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THE DECISIVE MOMENT

Quarterly journal from the Documentary Group

March 2019 Edition 15 Photo: Alys Tomlinson


Contents 4

Winner of the December 2018 Bi-Monthly Competition

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A Word From Our... VP

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Meet the Documentary Group Team

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Documentary Photographer of the Year 2019

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Winner of the February 2019 Bi-Monthly Competition

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Interview - Alys Tomlinson

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Women Photograph

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The Winds of Change - Nicola Morley ARPS

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In Conversation: Kate O’Neill and Jessica McDermott

62 Events 64

East Midlands Documentary Sub-Group

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Northern Documentary Sub-Group

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RPS Women in Photography Special Interest Group

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Members’ Images

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David Fletcher LRPS - 100 Women, 100 Years

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Maryann Morris ARPS - Perceptions Project

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Laura Wood - Self Portraits of Motherhood

104 Valerie Mather LRPS - Children of Cuba

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Interview with Alys Tomlinson p14 (photo Mark A Phillips ARPS)

Nicola Morley ARPS discusses her project ‘The Winds of Change’ p34

In Conversation: Kate O’Neill, Director of The OGC p44

In Conversation: Jessica McDermott, photographer and Scenario podcast host p44

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Bi-Monthly Competition Winner

Winner of the December 2018 Bi-Monthly Competition

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Bi-Monthly Competition Winner

There were 11 entries for the sixth 2018 bi-monthly competition. 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 ‘Turf Wars’ by Ian Gilbert Wright ARPS Ploughing Match, Worlaby Top, North Lincolnshire, October 2018.

The first bi-monthly competition of 2019 closed on 28 February, the winning entry can be seen on page 12. The next deadline is 30 April 2019 for images taken during February, March and April. 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... VP 2018 was designated the ‘Year of the Woman’. On the one hand, it was a depressing realisation that, even in the twentyfirst century, we still needed a special year to help us fully embrace the momentous contribution that women make to society. On the other hand, I welcomed the year, for it provided unprecedented opportunities to highlight the achievements of women in photography, achievements that are often written out of history. Historically, the Royal Photographic Society was more enlightened than similar societies because it welcomed women immediately; indeed, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert stipulated that membership had to be open to all. This was unusual for the time since many establishments only admitted women if they were married, widowed, or owned great swathes of land. However, the RPS did not impose any of these conditions and welcomed some of the great female photographers of the day as members. It was to be more than a hundred years, however, before we saw a female president – Margaret F Harker, elected in 1958 and who, incidentally, was also the first female professor of photography in the UK. The Society has always embraced documentary photography and the first female member who enjoyed this genre was arguably Isabella Bird (1881-1904); I say ‘arguably’ as she preferred the appellation ‘explorer’, with photography simply being one of her many achievements. More recently, through the award of honorary fellowships, we have recognised that some of the great documentary photographers of our time are female, namely, Susan Meiselas, Dorothy Bohm, Jenny Matthews, Jane Hilton, and Vanessa Winship. Despite the long-running inclusive attitude, the Society is still male dominated, but I hope that following the female focus of 2018, we will now see bolder moves towards equality. In the Year of the Woman, we played a leading role in increasing awareness of the impact women are having on photography. For example, many of the Society’s female members participated in the 209 Women initiative, whereby 209 female photographers made portraits of the 209 female MPs. We set up the Society’s Women in Photography Group to promote

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the work of female photographers worldwide. Outstanding female photographers headlined our awards ceremony, with Nan Goldin receiving the prestigious centenary medal – only the third woman in twenty-five years to do so. We also launched the Hundred Heroines project, an international campaign to find one hundred photographic heroines. Through this we increased public awareness of the work that women are creating globally. Amongst those selected there were a number of documentary photographers, some of whom will be household names to readers of The Decisive Moment. Others, however, are less well known in the UK and we hope that readers will enjoy the same path of discovery that our jurors followed. See, for example, the work of Britta Jaschinski, Dana Popa, Evgenia Arbugaeva, Gohar Dashti, Isadora Kosofsky, Newsha Tavakolian and Paola Paredes. One of the criticisms often levelled against organisations that seek to highlight underrepresented groups is that they achieve a moment of visibility, but swiftly revert to the status quo. After all we achieved in 2018, it would be a great shame if we didn’t continue to build on the opportunities now afforded to us. Although we have made some progress, we still have a long way to go to ensure that the Society is truly inclusive, otherwise we will be failing to fulfil our charitable aims. Therefore, I was particularly pleased to be invited to write the introduction to this issue of The Decisive Moment as it underlines the wider thinking of the Documentary Group. Del Barrett ARPS Vice-President, RPS

