RPS The Decisive Moment - Edition 16 - June 2019

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THE DECISIVE MOMENT

Quarterly journal from the Documentary Group

June 2019 Edition 16 Photo: Liz Johnson Artur


Contents 4

Winner of the April 2019 Bi-Monthly Competition

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A Word From Our Chair

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Meet the Documentary Group Team

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Documentary Photographer of the Year 2019

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Interview - Dewi Lewis HonFRPS

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Small Town Inertia - J A Mortram

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Martin Parr Foundation

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Liz Johnson Artur

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Documenting the Everyday - Photobook Workshop

66 Events 68

Falmouth University MA Photography Final Major Projects

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Daniel Simon - Off Season

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Alexandra Prescott - Trophies

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Andrew Barrow - Wines Doors of Florence

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RPS Documentary Group - Photo Scratch

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Members’ Images

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Glyn Powell-Evans - Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside

102 Jo Haycock - Families Resetting 112 Richard Coulstock - Elderly in Singapore 120 Photography Projects 2


Dewi Lewis HonFRPS interview p12 (photo: Caroline Warhurst)

J A Mortram’s ‘Small Town Inertia’ p28

‘If you know the beginning, the end is no trouble’ - Liz Johnson Artur p46

The RPS East Midlands Region ran a Photobook Workshop in May ‘Documenting the Everyday’ p56

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Bi-Monthly Competition Winner

Winner of the April 2019 Bi-Monthly Competition

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Bi-Monthly Competition Winner

There were 26 entries for the second bi-monthly competition of 2019. As always we received the diverse range of images from across the group, so please keep entering your images. All submitted images can be seen in the Documentary Group gallery.

The winning image was ‘Families Resetting’ by Jo Haycock Families Resetting is a personal project I started earlier this year. It is an ongoing project exploring families that have been thrown a curveball in life, that have overcome and have made life changes showing hope and resilience. You can see more images from the project in the Members’ Images section of this edition of The Decisive Moment.

The third bi-monthly competition of 2019 closed on 30 June. The next deadline is 31 August 2019 for images taken during June, July and August. Winning images will appear in the September edition of The Decisive Moment. The competition asks members to include a little background to the image, providing some context. Please send your submissions to: dgcompetitions@rps.org Full details of how to enter are available on the RPS website: DG Bi-Monthly Competition.

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A Word From Our Chair Welcome to another edition of The Decisive Moment. Our focus this month is on ‘photobooks’ and education. For the documentary photographer, publication of the project as a photobook or a zine, is an often-used approach. There are now plenty of tools to enable us to self-publish or produce one-off books. Many of you will have used services such as Blurb, Bobsbooks, and Photobox for self-publishing. Rather than focus on the technology, in this issue we explore some wider considerations. Photobooks are also an important source of information and visual approaches used by other photographers. I like to think of photobooks as an important part of any photographer’s education, like novelists and authors, if you have never read, it’s hard to write a good book. Exploring photobooks shows how the topic may have been addressed before and can provide insights into sequencing and design. We plan to revisit photobooks over the next few issues and begin with a short list of books that have been found to be useful sources. Over the next few issues we plan to add to this list and include some reviews, so developing a ‘bibliography’ of sources. We have an interview with one of the top UK-based publishers, Dewi Lewis, who has published books by Homer Sykes, William Klein, Martin Parr, Simon Norfolk, Fay Godwin, Tom Wood, Sergio Larrain, John Blakemore, Simon Roberts, Dougie Wallace and Bruce Gilden among others. Although focussed on the challenges of commercial publishing, it provides many insights that will be useful to anyone thinking of making a photobook. We also delve into the Martin Parr library. Built up over 25 years, Parr’s world-renowned collection of over 12,000 photobooks is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest in the world.  In 2017, he sold this to the Tate. The sale funded the creation of the Martin Parr Foundation (right opposite the RPS HQ in Bristol) and the start of a new collection of photobooks. I recently used his library as a research resource for one of my own projects.

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As well as regional events, we have now opened our Documentary Photographer of the Year competition (DPOTY 2019), which is free to enter, and we hope to be able to exhibit around the country in late 2019 and through 2020. We also worked with Photo Scratch on their first event outside London, which was held in RPS HQ in Bristol, and the feedback was really positive. This is a new venture aimed at providing more support for serious long-form documentary photographers. We hope to be able to put on a range of events like this looking at project development, editing and sequencing, and maybe something about pitching to editors and publishers, over the next few issues. Many of you will be heading off for the summer. Once again, I am heading to Arles for the Rencontres de la Photographie. Whatever you do and wherever you go, have an enjoyable summer and hopefully get a few good pictures.

Mark A Phillips ARPS Chair, Documentary Group

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Meet the Documentary Group Team Documentary Group Committee: Chair:

Mark A Phillips ARPS

doc@rps.org

Secretary:

David Barnes LRPS

docsecretary@rps.org

Treasurer:

Justin Cliffe ARPS

doctreasurer@rps.org

Members:

Steven Powell

Harry Hall FRPS Dave Thorp Sub-Group Organisers: East Midlands:

Howard Fisher LRPS

docem@rps.org

South East:

Jeff Owen LRPS

docse@rps.org

Northern:

Peter Dixon ARPS

docnorthern@rps.org

Southern:

Volunteer Required

docsouthern@rps.org

Thames Valley:

Philip Joyce ARPS

doctv@rps.org

East Anglia:

Volunteer Required

docea@rps.org

York:

Graham Evans LRPS

docyork@rps.org

The Decisive Moment: Editor: Dave Thorp decisive@rps.org Sub-Editors:

Dr Graham Wilson

Lyn Newton LRPS Editorial:

Steven Powell

Ryan Hardman LRPS And the rest of the team: Bi-Monthly Competition Manager: Steven Powell dgcompetitions@rps.org

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Social Media:

Steven Powell

Flickr:

Chris Barbara ARPS

docweb@rps.org


The Art of Pain - Lorraine Poole LRPS

In the Next Edition In the next edition of The Decisive Moment we will include articles on a range of topics related to learning and education about photography. If you have an idea for an article you would like to read, a feature you could write or a have a photography project related to these topics please get in touch. Assistance to work with contributors to turn our ideas into articles ready for the sub-editors is always welcome. Every edition of the journal features images from members of the Documentary Group, either finished work or projects in progress. We are always pleased to see new work so why not drop me a line and show what you’ve got? decisive@rps.org

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DPOTY 2019

Call For Entries Documentary Photographer of the Year 2019 Open to all RPS Members www.rpsdpoty.com 10

Contact: dpoty@rps.org


DPOTY 2019

David Fletcher LRPS (DPOTY 2017 Winner)

Want to put your documentary skills to the test? The 2019 RPS Documentary Photographer of the Year competition is open for submissions until the end of July. At its most literal, all photography is documentary in that it documents something, someone or somewhere. The competition has been running since 2012 and provides an opportunity to showcase documentary work and storytelling by members. There is no theme or topic, so the choice of subject matter is yours. To simplify the process, we have made a few changes this year. We are looking for documentary projects consisting of 5 to 6 images (monochrome or colour). The judges will be looking for work that is representative of the subject matter and displays a strong visual narrative. The competition is free to enter, and it is open to all members of The Royal Photographic Society. The closing date is 31 July 2019 and the shortlisted finalists will be informed by October. The finalists and the overall winner will be announced at a subsequent Documentary Group social event. The first prize is a day with Simon Roberts HonFRPS, the acclaimed British artist-photographer who has published and exhibited widely, and has photographs in major public and private collections, including the George Eastman House, Deutsche Bรถrse Art Collection and V&A Collection. All entries will be submitted via the creativehub at theprintspace, who will print and mount the shortlisted and winning images for the Documentary Photographer of the Year touring exhibition. 11


Interview - Dewi Lewis HonFRPS

Dewi Lewis HonFRPS Interview by Mark A Phillips ARPS Dewi Lewis Publishing is a partnership owned and run by Caroline Warhurst and Dewi Lewis. Founded in 1994, its photography list has an international reputation and has included books by leading British and international photographers such as Laia Abril, William Klein, Martin Parr, Simon Norfolk, Fay Godwin, Tom Wood, Sergio Larrain, Frank Horvat, John Blakemore, Paolo Pellegrin, Simon Roberts and Bruce Gilden. The aim of the company is to bring to the attention of a wider public, accessible but challenging contemporary photography by both established and lesser known practitioners. The company has a worldwide distribution network and is recognised as one of the leading photographic publishers in the world. It publishes around 20 new titles each year. Dewi Lewis Publishing also works in close collaboration with a number of European publishers and was a founding member of The European Publishers Award for Photography, which ran from 1994 to 2016. In 2014 Dewi Lewis Publishing received the PHotoESPAĂ‘A prize for Outstanding Publishing House of the Year. Dewi Lewis was appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in 2004 and in November 2009 he was awarded the inaugural Royal Photographic Society Award for Outstanding Services to Photography.

