker showed a few of thresholds and doorways]

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[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]

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[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]

Lockdown

[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.]

 


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.