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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 LRPS

doctreasurer@rps.org

Members:

Steven Powell

Dave Thorp Sub-Group Organisers: East Midlands:

Howard Fisher LRPS

docem@rps.org

South East:

Janey Devine FRPS

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


Charlie - Anne Chown ARPS

In the Next Edition In the next two editions of The Decisive Moment we plan to feature articles on a range topics related to learning about photography. This broad aim will include photobooks, collaboration, education and learning. If you have an idea for an article you would like to read, a feature you would like to write or a have a photography project related to these topics please get in touch. 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 will be open for submissions from the 30 April 2019. 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 14 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 exhibition. 11


Bi-Monthly Competition Winner

Winner of the February 2019 Bi-Monthly Competition There were 25 entries for the first bi-monthly competition of 2019. As always we received a 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 ‘Stonemason at work’ by Rev Graham Evans LRPS This was taken outside York Minster of one of the minster’s team of stonemasons. It is part of a series of shots taken around the minster of tourists and people who work in the area. The masons are such wonderful artists and he was concentrating so much on his work that I couldn’t resist the shot.

The second bi-monthly competition of 2019 closes on 30 April 2019 for images taken during February, March and April. 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. 12


Bi-Monthly Competition Winner

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Alys Tomlinson

Alys Tomlinson Interview by Mark A Phillips ARPS For this issue we interview Alys Tomlinson. Alys is an award-winning editorial and fine art photographer based in London. Having grown up in Brighton, she went on to study English Literature and Communications at the University of Leeds. After graduating, she moved to New York for a year and was given her first commission for Time Out, before coming back to London to study photography at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. She has recently completed a part-time MA in Anthropology of Travel, Tourism and Pilgrimage (Distinction) at SOAS, University of London, which ties in with her long-term, personal project about pilgrimage. Alys combines commissioned work for editorial, design and advertising clients, with personal work, which she publishes and exhibits. She was named Sony World Photography Awards, Photographer of the Year 2018 and has recently been selected for the New Discovery Award 2019 in Arles. Her work can be found online at: www.alystomlinson.co.uk

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Starting out you did a degree in Literature and Communications. So, what made you take the step into photography? I did Humanities at the University of Leeds but, whilst there, I also completed a City and Guilds in black and white photography and worked on the student paper. I used my Dad’s old Pentax 35mm. So, I had an early interest in photography. When I graduated, I wanted to work in journalism or filmmaking, and I had some work experience at Time Out, the V&A and at Marie Claire. I did not have a clear career direction, but always wanted to live in New York, and managed to get an internship with a film production company. The films were good, but I didn’t enjoy the work ethos. So, I got in touch with Time Out in New York. I was interested in writing and photographing. There were no outlets for writing, but a job was available as a photographer, so I ended up as a photographer for Time Out New York. I was 23 years old, living and working in New York. It was a bit of a dream. After a year or so, I moved back to London, also to work for Time Out, but I felt a need to formalise my photographic education, so I enrolled in a post grad course at Central Saint Martins. That taught me to think critically, but also developed the technical side in the studio and darkroom. I really enjoyed the course and thought that this was what I wanted to do. But the ease of my getting that job in New York was also misleading. In London, I found it much harder to get commissions and make enough money. So, my route into photography wasn’t what might be thought of as conventional, but then few photographers do follow a clear path. My commissioned work is mainly commercial with some editorial. I have worked with some nice design agencies on campaigns for websites and brochures, and I’ve done many personal projects along the way. I’d love to be able to work solely on my own projects, but it’s practically impossible to make money that way. My personal work is nearly all on film and my commercial work mostly digital. I learned on film and I love shooting film. It makes you work in a different way. Who would you say have been your main influencers in photographic terms? Early on, I was influenced by American photographers; people like Robert Frank, William Eggleston, Joel Sternfeld, and then more recently Dana Lixenberg, Vanessa Winship, and Taryn Simon. And, also, the black and white work of Diane Arbus and August Sander. In addition, I look to cinematography and filmmaking, particularly the framing and composition, for ideas and inspiration. So, the influences are quite diverse. I also collect photobooks. I have a lot, I don’t know how many, but I’m running out of space! Sometimes I won’t look at a book for years, but then I’ll pick one up and discover something new. I also enjoy reading essays, you can discover a lot from other people’s work.