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Interview - Dewi Lewis HonFRPS

Dewi Lewis HonFRPS - photo Caroline Warhurst 13


Interview - Dewi Lewis HonFRPS

When did you first get interested in photography? And in photobooks? I became interested in photography relatively late on. My first interest was in theatre and music, and early jobs included working for the Edinburgh Fringe and setting up a performance based Arts Centre in North Manchester. But I became increasingly interested in the visual image side, partly through theatre and partly through music. By the 1970s both were starting to incorporate more visual elements, particularly with people like Bowie and others, and that sparked some interest. Caroline’s family were also an influence. Her father and her grandfather before him, were both press photographers at The Times. That introduced me to photojournalism. So I started to get more interested in photography. The move into photobooks started much later. In 1982 I had begun work on setting up an Arts Centre in Manchester, Cornerhouse, which focused solely on visual arts and film. We opened in 1985 with three cinemas and about 6000 square feet of gallery space over three floors. It was there that my interactions with photography grew. From discussions with photographers it struck me there was a real issue that photobooks were not being produced in the UK. That was the start.

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Interview - Dewi Lewis HonFRPS

What made you decide to start your own photobook publishing? Why do you see them as important? My own publishing started later, but my involvement with publishing began at Cornerhouse where I was Director. Working with me were exhibitors and film programmers but whilst I was involved, I was no longer directly programming – something which I had always done previously. I began to explore the possibilities of publishing and in 1987 we decided to go ahead. It gave me an avenue for continuing to programme, whilst still running the organisation. We set up Cornerhouse Publications which I ran for the next 7 years until 1994. At Cornerhouse, we brought back The Americans (Robert Frank) which had been out of print in the UK for an extremely long time and we worked with Martin Parr and Paul Graham. We also did the first Elliott Erwitt Dogs book in partnership with a Japanese publisher – a great project, but we didn’t sell it properly and so it failed commercially. The very first book I did at Cornerhouse was John Davies’ A Green and Pleasant Land. I continued as Director of Cornerhouse but increasingly felt that I wanted to focus solely on publishing.

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Interview - Dewi Lewis HonFRPS

How have photobooks evolved since you first started? Massively. When we first started there were very few photobooks being produced. In the UK, apart from Cornerhouse, there was really only Thames and Hudson and Focal Press for more technical books, and in the USA, there was Aperture and some university presses. It was very hard for a photographer to get published. It was also expensive and technically difficult as repro costs were very high. It probably cost us more to produce a book then, than it does now, in real terms. It wouldn’t be unusual for 1,500 copies of a book to cost £15,000 to £20,000 in the late 80s and early 90s. Interestingly, retail prices then were often around £25 to £30 – not so different from today. The key changes have been due to technology: items such as bindings have become more complex, and books are far more object based and multi-layered. Before, books were all about content, the images and the edit, and were presented in a straightforward way. Now different layers can be added to them. Originally the need was to have work seen. That has now changed and there are far more opportunities to exhibit, more magazines, and of course the internet. There are other ways for people to see your images which weren’t available back then. It seems every photographer wants to publish; do you think this diminishes the medium? It is problematic. I see a long term value in books. When I’ve given workshops over the years, one of the things I often say is that in 100 years’ time your great-grandchildren could ask to see your book in the British Library. Wouldn’t you want them to be proud of what you’d created? So, make sure it is a good book. It’s about legacy. It’s not about the next six months. Technology makes it much easier and cheaper to produce things today. In some ways this is a golden age of photobooks. There are certainly an awful lot of them out there now, many self-published. But affluence is a big factor, and in my view, it skews what is produced. If you have money you have a real advantage, you can keep producing, you can create books every year. But until you are established, or have a really extraordinary project, you are going to have to find funding for a fair amount of the costs. So, it is less democratic; access to money can aid you in establishing your access to the photo world.

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Interview - Dewi Lewis HonFRPS

On the press with Dougie Wallace

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Interview - Dewi Lewis HonFRPS

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Interview - Dewi Lewis HonFRPS

There are many books produced each year, do you have any particular favourites (other than your own, of course)? Or from the last year? Or is there a book, you wish you’d published? One recent book by an Indian photographer springs to mind… Soham Gupta’s Angst, (published by Akina Books). It explores people on the margins of society, at night, in India. It is definitely a book I would have been happy to publish. Do you collect many books yourself? I do buy quite a few books. But I don’t really collect them, I buy those that interest me in terms of design or more often, the content. If someone is thinking about creating a photobook, what is the most important questions they should ask themselves? One thing they should never say is “everyone says it should be a book”. My only plea is about a true self-awareness. They need to understand whether there is anything special about the work and if there really is an audience for it. So, they need to be quite self-critical, and ask themselves questions: Why a book? What format? What is it trying to say? Who is it for? As an example, I’ve seen marketing proposals talking about large audiences but often they are horrendously vague and make sweeping and unsustainable assumptions. What should they be asking a publisher? First of all, they need to be clear on project funding. What is the basis on which they want to work with a publisher? Be very up front and ask what the commercial basis is. They also need to do some homework on the publisher and their business model, and where their incentive is. The publisher must want to get the book out to an audience and not simply to get paid for producing it. But it is also important to understand that even if the photographer does cover all the print costs, there are other costs for a publisher. Printing might cost £10,000, but then you need to consider that they will spend a further £2,000 or so for press, promotion, sending out press copies etc. And this doesn’t even account for staff time. Ultimately, though, the relationship is the most important thing. Can you work with them and do they really believe in the work? 19


Interview - Dewi Lewis HonFRPS

What is the value of using a publisher versus, say, self-publishing? It is very much personality based. So, if you are the sort of photographer who can really go out and push, and talk to potential customers, and do the selling, you can probably do as well as a publisher in terms of selling the book. If you are the type who is not defeated when rejected, time and time again, you can probably do at least as well. With a distributor you have the advantage of broader distribution. But a strong individual can often do it better, because it is their baby. However involved publishers are, they are not engaged in the same way as the photographer. We, as publishers, have better access, and it’s less hard work for the photographer – but someone who is determined can also do it. But before they start, they need to ask themselves some hard questions: Why do it? To do it properly is going to take six months of their lives, more or less full-time, certainly something like 20 to 30 hours per week, just focused on that project. Always remember that publishers and galleries have several projects running at a time, so they are under continual pressure from other projects. So, even if you use a publisher, do not sit back and leave it all to them. You need to be involved, fully engaged and moving it forward. Someone like Homer Sykes is a good example: Homer is always online, on Facebook, and he is actively involved in selling at events and book signings. What should someone have in terms of material and content before approaching a publisher? They need to have a completed project, in terms of the images. There are no publishers I know who are going to commission photobooks. So you need it to be finished, though of course, after talking to the publisher, you might identify that a few more images are needed. But you have to start by feeling it is complete, that it is finished work. The text is less important. You also need to sequence the work so that it tells the story that you want it to. You could give me 100 or 200 images and I could do an edit, but then it is ‘my book’, ‘my story’, but using your images. You need it to be your story; the story you want to tell.

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Interview - Dewi Lewis HonFRPS

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Interview - Dewi Lewis HonFRPS

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Interview - Dewi Lewis HonFRPS

On the press with John Blakemore HonFRPS 23


Interview - Dewi Lewis HonFRPS

Do you do the edit and design, or do you involve others? There are some projects that will come along that are pretty close in terms of the sequence. But the role of an editor is to challenge the photographer, to ask: Why is that image included? Why is this image next? Why is it a good image? The photographer will bring all sorts of other things with them: their own memories, they will remember the day, and how they felt. They often think that what they want to say is apparent and it is being transferred through the image. But sometimes it isn’t. In practical terms we design around 90-95 per cent of the books we publish. There are a few photographers with graphic design experience who come with a clear design or have worked closely with a designer. There is often a need to bring the artwork up to print quality, which is more on the technical side. I do most of the design work myself; something that goes right back to my early involvement in the arts and the need to produce posters and leaflets for events – the days of working with Letraset. And to later experimentation, at Cornerhouse, with computers and the emerging page layout software of the time. I’m not formally trained but have learned through many years of experience.

