Portrait

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. 
 
F2


[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.
 
Cleanforgood_1400-2

 

Cleanforgood_1400-9

[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.
 
 
BrightonWestPier
 
 
Roma_Incidental_
 
[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!
 

Infinitely more important is the looking!

Eggleston

There is a William Eggleston exhibition of people just started at the National Portrait Gallery (see here for a review). On Thursday evening several of us in the group had the privilege of going to hear a conversation with him about his work. The conversation was between Bill (if I may call him that), the curator of the show and Sean O Hagan, writer on photography for the Guardian and Observer (and clearly a fan).

William Eggleston was described by Sean O Hagan as the greatest living photographer. He is now quite frail in a wheelchair but whilst he took a while to respond to questions his wit was biting - it was both an informing and hilarious evening. The work looks amazing. I am sure you don't need me to tell you that Eggleston is celebrated for the way he embraced colour photography as an art form, both causing a huge reaction and controversy in his show in New York in 1976. He is not thought of in relation to portaiture so this is quite an original representation of his work I think.

What was entertaining about the interview was that a lot of the questions were leading Eggleston to explore deeper meanings in his work or photography in general but largely he was having none of it. So to give a couple of examples he was pressed whether Warhol had influenced his work - cue 10 second pause followed by "No!". Was his work symbolic - cue 10 second pause followed by "No!". Looking back on it was it symbolic - cue 10 second pause followed by "No!". Exploring the significance of his first moving image film looking for its significance he responded "We got practically nowhere". When hanging out with various celebraties whose pictures are in the exhibition, again looking for deep conversations he responded that with Joe Strummer "Don't know what we talked about - nothing important!". It really was laugh out loud funny, as well as a lesson for those conducting the conversation into perhaps asking a few more open rather than closed question. But there were a few threads that flowed much better such as when he was asked about his friendships. 

As a photographer he only takes one frame - he can't see the point of more; he doesn't take time to set up - it's not an issue; and he doesn't crop (another "no!" answer). As he reflected on travelling he suggested 

As one wanders round the world often one doesn't know the next place you're going to be. It's usually some kind of suprise, mostly of a happy kind.

And when asked about the writing on various photographs in the show it seemed to get to the heart of the matter. He said the photographs speak for themselves. If you look they say a lot. 

More than words it's the looking at the results that's important, not the writing or the talking. Infinitely more important is the looking!

So get yourself down there and do some looking!


Portraits

From time to time the group take on a challenge. The latest one was to pick names at random so that group members were put in pairs. The challenge was simply to come up with a portrait to bring back to the group. It was both a great way to get to know group members, stretching (especially if portraits is not particularly your area of experience), and good fun. Here is a selection of the results. From top to bottom they are:

  • Angelika by Marie
  • Chris by Fabrizio
  • Dorota by Ray
  • Fabrizio by Chris
  • Marie by Angelika
  • Jonny by Mel
  • Mel by Jonny
  •  Ray by Dorota
  • Angelika
    Angelika
    Angelika
    Angelika
    Angelika
    Angelika
    Angelika
    Angelika