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For your pilgrimage project, you went back to study at SOAS; how did that change your approach? My pilgrimage project, Ex-Voto, is the first time I made a conscious decision to focus more on my personal work; to commit and to invest fully in it emotionally, financially and in terms of time. But, after about a year or so of working on the project, I found I was struggling with the direction. It was also difficult because I am entering that arena as an outsider. I am not religious myself. I do not come from a religious background, so I wasn’t familiar with the rituals and didn’t have a deep understanding of the belief system. I felt that if I was going to tackle something as complex as pilgrimage and faith, I really needed to understand it myself. I found that the course at SOAS was the only one that covered the anthropology of pilgrimage. So, I enrolled on a part-time, two-year MA, as a way to enrich my photography. I think it really helped me to think in a different way. It was a theoretical course, and involved a lot of writing, for example about people, place and phenomenology. A lot of photographers work as anthropologists, but not in a formalised way. So, I wanted some formal understanding of anthropology. It expanded my way of thinking. And it was in a seminar that someone mentioned the phrase: ex-voto (from the Latin: “from the vow made”) and I suddenly realised this is what I’d been seeing at Lourdes (my main location at that time). It’s the things that people leave behind; the items of devotion. There might be a small prayer note tucked under a rock, or crosses made of twigs, a photo, a rosary, soft toys or something much more personal. Whatever it is, it carries a lot of meaning for the individual. That was a breakthrough moment. I realised I’d been seeing these ex-voto, but not picking up their significance. As part of the course, I also got into anthropological filmmaking approaches, so that was another influence. It’s hard to say exactly how it influenced me, but it definitely gave me a deeper understanding and enriched my thinking. I started to focus on portraits, landscapes, and still life, but I also completely changed my approach. For the first two years of the project, it was all in medium format colour, and documentary style, so quite editorial. But this didn’t capture the timelessness and the mystery that I felt. These sites have a certain quality to them that I wanted to express. So I went back, slowed everything down, and shot everything in 5x4 black and white film. That was when it all started to fall into place and the images started speaking in a way that I’d hoped that they would. So, it was a change in my thinking and a change in my approach and equipment. It became more a reflection of how I felt in these places. There is a purity and calmness. Although I’m not religious, I enjoyed being there for that sense of stillness and calm, especially after living in London for so many years. The 5x4 requires you to work in a rhythm, it is quite meditative, and there is almost a ritual in terms of how you work with it, which reflected what I was photographing as well. Now it seems so obvious, but it took me two to three years to get to that point in the project. 19


Alys Tomlinson

When working on a project, do you have a clear idea of what you want? With Ex-Voto there was not a clear idea, but I was intrigued by the whole process, and the qualities of those who had faith, and this drew me in. But the challenge was how to capture that faith. That is what really took time on the project. How did you find working across disparate locations in Ireland, Poland and France? How were you accepted in each community? All the locations were Christian, although only the Polish was orthodox, and so the services, iconography and liturgy were different. But all had recurring themes, for instance, water is important to all three sites in terms of purity and cleansing, and healing properties. All the sites are linked to a history of healing. They all had stones, the rock formations, and forests, which became the natural motifs, in terms of the landscape, and how they connected to faith. And that’s why in the book I do not have any captions. The back of the book indicates the locations, but I didn’t individually caption every image, because I didn’t want distractions looking through the book. I wanted there to be a natural flow and so I didn’t want to give too much information that would break up that flow. That leaves it more open to interpretation and provides a more immersive feel. Each time I went to a site, I typically spent 7 to 10 days there. But there were several trips over several years. The camera actually helped me to be accepted. People could see it was something I was serious about, as I was lugging all this enormous equipment around. They could also see there was a process, like a ritual. A few people were a little sceptical, and worried that I might do some kind of pastiche, which is quite easy to do in somewhere like Lourdes. But I took along examples of previous images so they could see the work, and how it was respectful and sensitive, so they had a better understanding of the project. Hardly anyone refused to be photographed. People were actually open, and there was a sense of pride, that what they were doing was meaningful, and they were prepared to share that. What would you hope viewers take away from that project and your images? I hope there is some reflection, not necessarily in a religious sense, but that people feel they can slow down, look at the images, think about the meaning, and create stories behind them. I think we could all do with giving ourselves some more time and space to think. If people take away the stillness and quiet and calm, it will be successful in terms of how people read the images.