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Interview - Dewi Lewis HonFRPS

Most professional books these days seem to need a grant or Kickstarter campaign with them, any advice on conducting such a campaign? Yes, Kickstarter is important these days. There are some straightforward things about using Kickstarter, a key one is not to be too greedy. On Kickstarter, £10,000 is still quite a high target. So, if there is any way you can try and find some of the funding, say £3,000, so that you only ask for £7,000, it’s worth it. When you launch the campaign, you have to have money coming in early on and you then need to have a couple of people who are there to put small amounts in, if it flags, to nudge it along. You also need an exit plan, if the money doesn’t come in. So, if your target is £8,000 but you are stuck on £7,000, you need to know what you are going to do to complete it. You need someone to come in – often they will need to buy the more expensive of the rewards. So, you need a campaign with rewards at different levels, and some high-end ones. With Kickstarter, the campaign is a set period. You need to complete the fundraising in that time, or it won’t happen. There is also a Kickstarter campaign psychology. If something is moving too slowly early on then it can cast doubt on whether it will actually happen, and that can discourage others. 25


Interview - Dewi Lewis HonFRPS

What is the typical time from agreeing to publish to actually having books to sell? There is no typical time, really. It is more to do with the photographer and their focus and planning. For us, realistically, 6 months is generally possible. Many larger publishers work at least 12 months in advance. If, for example, you plan to sell through Waterstones then you often need a 9-month lead time, at which point they’ll want to see the cover design and know the price. Trade publishers generally work on a 12 month timeline, though with our distributors we can work with less notice, sometimes a few months. You work with new artists and also big names, like Martin Parr? What are the differences? Does it present different challenges? Martin Parr is usually pretty relaxed about ‘process’, he has done so many books over the years. He still wants control, but you don’t get the moments of panic, which you might from a first-time photographer. Part of the problem is not about experience but about personality. Some can be very led by opinion; they might get conflicting feedback and ideas, and this can lead to indecision and uncertainty. With many of the photographers with whom we’ve done a few books there is a level of trust on decisions: we recommend something such as paper, book size etc and they will generally accept the advice. Where do you see photobooks going in the next few years? Are there trends? Or fashions? Or new challenges? There are some trends, but things do change quite regularly. Trends can be relatively short lived. As you say, there are many books at the moment with just text on the cover and often not even the photographer’s name. To put it rather simplistically, what is important for us is that it does what it says on the tin. There has to be a reason why someone will stop and open the book. Normally it is a cover image or the photographer’s name. Imagine Martin Parr’s The Last Resort, but without an image or his name. Far fewer people would pick it up. But it does depend on where you are selling. If it’s on-line or in specialist photobook shops then it is less of an issue, but with mainstream bookshops it is. In these shops there are so many other books vying for your attention. Intrigue doesn’t do it, because people tend to respond to things that are familiar.

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Interview - Dewi Lewis HonFRPS

On the press with Mimi Mollica

Dewi Lewis Publications is currently celebrating 25 years as photobook publishers. Their website and on-line bookshop can be found at: www.dewilewis.com

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Small Town Inertia - J A Mortram

Small Town Inertia J A Mortram Jim Mortram lives near Dereham, a small town in Norfolk. Dereham is no different from thousands of other communities throughout Britain, where increasing numbers of people struggle to survive at a time of welfare cuts and failing health services. For over many years, Jim has been photographing the lives of people in his community who, through physical and mental problems and a failing social security system, face isolation and loneliness in their daily lives. His work covers difficult subjects such as disability, addiction and self-harm, but is always with hope and dignity, focusing upon the strength and resilience of the people he photographs. Small Town Inertia is a remarkable body of work. A full-time carer for his mother, Jim is, like his subjects, unable to escape from the geographical confines of his hometown and his understanding and sympathy for his struggling neighbours is apparent in every photograph. A firm rebuttal of damaging government welfare policies and their well-used rhetoric that ‘we are all in this together’. The work is published by Bluecoat Press, who specialise in publishing the work of British photojournalists and social documentary photographers including John Bulmer, Peter Dench, Bert Hardy, Tish Murtha, Paul Trevor and Patrick Ward. The book can be ordered online at bluecoatpress.co.uk. The project can be found online at smalltowninertia.co.uk and jamortram.co.uk and on Twitter by following @JAMortram and #smalltowninertia.

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Small Town Inertia - J A Mortram

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Small Town Inertia - J A Mortram

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Small Town Inertia - J A Mortram

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Small Town Inertia - J A Mortram

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Small Town Inertia - J A Mortram

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Small Town Inertia - J A Mortram

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Small Town Inertia - J A Mortram

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Small Town Inertia - J A Mortram

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Small Town Inertia - J A Mortram

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Small Town Inertia - J A Mortram

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Small Town Inertia - J A Mortram

Small Town Inertia is currently being exhibited at The Workers Gallery, Ynyshir, Wales until 27 July (www.workersgallery.co.uk). One of the significant things for this show is that all of the testimonies have been translated by Catrin Parri into Welsh (Cymraeg) for the first time. Jim Mortram discussed his work with Paul Cabuts at the launch of the exhibition and the talk is available on the Ffoton Wales website. There is a real desire for the exhibition to make a difference. The Workers Gallery is a donations collection point for the Rhondda Foodbank and actively fundraise to support them. The work has inspired a range of events to coincide with the exhibition including a community photography day and a special edition of the monthly WAM (Words, Art, Music) event. Images from the photography day can be found on Twitter/Instagram tagged with #smalltowninertia and #ynyshirphotos.

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Martin Parr Foundation

Martin Parr Foundation While I was at the RPS Headquarters for the Documentary Group Photo Scratch event I popped next door to visit the Martin Parr Foundation (MPF). Established in 2014, the foundation supports and preserves the legacy of photographers who made, and continue to make, important work focused on the British Isles. The premises at Bristol’s Paintworks opened in 2017, supporting the foundation’s three main aims: to preserve the archive and legacy of Martin Parr; to hold a growing collection of works by selected British and Irish photographers, as well as images taken in the British Isles by international photographers; to house an expanding library of British and Irish photobooks. As well as renowned photographers, the MPF also highlights contemporaries of Martin Parr that haven’t received the recognition they deserve. The MPF increasingly supports emerging photographers through exhibitions, acquiring or commissioning work and by use of the foundation’s resources. The gallery hosts around five exhibitions a year, all of them free, featuring photographs by contemporary British and Irish photographers as well as works from the collection. Past exhibitions have included Martin Parr’s Black Country Stories, Niall McDiarmid’s Town to Town and work by Paul Trevor and Document Scotland. Each year the gallery space hosts a show by MA photography students from the University of West England, just one of the ways the MPF tries to support emerging photographers. Earlier in 2019 MPF exhibited work by Clémentine Schneidermann and Charlotte James from their project ‘It’s Called Ffasiwn’, which was made in collaboration with children of the South Wales Valleys. To coincide with the exhibition, MPF and Bleak & Fabulous produced ‘Ffasiwn Magazine’ featuring work from the project, allowing it to reach a wider audience. MPF’s involvement in publishing continues with the current exhibition, Ian Weldon’s ‘I Am Not A Wedding Photographer’. The exhibition runs until 10 August 2019 with a photobook of the same name, produced by Bristol’s RRB Photobooks and MPF, presenting highlights from the show. Photobooks are one of the most important ways that photographers present and disseminate their work to a wider international audience. They also serve as a valuable resource for research, informing the approach to the topics that consume photographers, with threads of influence running through time and around the world. 42


Martin Parr Foundation

‘Ffasiwn Magazine’ by Clémentine Schneidermann and Charlotte James, 2018 © Martin Parr Foundation

Untitled, from ‘I Am Not A Wedding Photographer’ © Ian Weldon 43


Martin Parr Foundation

Martin Parr Foundation Launch event, panel discussion on Photography’s role in 21st Century Britain. From left to right; Martin Parr, Frances Morris, Val Williams, Brett Rogers, Susanna Brown. 2017 © Martin Parr Foundation

The Foundation houses Martin Parr’s archive spanning 45 years, together with the works of selected British and Irish photographers and images taken in the British Isles by international photographers. The library includes 5000 books by both British and Irish photographers as well as complete back catalogues of important publications, such as Creative Camera and Camera Work, for educational and research purposes. The library is open one day a week for MPF members, with help on hand to guide visitors through the collection of photobooks. Isaac Blease has been working as the catalogue manager for a few months; working his way through the collection to record cover photos and add keywords for subject, dates, medium, publisher etc. The resulting catalogue will be available at the foundation to help pinpoint library searches. There is also a selection from the catalogue on the Martin Parr Foundation website which is updated regularly with selected publications, objects, and prints from the collection. Isaac took me through the collection of books picking out a range of publications, some familiar, others not so, to show points of interest and trace the threads through the shelves. I can’t reproduce the experience here, but the conversation covered: Roger Mayne’s inclusion in ‘Uppercase 5’ a design publication by Theo Crosby from the 50s and 60’s; Tony Ray-Jones’ ‘A Day Off’ with images capturing the quirks of British culture that have influenced Martin Parr and many others; Humphrey Spender’s unique view of the thirties - ‘Worktown 44


Martin Parr Foundation

People’; and then ‘Strange and Familiar’, the book that accompanied the 2016 Barbican exhibition curated by Martin Parr that explored how international photographers captured the social, cultural & political identity of the UK. A section of the library has a growing collection of books by international artists such as Susan Meiselas and Markéta Luskačová that expand on this idea. The MPF hosts an extensive programme of artist talks, screenings, and workshops throughout the year. Many of the talks are free and all are recorded for the archive, providing an opportunity to learn about photography that is hard to beat. Part of the archive is available on the MPF website, including book dummies for Richard Billingham’s ‘Ray’s a Laugh’ and Chris Killip’s ‘In Flagrante’. There is also a growing series of recordings of artists in conversation with Martin Parr; to date Vinca Petersen, Bruce Gilden, Siân Davey and Jem Southam have all contributed to the ‘Sofa Sessions’ series. Further information on the Martin Parr Foundation can be found online at www.martinparrfoundation.org, with the latest information on events via the MPF twitter and instagram accounts. Many thanks to Isaac Blease and Jon McCall for hosting my visit and everyone else at MPF for the warm welcome. Dave Thorp

Screenshot from Martin Parr in conversation with Bruce Gilden for the MPF Sofa Session series. 2018 © Alex Parkyn-Smith / Martin Parr Foundation

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Liz Johnson Artur

Liz Johnson Artur If You Know The Beginning, The End Is No Trouble Liz Johnson Artur lives and works in London, and has taken photographs across Europe, America, Africa and the Caribbean for more than three decades. She calls this ongoing project the Black Balloon Archive, alluding to a 1970 song lyric by Syl Johnson that describes a black balloon ‘dancing’ in the sky, which is how Liz imagines her own movement when taking photographs. She has exhibited internationally, including group exhibitions at Serpentine Galleries, London; David Nolan Gallery, New York; The Photographers’ Gallery, London; Kunstverein Leipzig; the 10th Berlin Biennale. Her monograph with Bierke Verlag was listed by The New York Times in ‘Best Photo Books 2016’, and in 2017 she was nominated for the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize. Artur’s exhibition at the South London Gallery runs from 14 June – 1 September 2019 and follows her first museum show at the Brooklyn Museum, New York. A Russian-Ghanaian herself, for her first solo show in the UK, Liz presents a new body of work alongside photographs selected from her substantial archive of images documenting the lives of people from the African diaspora. The show focuses on London, where she has lived since 1991, and captures the richness and complexity of Black British life. She explains: ‘What I do is people, but it’s those people who are my neighbours, and it’s those people who I don’t see represented anywhere.’

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Liz Johnson Artur

Liz Johnson Artur, Burgess Park, 2010

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Liz Johnson Artur

Artur transforms the high-ceilinged Main Gallery with a series of four hanging and floor-based bamboo cane structures. Each hosts a body of images taken across the city, including in Peckham Rye, blackmajority churches, non-binary club nights as well as a still life section she calls “Library”. These images are printed at various sizes, using both traditional photographic techniques onto paper as well as application to fabric, tracing paper and cardboard. The structures act as a flexible backdrop for an integrated programme of events, in which Liz will invite artists working across music, poetry, dance and theatre to create intergenerational collaboration, performance and discussion. You can see more of Liz Johnson Artur’s work and current exhibitions at the following links: www.lizjohnsonartur.co.uk www.bierke.de/liz-johnson-artur www.southlondongallery.org/exhibitions/liz-johnson-artur www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/johnson_artur

Liz Johnson Artur, Ethiopian wedding, 2009

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Liz Johnson Artur

Liz Johnson Artur, Nigerian Party, 1995

Liz Johnson Artur, Nigerian Party 2, 1995

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Liz Johnson Artur

Liz Johnson Artur, Brixton, 2010

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Liz Johnson Artur

Liz Johnson Artur, Peckham, 2009

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Liz Johnson Artur

Liz Johnson Artur, Under 18s Rave, East London, 2003

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Liz Johnson Artur

Liz Johnson Artur, Larry B, 2019

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Liz Johnson Artur

Installation view of Liz Johnson Artur: If you know the beginning, the end is no trouble at the South London Gallery, 2019. Photo: Andy St

Opposite page Top: Liz Johnson Artur, Women’s Corner, 2019. Middle: Liz Johnson Artur, Community, 2019. Bottom: Liz Johnson Artur, Women’s Corner, 2019 (detail). Installation views at the South London Gallery, 2019. Photos: Andy Stagg 54


Liz Johnson Artur

tagg

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East Midlands Region - Photobook Workshop

Documenting the Everyday Stewart Wall ARPS East Midlands Regional Organiser Photography is such an interesting pursuit, and how we all engage with it is so varied; for me, to see how different people photograph the same thing holds a lot of interest. In 2015, having been a professional photojournalist since 1978, I decided to study for a degree at a local college, and I also joined the committee of the East Midlands Region. I began organising book events where the photographers each photographed the same event on the same day, and wrote a few words that described their photographs. Then, with the help of my wife Shona (a print production journalist), we produced photobooks to show the different approaches as a guide to photographic awareness and development. The first event in 2015 was in Sheffield where we photographed the 1960s social housing flats on Park Hill, known as Streets in the Sky because of the 12ft wide aerial runways which provided cover throughout the five blocks so children could play out in poor weather and the milkmen could drive around deliver milk to all the 1,000 flats spread over the 13 floors. We stuck to the principle of shooting on the same day. The photographers had one week to send me their images before Shona and I produced the book, with the first copies printed within two weeks. Not that it was the purpose of the project, but after Tom Bloxham of Urban Splash, the company that is renovating the flats, showed interest in the book on his blog people from all over the world ordered copies, from Australia, Dubai, Finland, America and others. I developed an interest in Park Hill and during the degree studies looked at Le Corbusier and brutalist architecture, something the designers of the flats had been inspired by. This had led to their use of reinforced concrete which allowed them to include more windows.

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East Midlands Region - Photobook Workshop

After Sheffield, the region photographed the Milk Race around Nottingham City Centre and the Nottingham Goose Fair. We were also asked to photograph a village event but the organisers began to ask us to make sure we got certain shots and that is not what these projects are about. We covered the event and made a book, but I insisted that the photographers be in charge of what they photographed and how they approached it, since for me that is the whole idea. I want to see how different photographic perspectives of the same thing, photographed at the same time, evolve. I think this interest in seeing how different people work goes back to when I was a young press photographer in the 1980s and I would often find myself in a ‘press pack’ pointing my camera at the same thing as everyone else, but rarely would two identical shots be taken. Of course, a photograph is taken in a fraction of a second, sliced from a timeline of events we all share, so what makes these differences? I tend to lean towards Barthe’s ideas about photography, where he suggests a photograph is also dependant on what experiences the photographer has had, and that the way a photograph is perceived also depends on the experiences of the viewer. This opens a large debate on how ‘real’ documentary photography is. Is a document real or is it simply one person’s view of what reality is?

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East Midlands Region - Photobook Workshop

Moving forwards to 2019, a number of members approached me and asked if we could start planning the books together. So, in May this year, we ran another event, this time restricting the image taking to a couple of hours in the morning, followed by an afternoon of looking and discussing each other’s photographs, and then to begin planning the book and talking about possible printers. We also decided to photograph on our doorstep, in Whatton where we hold our regional meetings, which is especially quiet on a Sunday which is the day we meet. When I look at everyone’s images there are very few people in them, with only one photographer, Sue Hutton, making contact with a local. I wonder what this says about how the RPS members view Whatton - the village we have been visiting for three years now. As I write this, the design of the book is complete and it is being printed. In October, we are planning a meeting where the photographers will be on hand to talk about the experience and show the book for the first time. At the same event, the Magnum photographer Ian Berry will be giving a talk in the morning about how he approaches documentary projects. In this article there is one image from each photographer, whereas in the book there are five and a few words from each. The photographers involved in the book, in alphabetical order, are: Malcolm Brown ARPS who went for a walk through the village. Stuart Downes who looked at romantic views of past labours. Howard Fisher MA LRPS CPAGB who went for a two hour stroll. Robert Herringshaw ARPS who took an ‘uncommon’ gaze. Sue Hutton ARPS who met Wendy. John Marris LRPS who shot a reflection of his first foray. Mervyn Mitchell MA ARPS who considered the splendour and richness. Mike Poole LRPS who looked for the older bones of the body of Whatton. Peter Rowarth ARPS who captured the leaves of the trees. Colin Smith who considered the survival of living organisms. John Smith who considered the activities of the cricket ground. Stewart Wall MA ARPS who captured the beauty of the trees that had a hidden, dark personal reminder for him. www.beyondthestreet.net 58


East Midlands Region - Photobook Workshop

The EM Team

An early start for the photographers

Colin Smith and his unusual lens

After a quick 2 hour photowalk

The Whatton Village Hall Plaque

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East Midlands Region - Photobook Workshop

John Smith

Mike Poole LRPS

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East Midlands Region - Photobook Workshop

Colin Smith

Peter Rowarth ARPS

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East Midlands Region - Photobook Workshop

John Marris LRPS

Howard Fisher MA LRPS CPAGB

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East Midlands Region - Photobook Workshop

Stuart Downes

Sue Hutton ARPS

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East Midlands Region - Photobook Workshop

Robert Herringshaw ARPS

Malcolm Brown ARPS

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East Midlands Region - Photobook Workshop

Stewart Wall MA ARPS

Mervyn Mitchell MA ARPS

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Events 05 July 2019

Throughout July 2019

Street Photography - Spitalfields Market

RPS 100 Heroines - Representation on the Line II: (Un)framing our Identities

This workshop is ideal if you want to explore street photography in any form, get inspired, learn appropriate techniques and spend time in London shooting and practicing these new found skills.