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2018 was a pretty amazing year with the Sony Award. How has that had an impact? I knew once the project had momentum that it suited a book format. I also felt that it was a project that needed to be published. So, the Sony Award and the exposure opened up new opportunities. It opened doors and made it easier to approach publishers. You have just published and released ‘Ex-Voto’. What was that publishing and fundraising process like? I approached Stuart Smith of GOST, and he was quite interested. I was aware of his work and the books they publish. I particularly liked that every book was individually crafted and tailored to that photographer’s work. Once we started working on the book and the edit, we could see there were gaps, so I went back to Ireland to shoot more images. Initially, I did my own edit. As I was working in 5x4, there were only around 300400 images in total. My first edit was 60 or so images. I took these to Stuart Smith and we agreed on most images, but he sequenced it, entirely. He actually asked for all the contact sheets, and from these he picked out maybe 3 or 4 images that I had discarded, that I would never have put in or even shown him. He saw something in them, and they work well in the sequence so he saw different things in my work. You get so immersed in your own work it is really important to have a different perspective. For example, I found that an image I was personally attached to, was removed by Stuart. That is quite hard, but I can now see why he did take it out. That is sometimes important in terms of the coherence of the whole work. He sees in a different way, so it was good to get someone else’s perspective. When you publish, it becomes a collaboration. Working with a publisher has been a really positive experience. Ex-Voto is published with GOST, but even with a publishing deal these days you also need to raise money, which is why I did a Kickstarter. I did a lot of research first. I spoke to a lot of people who had done book projects and the good thing about Kickstarter is that there is already a community there. Originally, it was going to be 750 copies, but the print run is now 1000 copies. I also took the campaign to GOST for their ideas and got input from friends. It did take a long time to put it all together. And the actual campaign is a full-time job for a month, and you need to be ‘on it’ all the time. Ex-Voto was always in my mind as a book, but as a result of the Sony Award, I’m publishing a book much quicker than I had originally planned. I have a gallery now (HackelBury Fine Art) as a result of the Sony Award and a talk I gave for the Photo London programme.

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So, what’s next? Ex-Voto, as a project, is finished. The book provides a natural closure. But I am still interested in exploring notions of faith. I’ve already started the follow on. It is a film about Vera, one of the pilgrims. She’s from Poland but lives in a convent in Belarus. She is an amazing character. A really strong and complex woman. I’ve stayed with her twice now and plan to go back to Belarus in April. Using the Sony grant, I shot a short film called Vera which will be shown at this year’s Sony Awards and at Arles in the summer, but I’m also planning to make a longer film. And you have been recently shortlisted for Emerging Talent at Arles? Yes, that’s exciting. All ten of the New Discovery Awards have an exhibition space, at the Ground Control site in Arles. They changed the rules recently, so having a gallery was crucial to the nomination process. My exhibition will be called ‘The Faithful’ and combines work from Ex-Voto and the Vera series. So, it’s been a really busy year. Information: Ex-Voto, by Alys Tomlinson, is being exhibited at HackelBury Fine Art, 4 Launceston Place, London W8 5RL until 18 April 2019 and Side Gallery, Newcastle from 6 April until 9 June 2019. The book, Ex-Voto, is published by GOST books: www.gostbooks.com.

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Women Photograph

Women Photograph The ‘Women Photograph’ initiative launched in early 2017 to elevate the voices of women and non-binary visual journalists. Its founder, Daniella Zalcman, got so frustrated being told by photo editors, ‘I would hire more women if I knew where to look,’ that she decided to make a list so that the next time the conversation happened she’d be able to say, ‘here, I made this for you.’ We contacted Daniella to look back at the initiative’s achievements over the first two years and its future plans. Photojournalism is a hugely male-dominated world and, although a large proportion of students are female, only a small proportion of photojournalists in the field are women. Daniella explains why this matters; ‘There is so much value in having a multitude of perspectives – a single view cannot do justice to the people who let you into their lives. If newspaper front pages are 85-90% shot by men, we are looking at the world through a predominantly male gaze. Conflict, politics, entertainment, sports are being represented through the way men see these issues. It is deeply dangerous.’ Women Photograph remains, first and foremost, a database that now includes over 900 independent women documentary photographers based in more than 100 countries around the world. The photographers cover breaking news, conflict, food, entertainment, sports - every aspect of documentary photography and photojournalism. The website showcases the work of its members and the private database forms an essential hiring resource, providing all the information an editor could possibly want. Any independent photographer with more than 5 years of professional experience can apply to join the database by reaching out to hello@womenphotograph.com. Women Photograph is spending 2019 particularly focused on expanding the database in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. ‘Photo editors and photographers need to be mindful that if we want to tell the stories of diverse people around the world then we, as storytellers, need to be diverse or we are not going to understand, and we are not going to report with nuance.’ From its origins as a simple list, Women Photograph has expanded to include a grant programme, mentorship programme, annual workshop, travel fund, and a data collection team. ‘The best part is the huge community of people who are working really hard to support each other. It has been remarkable, astonishing, and wonderful to see just how supportive everyone has been.’ 32