19 Mallord St, London SW3 6AP.

rps.org/events/2019/july/05/streetphotography-spitalfieldsmarket-050719 12 July 2019 York sub-group meeting Regular group meeting. rps.org/events/2019/july/12/yorkdocumentary--group-meeting 13 July 2019 East Anglia sub-group meeting Street photography and group meeting, Norwich. rps.org/events/2019/july/13/ documentary-east-anglia-meeting---13july---norwich 18 July 2019 Northern sub-group meeting Bi-monthly meeting.

www.rps100heroines.org/social-mediawall 05 July - 04 September 2019 International Photography Exhibition IPE 161 – Dublin Presenting 100 beautiful, strong and accomplished images by 54 contemporary photographers including winners Catherine Hyland (Gold Award), Christopher Bethell (under 30’s Gold Award), Alys Tomlinson (Silver Award) and Oli Kellett (Bronze Award). rps.org/events/2019/july/05/rps-ipe161---international-photographyexhibition--dublin 12 August - 12 September 2019 Exhibition of RPS London Street Photography RPS London Region invited regular Members of the Street Group to take part in an Exhibition of Street photography. This is Phase 3, the Exhibition! rps.org/events/2019/august/12/ exhibition-of-rps-london-streetphotography-phase-3-the-exhibition

rps.org/events/2019/july/18/ documentary-group-northern-bimonthly-meeting

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08 September 2019

29 September 2019

Foto Fest 2019

South East sub-group meeting

RPS Southern Region will be attending the Fotospeed Foto Fest South 2019 event at Bath University. It would be great to meet up with fellow RPS members at the event.

Graham Sergeant will be giving a talk on The role of editing in documentary work.

rps.org/events/2019/september/08/ foto-fest-2019 13 September 2019 York sub-group meeting Guest Speaker: Peter Mudd ARPS. rps.org/events/2019/september/13/ york-documentary-group-meeting 20 September 2019 Street Photography - Spitalfields Market This workshop is ideal if you want to explore street photography in any form, get inspired, learn appropriate techniques and spend time in London shooting and practicing these new found skills. rps.org/events/2019/september/20/ street-photography-spitalfieldsmarket-200919 28 September 2019 Design and Develop a Photobook This course teaches you how to develop your photographic project into an eyecatching photobook. During the oneday course we look at great examples of photobooks based on travel, landscape and documentary themes.

rps.org/events/2019/september/29/ south-east-documentary-groupmeeting 04 October - 27 October 2019 International Photography Exhibition IPE 161 – Hull Presenting 100 beautiful, strong and accomplished images by 54 contemporary photographers including winners Catherine Hyland (Gold Award), Christopher Bethell (under 30’s Gold Award), Alys Tomlinson (Silver Award) and Oli Kellett (Bronze Award). rps.org/events/2019/october/04/rpsipe-161---international-photographyexhibition--hull 05 October 2019 Introduction to your Digital Camera Experiment with and investigate the functions of your digital camera with help from a professional tutor. Here you will gain experience and understanding of F-stops, shutter speeds, ISO settings, digital image types, metering modes, depth of field and basic composition. Transfer your developed understanding into hands-on practice as you go out and about in Bristol photographing with your tutor. rps.org/events/2019/october/05/ introduction-to-your-digitalcamera-051019

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Falmouth University MA Photography

Falmouth University Daniel Simon

Andrew Barrow

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Falmouth University MA Photography

MA Photography Alexandra Prescott

Several RPS members have recently completed their Photography MAs at Falmouth University. In the June and September editions of DM we’ll be sharing a selection of images from their Final Major Projects and gaining an insight into their experiences. The flexible online course runs over two years and aims to enhance the creative, critical, and professional skills of practitioners who are at an early stage in their careers, as well as to give those who have already established themselves within the professional arena, an opportunity to interrogate their practice and deepen the quality and sophistication of their creative output. It is designed to accommodate a broad range of practitioners, from those who use photography to question the world around them to those whose practice interrogates the medium itself. For further information see: flexible.falmouth.ac.uk/courses/ma-photography Instagram: @falmouthflexiblephoto

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Falmouth University MA - Daniel Simon

Daniel Simon Off Season I was particularly interested in the MA in photography at Falmouth because the course offered me the flexibility to apply and complete the first half from the Middle East. Although it meant some late nights and very early morning seminars the course staff were more than willing to change one-on-one times to accommodate the time difference. This was also the case when I found myself back in the UK for the second year but working an inflexible full-time timetable. The stand-alone nature of the separate unit portfolios meant that there was no major disruption allowing me to develop my ideas thematically. It was of no matter that the first three were shot on a different continent from the last two. My process journal (danielsimonphotography. blog) gives an insight into how the course is structured and my approach to each of the units. The overall approach I took, which lasted into the final project, was a largely psychogeographical one. This was borne of the fact that at the outset of the course I was living (as I am again now) in the UAE. I wanted to look at how the country was changing having seen a lot of modernisation over the last decade that I have been here. However, I personally am not fond of the, for want of a better term, NatGeo white-man-among-the-natives approach. There have already been many photographers who have used the manual workers or the desert-dwelling Arabs for stories and there are many very good photographers working within the diverse communities that make up the country. I felt that most of these stories were not really mine to tell, although the story of expat life here is a much longer term and currently ongoing project. Consequently, I chose initially to look at how the modernisation and cultural diversity of the country was reflected in the physical environment, along with the liminal nature of local borders - once fought over, now all but invisible. One of the things I continue to find is that living overseas brings a strange form of homesickness - known as hiraeth in Welsh - a sort of formless longing for a past and a place that may no longer exist. In my case it was a homesickness for the British seaside, which is interesting as I was raised in the Midlands, about as far from the sea as one can get in the UK. My family background however - I am the first male in my paternal line not to have found seasonal work at Butlin’s, Pwllheli and my maternal grandfather was a Cypriot immigrant who managed a restaurant on Blackpool’s South Shore all through the 60s - might be some kind of atavism here. Having already developed photographic ideas of liminality (in-between places that are neither one thing nor the other), this seemed an ideal project on my return. Looking at seaside places off-season, and taking a psychogeographical look at the environment rather than directly at the people would, I felt, give me some distance from the great seaside photographers showing in the Greenwich exhibition around the time of my return. The initial idea was to create 6 zines each focusing on a different seaside resort. However, time constraints and the fact that not all resorts have an immediately noticeable distinct personality changed this to six different liminalities. This was developed through many conversations with people (both locals and visitors) in the places I visited, which I chose to represent as flash fiction in order to be able to develop and, more importantly, distil certain ideas and themes. 70


Falmouth University MA - Daniel Simon

In order to ease the pressure of image selection, having visited so many different places, I also developed a concurrent side-project: I eventually (and piecemeal) managed to travel around the entire circumference of Great Britain, which allowed for a more straightforward travel photography approach for many images that I liked but, which might not have fitted into the ideas of liminality I was developing. My Final Major Project is called ‘Off Season’. I spent the winter of 2018/19 on a road trip around the entire coastline of Great Britain, recording by way of photographs, interviews, and ambient sound recordings what I found. The project reached its apotheosis in a website and associated book/zine featuring images and fictive stories representing the lives of some of the people I met on my travels. Although the MA is now over it is an ongoing labour of love, and I am currently looking at how the liminal lives of people who visit and live in tourist areas off season are reflected psychogeographically in their environs across more of the world. I have covered Benidorm, Venice and currently Dubai thus far. www.off-season.co.uk 71


Falmouth University MA - Daniel Simon

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Falmouth University MA - Daniel Simon

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Falmouth University MA - Daniel Simon

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Falmouth University MA - Daniel Simon

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Falmouth University MA - Alexandra Prescott

Alexandra Prescott Trophies In May 2017 I started the two-year Distance Learning course leading to a Contemporary Photography MA at Falmouth University. As a self-taught pet and wildlife photographer I felt I had knowledge gaps that were holding me back: not the technical stuff but the theoretical and the overall ‘why’ of successful images. Distance learning was a way of fitting in formal study with my lifestyle. The course was hard work, especially balancing everyday practice and life with my studies. My biggest source of angst, shared by many students, was developing an idea for the final major project: ‘The Final Major Project (FMP) module is the culmination of the preceding two stages of the course, where you have critically examined your practice from three distinct perspectives. It provides you with the opportunity to finalise and produce the critically and professionally informed project that you have defined and developed throughout the Award so far, and to resolve it to a professional and publishable standard.’ It was this quote that helped to define and direct my FMP: ‘Arguably, one of the most important functions of contemporary art is that it may promote critical or even moral discussions among its viewers.’ Barker (1999) Although it was an intellectual challenge to find an idea that was wholly original, the answer was very close to home. It was inspired by study and resulting experimentation. One of the aims of the course is to encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and then bring the experience and expanded knowledge back as a practice influencer. My diverse collection of animal artefacts and ephemera, plus the use of chiaroscuro in experimental studio work (a new environment for me as I prefer the great outdoors) provided the inspiration for Trophies. The collection includes antique evidence of our neglect of creature sentience: animal skins, carved ivory, seahorse brooches, animal teeth, bone artefacts. To destroy the collection because it represents misguided past practice would be an iconoclasm and a waste of the animal’s death. Far better to use the remains as an educational tool. This was how Trophies came about. For my FMP I used 50 images and 28 in the Trophies Installation at the Washington Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (March – May 2019) together with an accompanying zine. The images appear on my website (www.naturalhistoryfineart.com), grouped by Parts, Apparel and Installation. The course has changed my approach. Photography is now, for me, a creative tool with which I can support and broadcast my beliefs about how we co-exist as one of many species. My images are unique pieces of vanitas style art containing allegorical messages about conservation – what the viewer sees and takes away remains a choice.

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Falmouth University MA - Alexandra Prescott

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Falmouth University MA - Alexandra Prescott

Preserved Sea Horse Brooch 78


Falmouth University MA - Alexandra Prescott

Mink Paw Brooch 79


Falmouth University MA - Alexandra Prescott

Ivory Tie Pin

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Falmouth University MA - Alexandra Prescott

Stag Foot Button Hook

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Falmouth University MA - Andrew Barrow

Andrew Barrow Wine Doors of Florence ‘You sure they ain’t religious tabernacles?’ my unimpressed companion questioned. No, the 167 Wine Doors of Florence, the basis for my final project for the Falmouth University MA course that covered these little remnants of history, have no religious connection. They are but wine serving hatches. They are scattered throughout the city spreading, in a more limited manner, across Tuscany. As far as I am aware these wine doors are totally unique to Florence. They date from the Medici period when a decree allowed producers to sell wine to the inhabitants of Florence direct from their cellars. They were in use right up until the 1900s although I’ve heard some were in use until the 1970s. How did they work? You came along with your fiasco, knocked on the wine door, paid your money, and left with a refilled bottle. The door opened onto cellars and wine storage rooms. The wine doors are all a standard size and shape and can indeed be confused with religious shrines or saints’ alcoves. My background research unearthed several photographs of now vanished doors, one of which, dating from the 1950s, was in the main door of a cantina and had been converted into a letter box. So, over the centuries, there have been many more than the remaining 167. Researching the project with my American collaborator, Robbin Gheesling, required several extended trips to the city. This hardship, one can be assured, was met with grace and determination, with ample support given to the city’s numerous wine bars and eateries. From the several thousand images I returned with, careful selection resulted in the Wine Doors of Florence Folio Presentation box and a pop-up exhibition. It is surprising how these historical remnants are so often overlooked. People I have spoken to, who have lived in or visited Florence, had no idea of their existence. They are but remnants overshadowed by the other numerous delights of the city. While Robbin was looking at the historical connections between the doors and any existing producer or vineyard, my approach was purely a photographic, artistic one. I was interested in how the doors, now mostly filled in or repurposed as letter boxes or apartment intercom systems, have been subsumed by the passage of time. They now reside unused and ignored or act as a canvas for creative graffiti. Some of my prints are on display in two Italian wine bars in London (The Wine Place in Covent Garden and The Wine Place in South Kensington) while a larger showing is being planned for Florence later in the year. Further information on the project, including information on prints, can be found at andrewbarrow.co.uk/winedoors-of-florence.

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Falmouth University MA - Andrew Barrow

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Falmouth University MA - Andrew Barrow

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Falmouth University MA - Andrew Barrow

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Falmouth University MA - Andrew Barrow

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Falmouth University MA - Andrew Barrow

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RPS Documentary Group - Photo Scratch In June the Documentary Group hosted the popular Photo Scratch event at the RPS headquarters in Bristol. Photo Scratch involves a group of six to eight photographers previewing their ongoing projects. Each selected photographer is given a wall space to display their work in any way they see fit (rough prints, contact sheets, annotations, captions, text, projection etc). The audience, consisting of other photographers, people within the industry, and anyone who is interested, are then welcome to discuss the work and leave written feedback for each project. This valuable written feedback is then kept by each photographer for future reference. The event combines elements of a pop-up exhibition, a feedback opportunity and a social gathering. The participants this time were: Nigel Brundson

Samuel Fradley

Rob Scott

Michelle Siu

Peter Spurgeon

Alexia Villard Alice Whitby

The event had great feedback from those participating and attending and found it valuable. There will be more information on the Photo Scratch process in the next edition of The Decisive Moment. We are planning to put on a future event with Photo Scratch in the near future.

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Photo: Hanna-Katrina Jedrosz

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Members’ Images

Members’ Images Glyn Powell-Evans ARPS

Richard Coulstock LRPS

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Members’ Images

Jo Haycock

Documentary photography, as a practice, spans a range of approaches which makes precise definition difficult. Taken literally, all forms of photography can be described as documentary, in that they document someone, something or some place. As a working definition the Documentary SIG uses the following: “Documentary photography communicates a clear narrative through visual literacy. It can be applied to the photographic documentation of social, cultural, historical and political events. Documentary photographers’ work always has an intent; whether that is to represent daily life, explore a specific subject, deepen our thinking, or influence our opinions.” Every edition of the journal features images from members of the Documentary Group, either finished work or projects in progress. We are always pleased to see new work; please contact decisive@rps.org to discuss a submission for publication. 91


Members’ Images - Glyn Powell-Evans ARPS

Glyn Powell-Evans ARPS Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside My photographic journey started in my late teens, more than 50 years ago, with a 35mm Pentax and a thirst for technical knowledge but no understanding of the creative process. I borrowed a friends Hasselblad kit and did some product photography for a girlfriend’s father which in hindsight was pretty awful, I used tungsten lighting and the plastic handbags drooped in the heat! Although I took family photos over the years my enthusiasm was rekindled with the advent of the digital age and the purchase of Nikon D70. I joined Godalming Photographic Club and improved my skills. An RPS member, whose work I admired, encouraged me to submit an LRPS panel which was accepted in 2016. The idea for my ARPS panel developed after a couple of outings to Brighton. This led to an 18-month project with numerous visits to the seaside. My first ARPS submission was unsuccessful but the positive feedback helped me to change/edit 4 images. A one-to-one session with Steve Smith FRPS helped me make my final image selection and was particularly relevant as he was a fellow street photographer. My ARPS submission in October 2018 was accepted and now I am working on a new project which might one day become an FRPS panel. My ARPS Statement: “Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside But what does this mean for people of widely different backgrounds, ethnicity, cultures or age? I started this project to simply document life at the seaside but it turned more into a narrative about enjoyment and diversity. As a Street Photographer my objective is to capture the decisive moment without being observed, from the impromptu Parkour artist stealing the musicians thunder to the ladies on the beach with their packs of cider, the traditional lovers and sunbathers but also those simply enjoying exercise. Just promenading upon the Prom, Prom, Prom! may still demand religious attire for some but snoozing on the pier can be a stolen delight.” www.powell-evans.com www.flickr.com/photos/glynpowellevans www.instagram.com/glynjpowellevans

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Members’ Images - Glyn Powell-Evans ARPS

Glyn Powell-Evans - LRPS Panel

Glyn Powell-Evans - ARPS Panel 93


Members’ Images - Glyn Powell-Evans ARPS

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Members’ Images - Glyn Powell-Evans ARPS

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Members’ Images - Glyn Powell-Evans ARPS

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Members’ Images - Glyn Powell-Evans ARPS

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Members’ Images - Glyn Powell-Evans ARPS

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Members’ Images - Glyn Powell-Evans ARPS

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Members’ Images - Glyn Powell-Evans ARPS

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Members’ Images - Glyn Powell-Evans ARPS

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Members’ Images - Jo Haycock