Women Photograph

Women Photograph is run by a core team of just 4 staff who have a background in film and photography and a strong belief in the mission. There are also countless volunteers who help keep Women Photograph running - the 44 photo editors and photographers who have been part of the mentorship program, the (anonymous) photographers who make up the data collection team, Kerry Manders who runs the monthly interview series, all of the industry leaders who have participated as grant judges, portfolio reviewers, speakers, and advisers. Women Photograph is primarily funded through partnerships with corporations and foundations (www. womenphotograph.com/about) and, roughly once a year, they run a print auction or a print sale to help cover the operating costs and secondary programming. Anyone who would like to donate can do so via the website: www.womenphotograph. com/donate. Women Photograph runs two annual grant programmes to support a range of documentary projects, and since 2017 they have distributed over $80,000. You can read more about their projects, and connect with their work, through the Women Photograph website. The 2018 Women Photograph & Getty Images Grant was awarded to Nadia Shira Cohen. Her project, ‘Yo No Di a Luz’, looks at the complete prohibition of abortion in El Salvador, and the many ways in which this affects the country’s women. Etinosa Yvonne Osayimwen was one of the recipients of the Women Photograph & Nikon Grants in 2018. ‘It’s All in My Head’ is an ongoing project that explores the coping mechanisms of survivors of terrorism and violent conflict, using layered portraits of the survivors and the things that they do to help them move forward. Supporting emerging photographers is vital and Women Photograph runs an annual mentorship programme that pairs 22 industry leaders (11 photographers and 11 photo editors) with 22 early-career photojournalists, over the course of a year. Mentors have included editors from NPR, National Geographic, and TIME, and photographers who are the recipients of Guggenheim Fellowships, World Press Photo awards, and the founders of organizations like Foto Feminas and MFON. Women Photograph also take part in New York’s annual outdoor photo festival, Photoville. The team organise a programme of panel discussions and breakout sessions which give participants an opportunity to build skills in a range of photography-related disciplines. Women Photograph keeps track of several data sets to analyse the ways in which women photographers are hired, and published, in the photojournalism industry. They make this information available for academic and journalistic use. The Data Collection Team publishes statistics within the industry covering lead photo bylines by gender, week in pictures gender breakdown, and year in pictures gender breakdown. It has been an amazing first couple of years for Women Photograph and we look forward to following what happens next. 33


The Winds of Change - Nicola Morley ARPS

The Winds of Change Nicola Morley ARPS Nicola Morley ARPS holds a Photography Arts MA from the University of Westminster and a Post Graduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Central Lancashire. She worked as a broadcast journalist and producer at BBC Radio Cumbria and BBC Radio Lancashire. Nicola was shortlisted for the British Journal of Photography’s ‘Portrait of Britain’. She photographed Fiona Bruce, Member of Parliament for Congleton, for the 209 Women project, which is currently on display at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery. Nicola joined The Royal Photographic Society in 2018, is a member of the Documentary Special Interest Group, and treasurer of the Women in Photography Special Interest Group. The Winds of Change The Winds of Change is a project about time, identity and place. It is an aperture into a traditional country estate in the north of England. The large estate has continued down the same bloodline since the Middle Ages. Some of the tenant families have been on the estate since the mid 1800’s. In recent years, a scattering of cottages have been renovated for newcomers who do not farm. The current landlord is old. He has seven children. The whole estate will be inherited by his son, following family custom. The Winds of Change happened on the back of a project about horses. I went to the main house to take some pictures of the horses, but the wind was too high and it was impossible to do the shoot. Instead Cosi asked me to take a photograph of her with her dog. ‘Cosi in the Music Room with Bat’, was shortlisted for the Portrait of Britain 2018. After I took the picture, Cosi asked me if I would document the estate so that she could make a surprise book for the family.

The Housekeeper Mrs C and her husband have been on the estate for 30 years. She is the housekeeper for the landlord and is seen here clearing his breakfast. Her husband was the gardener before he retired. Their daughter lives on the estate. She is a psychiatric nurse. 34


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The Winds of Change - Nicola Morley ARPS

We had envisaged the project would take a year, but things don’t always go as planned. I visited 12 times last year and I am only just beginning to get a real feel for the place. There are many people I have already photographed that I would like to photograph again in different circumstances. For example, I want to take an image of the Monsignor, who lives in a cottage on the estate, in his vestments. They are very old, and very beautiful, as is he. There are still quite a few people I haven’t photographed. There is also the landscape, which is magnificently raw in all weathers, and I want to capture it. The families are all very accommodating and we have a lot of fun during the shoots. I was taking an image of a tenant farmer, his wife and their six children, placing them so they could all be seen, when the farmer reappeared, unexpectedly, with an enormous, very strong and feisty cow! So, then I had six children, two adults, and a cow that thought it was a bull, to contend with. In fact, it was meeting the cow that made me decide to move from London, back to my hometown, in October this year, so I could be nearer to the work. I loved that cow. Curiously, there doesn’t seem to be a rush to finish the project. As the estate has been working since the Middle Ages, there’s a strong sense of permanence. Of course, the whole point of the project is that things will change. I have called the project The Winds of Change because even though the estate has remained in the same family for generations, there is an uncertainty in the air. I know I’m contradicting myself here. There are no easy answers. 209 Women The image of Fiona Bruce MP, in 209 Women, came about by speaking with the organiser, Hilary Wood, and the curator, Cheryl Newman who I knew from university. I was keen to be involved in such a great initiative. There was no opportunity to discuss the shoot with Fiona beforehand. Her office emailed me with a time and date, and I left London at 6am on the morning of the shoot. After meeting Fiona in a library following her MP’s surgery, we went over the road to the church in Middlewich. The weather was atrocious! I set up the shoot while Fiona remained wrapped in her coat. She took off her coat and I very quickly took the image. As a photographer, I am a member of several supportive networks, including the Society. I go to as many talks and galleries as I can, and I get feedback on my work at portfolio reviews. I would love to have a dedicated mentor! www.nicolamorley.com

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The Winds of Change - Nicola Morley ARPS

Visiting Day Mr S has been a tenant farmer on the estate for over 50 years. His son, his daughter and his grandchildren work two cattle farms on the estate. On the day I took this image, Mr S had visited his wife in hospital. 37


The Winds of Change - Nicola Morley ARPS

Boy and Rottweiller Charlie who trained his Rottweiler, Dexter.

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Easter Egg Hunt Every year on Easter Sunday the children of the tenant farmers are invited to an Easter egg hunt at the main house. After they have divided their spoils, they have high tea in the nursery. 39


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The Grandmother The grandmother comes from generations of the estate’s tenant farmers whose main livelihood continues to come from the land. She looks after the horses. She is a part-time nurse. 40


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The Clay Shooting Cup The lad in this image comes from a long line of tenant farmers and many of his relations live on the estate. He won this Junior Shooting Cup the week I took this image. 41


The Winds of Change - Nicola Morley ARPS

Fred and his Truck Fred is a third generation tenant farmer. He can help a ewe to give birth to a lamb as if putting on a glove.

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The Winds of Change - Nicola Morley ARPS

The Sisters with their Pony The family of these girls have farmed on the estate since the mid 1800’s. Despite other opportunities, the eldest has decided to remain near her family. 43


Kate O’Neill & Jessica McDermott

In Conversation: Kate O’Neill and Jessica McDermott Photography is often a solo endeavour, and embarking on a new career after regular work or full-time study can be daunting. However, online and around the country, the photographic community is thriving. Networks of existing and emerging artists collaborate and support each other in many ways allowing ideas to form and new connections to be made. There is more to photography than taking photographs. Kate O’Neill has been working in the photography industry for over 10 years across the UK & Ireland - from project management and marketing to curation and mentoring. As Marketing & Partnerships manager at Metro Imaging, her role is mainly client facing; working with artists, advising on production and/or promotion, helping them get their work from concept to physical art (Secret Life of Pencil, Free Range Awards, But We Are Still Here). She is Director of The Old Girls’ Club (‘The OGC’), an initiative to support women across the visual arts industry and last year managed Brighton Photo Fringe as well as curating ELASTIC, a collective exhibition for the biennial Cork Photo Festival. Jessica McDermott is a London-based photographer whose work explores patterns in history, memory, and the legacies we leave behind. Her ongoing series, Recollection, tells the life stories of people living with dementia in a single image, while Fifty Decades To Visit Before You Die takes you on a journey through lost and misunderstood herstory. She is currently working for Tate on Steve McQueen’s Year 3 Project and is the Host and Producer of Scenario, a podcast about the hidden stories from behind the camera. Kate and Jess have known each other for just over four years and in that time a professional collaboration has been born out of a genuine friendship. They have collaborated on The OGC, Scenario and ELASTIC becoming part of a movement for championing visual artists through storytelling and visibility of female photographers.