Jo Haycock Families Resetting I have always been drawn to people’s relationships, between each other, and with the spaces that they feel connected to and inspired within. Family life is simple yet complex, usual but unique to each family. What amazes me the most is the resilience of the family unit; how it can change shape and adapt to some monumental life changes. Families Resetting is personal photographic project I started in January this year, though the project idea has been growing in me for some time now. I’m clear that its heartbeat needs to focus on the empowerment and adaptation that families can find once they’ve been thrown a curve ball. Looking at how they’ve had to reshape themselves after going through a life-changing event. I spent a good deal of time thinking about how I could invite these types of families to get in touch with me. In many respects it is a tall order asking people to share their most personal situations with a documentary photographer. Someone who, from the off, is saying they want to share, exhibit and feature stories that have a huge emotional attachment and, quite likely, shaken their family’s foundations to provoke permanent change. However, this project is very much about resilience, empowerment, and hope rather than plight. I want to know what their day-to-day looks like by spending time with them. What does life look like around the dinner table, the school-run, the in-between times? The first of my families to feature in the project is Jenny and her two young children. They spent nearly six months in a women’s refuge after she made the brave decision to leave an abusive relationship. For her young years, she has the wisdom and insight of someone much older and has already made links within her own family’s history. As she compares her own plight to that of her great-grandmother who also suffered domestic abuse. This is incredible to hear as, although the project is mainly subjective, Jenny is offering me an opportunity to explore the social issues and support available (or not) in her great-grandmother’s generation. My hope is that the project will show some clear parallels between life now and that of their family (or other families with similar challenges) fifty years ago. These links and stories will be told through quotes to accompany photographs of each family. I would like my Families Resetting project to result in an exhibition, to feature in larger collaborative social documentary projects, and in a book featuring the journeys of the families that have taken part. I am beyond grateful and humbled by these amazing people, who’ve invited me into their lives to tell a part of their story as honestly and as sensitively as I can. If you’d like to talk to Jo about her Families Resetting project, please email jo@johaycockphotography.co.uk

Jo Haycock is a documentary photographer who explores the relationships and emotional attachments that people have between each other and within their environments. Living in South Wales, she is mother to a daughter called Jeanie. Family life consists of a camper van, a half-built house extension, and following the coastline as often as they can. johaycockphotography.co.uk

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Members’ Images - Jo Haycock

‘The non-molestation order on my ex-partner expired today. Yes, I’m nervous about this, as it was an exhausting process for all involved. However, I’m in a different place now, mentally and physically. My children are safe. I feel safe. I can now breathe.’

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Members’ Images - Jo Haycock

‘My great grandmother left her abuser one night. She was told to go back home and make it work… after all she was a married woman with a husband and children. I’m so thankful things are changing for my generation. For me and my own children.’

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Members’ Images - Jo Haycock

‘I felt it so strongly, that she was watching over me when I eventually found the courage to leave him. That she was making sure I got out, because I could’

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Members’ Images - Jo Haycock

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Members’ Images - Jo Haycock

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Members’ Images - Jo Haycock

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Members’ Images - Jo Haycock

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Members’ Images - Jo Haycock

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Members’ Images - Jo Haycock

‘My proudest moment from this past year in our lives is that I’ve kept them safe. I’ve managed to build a protective wall around them, around me.’

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Members’ Images - Richard Coulstock LRPS

Richard Coulstock LRPS Elderly in Singapore Singapore has an international reputation as a modern metropolis. It is home to gleaming skyscrapers, iconic hotels, and the world’s first Formula 1 Night Race – an event that brings this City State into the homes of a global audience numbering hundreds of millions. This is the face of the city familiar to most casual visitors and many expatriate inhabitants who rarely venture far from their 5-star condominiums or the Central Business District. At weekends they may visit Michelinstarred restaurants or frequent the designer shops and malls that line Orchard Road. However, there is a world beyond the glitz and glamour. As a nation of around 5.6 million people, Singapore consistently ranks highly in terms of GDP, education, global competitiveness, IP protection, and many other criteria which measure wealth and progress. It is also one of the most expensive cities on the planet and, like elsewhere in the world, has social issues that need addressing. Singapore’s statistics show an ageing population. In 1970, the median age of a Singaporean was 19.5, in 2017 that had risen to 40.5 (Source: Department of Statistics, Singapore). The government has certainly been proactive in addressing the needs of the elderly, with schemes such as the Pioneer Generation Package (PGP), medical benefits and various concession systems. In addition, Singaporeans have a very strong culture, centred on the importance of family and a ‘kampong spirit’, which supports social cohesion and caring for your community. This has manifested itself in countless charities and organisations all focused on helping the older generation. However, the lives of the elderly in Singapore are a million miles away from what most tourists or, indeed, expat residents may experience. The speed at which Singapore has become a global player is nothing short of phenomenal. It is easy to understand how the aged may have found coping with this pace of change to be a considerable challenge. Much of the growth in wealth has passed them by. Some elderly people gather in places such as Chinatown, spending their days playing board games or chatting with friends. I visited them a few times and learned that their shared accommodation could be small and cramped so meeting in communal areas gave them an escape and companionship. Other elderly people work in ways that seem incompatible with the common perception of modern Singapore. The cardboard collectors, for example, who collect what they can and sell their finds on to recyclers. Still others spend time alone in local parks or coffee shops. Loneliness in such a bustling city may seem a contradiction, but it is also an issue in many countries. This collection of images is aimed at increasing awareness of the lives of the older generation in Singapore and, in many ways, could be used to encourage all readers to be more conscious of those living through their later years. www.portraitsofasia.com Instagram: @kiltedarab

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Members’ Images - Richard Coulstock LRPS

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Members’ Images - Richard Coulstock LRPS

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Members’ Images - Richard Coulstock LRPS

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Members’ Images - Richard Coulstock LRPS

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Members’ Images - Richard Coulstock LRPS

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Members’ Images - Richard Coulstock LRPS

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Members’ Images - Richard Coulstock LRPS

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Photography Projects

Photography Projects

Steven Powell

To coincide with the launch of the Documentary Photographer of the Year 2019 (DPOTY) competition, we started a short series of articles on photography projects. In the series we’ve heard from some Documentary Group (DG) members about their processes and thoughts around various aspects of project work. Our regular panel for this series is: Suzi Luard ARPS, David Gleave LRPS, Lynda Morris LRPS, Ryan Hardman LRPS and Ann Chown ARPS. Ann’s project covers fishermen in Hastings. Suzi’s the funeral of a pub in London. Lynda’s focus was the horse fair in Appleby. David’s and Ryan’s both centre around the interesting people found their local area. The first two articles covered Planning and Execution. These were previously published in full in the DG Members’ Newsletter and some highlights are included here. In this edition of The Decisive Moment we finish the series with a look in detail at the difficult process of Editing.

Planning Thanks for taking the time to take part in this series everyone. What attracted you to the subject matter? Were there specific individuals or events which you wanted to include? SL: For me it was a local issue - the gentrification of an area in east London, the White Horse pub being one of the casualties. The family run pub closed due to rising rent and eventually the property was sold to be used as a restaurant with ‘high quality ingredients from small producers’. A New Orleans funeral style protest march happened to be scheduled, which I came across on Time Out online. DG: In terms of subject matter I only have one subject and that is people. The idea was that it would be about urban style or even fashion, so I knew I wanted people who had a cool look. I’d always loved Mangle Street even before I was a photographer. More recently I’d photographed a couple of bands there and then a couple of models that I borrowed from an agency of a friend. I then got the idea of using the street as the backdrop. That would be the project. It then expanded to a couple of equally interesting surrounding streets like China Lane. These places are in Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter so the project will be called ‘Mangle Street Blues – NQ Portraits’. LM: Horse Fairs looked like really interesting places to get photos of people who form a unique community in a place where they gather to share their interests. I had seen several photos taken at Horse Fairs, but it was the photos of Jo Teasdale and Dave Mason that in particular inspired me to go. They seemed to capture the character of the people, and the atmosphere and energy of the place. Can you talk us through the planning stage for your project? AC: Not being a professional photographer, but a photographer with limited experience, I didn’t do much planning, apart from setting my alarm so that I could get up early to catch my ‘victims’, 120


Photography Projects

the fishermen, coming ashore. I simply enjoyed the freedom of walking around with my camera and photographing the stories I saw. I had no preconceptions and kept an open mind, so there was little disappointment if nothing developed. RH: Whilst studying photography, I started looking into professional photographers who inspired me. They included Diane Arbus, Dougie Wallace, Bruce Gilden, Nick Turpin and Martin Parr. They all photographed people in a candid and honest way and focused on one theme through a series of images. This is when I started seeing my Plymouth photos as connected rather than as individual images. I started to consider what I wanted to form part of my newly found series and to hunt for particular images. I researched the history of Plymouth, curious to see what made the city unique from others, so I could capture the context within my series. I wanted to include aspects of Plymouth as part of those images, such as a person with a high rise building or the University of Plymouth in the background. This would allow the audience to either recognise the location or to make more assumptions from that image. I also considered the placement of people and objects, such as what should be ‘low’ and ‘high’, drawing the eye seamlessly through the image and on to the next. Did you have specific images in mind, or did you have the bones of a narrative you could work from? SL: I wanted to capture the spirit of the march and hoped that the images would tell a story, so I did my best to include the banners and words on the coffin in my picture alongside the strippers who were the protestors. AC: Watching the fishermen, lots of pictures came to mind. Photographing them working, coming ashore in their boats, cleaning nets, the possibilities seemed endless - and still are.