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Kate O’Neill & Jessica McDermott

Brighton Photo Fringe 2018

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Kate O’Neill & Jessica McDermott

JM: When Kate and I met, I hadn’t long moved back from Glasgow where I’d been for 8 years. After moving, I spent 18 months going back and forth to Scotland working on a commission, so I didn’t know that many people on the London photography scene. However, Kate, who is amazing at keeping abreast of new work, found me through my book Females Of The Fringe. We met up to talk about that work, and that led to Kate asking me to be part of the first ‘Close Up’ event that she organised. We were chatting in a bar after that event and that’s when The OGC emerged as an idea. I remember her talking so passionately about how it needed to exist, and the very next day, or a few days later, there was a website and I thought, wow, this woman means business! KON: Yes, The OGC was established after an event I hosted at IdeasTap in October 2014, focusing on the pros and cons of our industry for women working within it. The conversation continued online for a few days afterwards and that’s when I and Alice Widger, my colleague at the time, decided we needed a platform for women to voice their opinions on the industry, and also to showcase their work. We work with visual artists via mentorship, our online journal, and a series of professional development talks - ‘Close Up’. It’s an organisation entirely run by volunteers - from our speakers to mentors to marketing - and our events are entirely free to attend, ensuring that we continue our ethos to be ‘inclusive and not exclusive’. Jess would regularly attend our talks, support me with events, and showcase her work in our journal, so it was only natural that she became a key member of The OGC team. I think a pivotal moment for this creative partnership was back in 2016, when I invited Jess to officially join The OGC as a Contributing Editor and Project Manager, on that same day we discussed the concept of the storytelling podcast - we spent hours coming up with a name for it - ‘Scenario’ - it just worked! JM: That was a big day for two of our big projects! That was right at the start of Scenario. I knew taking on a podcast like this, with in-depth storytelling, was going to be a big undertaking, and it really was - the first season took over a year to produce! Going into it though, knowing I would have Kate there as a sounding board for ideas and anything that came up, was fantastic. With the podcast, I wanted to create something that I would love to listen to myself, and I thought about how much is going on behind the scenes when a photographer is making new work, and how exciting it can be when you’re right in the middle of it - when you don’t necessarily know what’s driving you, or what the end product will look like.

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Kate O’Neill & Jessica McDermott

Clare Hewitt - Featured in Scenario (The Penfriend)

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Kate O’Neill & Jessica McDermott

Jennifer Balcombe - Featured in Scenario (The Brother)

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Kate O’Neill & Jessica McDermott

JM: With most photography podcasts and interviews you’re looking back on that process, when the work is finished, and so naturally some of that spark has gone. With Scenario though, I wanted to give the listener the opportunity to go on the journey with the photographer, and actually be there as it’s all unfolding. As the podcast is all about the behind-the-scenes story, you don’t need to be interested in photography to enjoy it. In fact, that was really important to me. I shy away from technical and industry talk specifically, so that it has this broader appeal, and hopefully opens up the photographers’ work to a much wider audience. The first episode I recorded was with Clare Hewitt. When I met her at Photo Scratch, I knew straight away that her story would make for a great episode. She is so genuine, and her work is so beautiful and intriguing, it was just a perfect place to start! With each episode, I tried to record one cycle of the project. With Clare, that was her receiving a letter from her pen friend on death row, Duke, and then following her as she made a landscape image for him before she decides what to send to him in her reply. With Jennifer Balcombe, one cycle meant recording one of her photo shoots in the studio with her brother, Dev. They’re collaborating to document Dev’s gender transition and Jen is photographing the physical changes, while Dev writes about how the changes feel at each stage. I also made an episode with Kate about a series she curated and had work in – ‘The Precursor Project’. That one required a slightly different approach as all of the work happened to have been made in the run up to a major terrorist attack in Paris, and so the episode was about making sense of the images as they were put together for an exhibition. My episode was something I’d thought about for a while. I’d had this video of my dad for fourteen years which my mum and I had made about six months before he died. My dad was an actor with a lot of tales to tell. And the video is full of his amazing stories, but as he would happily embellish them to make for an even better story, it was hard to tell whether to take them all with a pinch of salt. The episode is about me trying to get to the bottom of one of his anecdotes, and a passage he recited at drama school, when he was in his late teens. I had no idea where it would lead me, but at the end I realised that like a lot of my work, the project is really all about legacy - how quickly we forget the past and, without sounding too bleak about it, how quickly we are forgotten.