Execution How long did you give yourself to make the images you needed for your narrative? SL: It was just one day as the protest march was the only opportunity to tell the story because the White Horse pub had already closed down. AC: I photographed the fishermen on and off for about three years, so I had a large library of pictures to draw on for my DPOTY submission. DG: There is no plan...if you’re grabbing someone who’s on the way to work, then you have to move fast. If you organise to meet someone in advance, then it’s a little more relaxed but still no more than 15 mins. How did you respond to opportunities to take the project in a new direction? AC: When I achieved my ARPS, I made a photo-book and gave copies to both the Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society and to the Hastings Fishermen’s Museum. As a result, the Museum asked me to have an exhibition of my pictures. Needless to say, I was delighted to take them up on this and the exhibition was on for a year from July 2017 to July 2018. Believe it or not, at that stage I still needed more pictures, as I hadn’t photographed all the fishermen. The Museum gave me a list of those missing, so I had to track them down to photograph them. I then republished my book to accompany the exhibition. RH: Initially, I intended to only capture close portraits for my series, but my eyes were opened to the urban landscape as well, which helped to set and contextualise the portraits within their environment. The opportunity to work with Nick Turpin has actively encouraged me to look at my work not just as portraits, but as an entire project, which is one of the reasons I now constantly reflect on and review my images. 121


Photography Projects

Editing How do you deal with the tough decisions? SL: I had to pretend I was a picture editor of a publication and the pictures were not mine. DG: I don’t know, but we all have to do it. I just follow my gut instinct but of course curating your own work is so hard. I do trust myself and I do ask other people but if they tell me the best image is one I don’t like, then I stick with my decision. So, really, I guess I’m hoping they will confirm what I’m thinking. RH: I have had meetings with Nick Turpin in order to go through my work. It has helped having open and honest discussions around whether I have produced a picture or an image. I plan to print my series of images so far, as a different way to look for more current trends and themes, and I hope that this will create a more streamlined series. I recognise that I may face more tough decisions in the future. Currently, focusing on creating images and building on my project helps me to look at my series as continually progressing. What’s your usual discard rate? SL: For this project it was 75% discard rate as there were more than the 5 images submitted that were useable or of good quality. They were just not required for the submission to this competition. DG: Depends what I’m doing. On this project I may take 40 shots. I’ll only use one but on a good day they may all be actually usable. I went to India in January shooting the streets. I came back with 1,500 images that I edited down to about 60 that I would put my name to. Sometimes when I shoot gigs, and most of them have very poor lighting now, I shoot 100 images and there might be two or three I’d show. Depends on your quality control bar and where that is set, I guess. Some people I know go to gigs and shoot 150 bad photos and show them all. You’re only as good as your worst image. RH: Due to the style in which I photograph subjects, my discard rate can be high. As I take my images relatively quickly and candidly, I take multiple images and then select the best. For my Plymouth project, I have taken nearly 200 (edited) images, I have published just 33 on my website as part of the project. I feel this shows a higher standard. It does not overwhelm viewers and keeps the project focused and specific. AC: My discard rate is huge! If I get 1 per cent of a shoot, I consider myself lucky. But, luckily, I have been out on a shoot and come back with a higher percentage than this! Do you typically shoot many versions of the same image to give yourself options or do you look for unique moments? SL: Yes, particularly when taking pictures of a group of people as one could be blinking or in an awkward posture etc. DG: Yes absolutely. I know I’m only there for a short while, so I shoot all angles, tight and wide, portrait and landscape. If I see through the viewfinder that the light is beautiful, I stick with it until I’ve exhausted all options. LM: When I see a good subject, I get very excited. I might take a walk around and take many shots from different angles or look at crouching down and getting a view from below. I also position myself in a good place and watch for interesting compositions and passers-by. The market stalls were good, as people were intent on looking for food or goods to buy and they took little interest in me taking photos. On Sunday the muddy pathway also proved a distraction. We spent a lot of time photographing the ‘flashing’ road adjacent to the field. Here the horse riders, mostly macho young men, rode bare back at a frantic pace for a short distance, or they whipped along in a buggy 122


Photography Projects

and cart, without much regard for pedestrians or even perhaps the horse. Photographing them was fun and I tried to look at the background but was often taken up by the moment. If I went again, I would hope to take more care with composition and the right camera settings. So many photos were discounted because of background distractions or out of focus issues. AC: I do shoot many versions of the same image and am always waiting for unique moments. Composition is important to me: I took multiple versions of one of my most successful images where three ‘boy ashores’ were cleaning out some nets, purely and simply to get the composition I wanted while they were working. RH: I often find myself having one really good portrait, I feel looking for the unique moment is key for my series. Whereas, when taking landscape images of the urban environment, I tend to have multiple images in order to get the structure right. Has the editing process ever presented a different story/angle you’d not considered before? SL: In other projects, in the past, a different angle has emerged that I did not think of before. DG: Yes of course that’s the bit I love best. The accidents or serendipity. In all my photography I hope for the accidents. Some of my shots came that way and I had intended it to happen. RH: I feel I have been diligent about the images I have taken, and I have learnt not to rush the series. Have you ever just closed a project after completing the execution and finding it fell short in some way? SL: I’m very new to the documentary genre so I have not experienced this as I have not done many projects. RPS DPOTY is the first ever documentary or story telling competition I have come across and I entered with no expectation of winning anything. I was taken by surprise to win the gold medal in the mono section and grateful for the existence of this dynamic group. DG: Most of my projects are open ended and just part of my life so no, not really. I am photographing my life and the people and events that I encounter so it’s all still ongoing. AC: A few years ago I started photographing the shopkeepers and pub owners in my village and found there wasn’t enough ‘meat’ in the project, so it soon floundered, and I went on to another project. However, I have recently become re-inspired and am taking it up again, but this time, photographing all the community groups (I have found around 20) and I am including some candid pictures of people going about their business. I now intend to use the images I took a few years ago and, once complete, to publish a magazine. RH: I have created a tattoo series, which helped to build my confidence and has also been popular with local art guilds and magazines. However, I feel the formal documentary portraits of people getting tattoos clashed with what I was aiming to achieve. I do not feel this fell short, as it has been successful and I am proud of the series, but it also taught me to consider a series in a more rounded and holistic way in the future.

Feeling Inspired? The RPS Documentary Photographer of the Year competition 2019 is open for entries. The competition is free to enter, and it is open to all members of The Royal Photographic Society. The closing date is 31 July 2019 and the shortlisted finalists will be informed by October. The first prize is a day with Simon Roberts HonFRPS, the acclaimed British artist-photographer. See page 10 or visit www.rpsdpoty.com for more details. 123


Updated Constitution At the AGM this year, we made some minor changes to the constitution, namely to broaden the definition of ‘documentary’. Documentary photography as a practice spans a range of approaches, so makes precise definition difficult. Taken literally, all forms of photography can be described as documentary, in that they document someone, something or some place. As a working definition, the Documentary SIG uses the following: “Documentary photography communicates a clear narrative through visual literacy. It can be applied to the photographic documentation of social, cultural, historical and political events. Documentary photographers’ work always has an intent; whether that is to represent daily life, explore a specific subject, deepen our thinking, or influence our opinions.”

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Members form a dynamic and diverse group of photographers globally who share a common interest in documentary and street photography. We welcome photographers of all skill levels and offer members a diverse programme of workshops, photoshoots, longer-term projects, a prestigious Documentary Photographer of the Year (DPOTY) competition, exhibitions, and a quarterly online journal ‘The Decisive Moment’. In addition to our AGM and members get-together we have an autumn prize-giving for the DPOTY incorporating a members’ social day. Some longer-term collaborative projects are in the pipeline for the future. We have an active Flickr group and Facebook page. Overseas members pay £5 per annum for Group membership rather than the £10 paid by UK based members. The Documentary Group is always keen to expand its activities and relies on ideas and volunteer input from its members.

If you’re not a member come and join us. Find us on the RPS website at: http://www.rps.org/special-interest-groups/ documentary/about/dvj-membership

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Joy - Rolf Kraehenbuehl

www.rps.org/special-interest-groups/documentary