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Kate O’Neill & Jessica McDermott

Kate O’Neill - Featured in Scenario (The Precursor)

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Kate O’Neill & Jessica McDermott

Jessica McDermott - Featured in Scenario (The Ruse)

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Kate O’Neill & Jessica McDermott

JM: My work often looks at people and stories that are forgotten or misremembered, though usually I focus on creating and reigniting legacies. I have two ongoing projects. ‘Recollection’ explores the lives of people who have dementia, and attempts to tell their stories in a single image. I’ve always been pretty obsessed with Renaissance-style symbolism, and this project is about turning objects in the picture into symbols that allude to events, and anecdotes, from their lives. The work is supported by a charity called Resonate Arts, and I was awarded the IdeasTap Ideas Fund, and Highly Commended for The Sir Simon Milton Award for the project. It can be difficult to make at times, especially as the people I’m working with forget what we’re doing from week to week, but it’s collaborative, and hopeful, and I like making work that celebrates people who might otherwise be overlooked. Within some of my commissions, and my current job for the Tate, I’ve been able to photograph people in a similar way and capture a small piece of history, which have been amazing opportunities. A few years ago, I took portraits of 400 different people who were working on The Theatre Royal renovation in Glasgow for Scottish Opera. It encompassed everyone from construction workers to backdrop painters - and is on permanent display in the theatre’s new foyer. The other large project I’m working on is called ‘Fifty Decades To Visit Before You Die’. It’s predominantly about women - amazing women, who lived interesting lives, or who were dealt an unfair hand in life, and have become a footnote in history. I spend a long-time doing research, and then make an image as a self-portrait for each character. I like to ‘become’ the character because I want to put myself in their shoes and go back to that period to understand what it was like, if only for a brief moment. Some of my work from this series was featured in an exhibition that Kate produced last year.

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Kate O’Neill & Jessica McDermott

Jessica McDermott - Anne Boleyn (from the series Fifty Decades To Visit Before You Die)

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Kate O’Neill & Jessica McDermott

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Kate O’Neill & Jessica McDermott

Jessica McDermott - Gina (from the series Recollection)

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Kate O’Neill & Jessica McDermott

Kate O’Neill - ELASTIC - Cork Photo Festival 2018

Jessica McDermott - Featured in ELASTIC (From the series Fifty Decades To Visit Before You Die)

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Kate O’Neill & Jessica McDermott

KON: Early last year I was lucky enough to be guest curator at the biennial Cork Photo festival. I was assigned the wonderful St. Peter’s Church gallery in the city centre, and left to my own devices - heaven! (no pun intended). I enjoy creating exhibitions that contribute to conversations on a social issue or engage with a particular community so, using this as a foundation, I created the group show ‘ELASTIC’ with members of The OGC team and our mentorship programme. “Elastic considers the concept that our minds are a malleable but resilient structures, continually flexing to accommodate our highs and lows. Many artists (consciously or not) tend to harness and explore this flexibility to create their bodies of work. Connected by an ‘invisible’ theme, the exhibition is a coming together of individuals who acknowledge mental health within their practice or process. It includes work by artists Jo Coates, Lynda Laird, Ruth Guest, Naomi Kamat, Jessica McDermott, and Courtney Husselmann.” Working with Jess on this was fantastic, she immediately knew how her work would sit within the narrative and how she could apply the theme to a particular portrait from ‘Fifty Decades To Visit Before You Die’ – an ongoing body of work which presents her images and research as a Time Travellers’ Guide to the past. Jess’s piece was a self-portrait as Rosemary Kennedy in the 1940s and looked at the embryonic, yet ghoulish, stage of neuroscience and mental health; the lobotomy. The exhibition enabled me to move forward with my curatorial project and also helped lead to my role as Festival Manager for the Brighton Photo Fringe 2018. The fringe was an exciting but intense experience, working with an amazing line-up of artists and a superb team, lead by Rebecca Drew and project managed by Lucy Smith, which allowed me to gather in-depth experience, in a multitude of areas, over a short space of time. Collaboration, and being part of a team like this, is key to progressing in any area of the industry. In fact, I always round-up The OGC talks with the phrase; “The industry is big, but the community is small” as I believe that, even though there is a lone-wolf element to being an artist, overall it is a collaborative effort supported by a wider community.

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Kate O’Neill & Jessica McDermott

KON: The mentorship programme is a key part of The OGC. It ensures that all our efforts encourage their careers and create a legacy of support moving forward. Right now, we’re working with film photographer and writer Marie Smith; a hugely talented and thoughtful artist who we chose as part of Photofusion’s Salon 2018. We are constantly learning from Marie, and are truly inspired by the work she makes; she keeps us on our toes and we love working with her. This goes for our past mentorship participants too, we have been fortunate to work with an extremely talented selection of female artists such as Joanne Coates, Eleanor Marielle, and Lynda Laird - we are always excited, and honoured, when they come to us with new work. Beyond The OGC and Metro, I am always exploring ways to encourage people (from all backgrounds) to engage more with the visual arts. Currently, I’m in the process of creating a series of talks ‘Art: Untitled Not Entitled’ about how the creative and corporate communities work together. These talks are kicking off in May and will travel around the UK and Ireland over the rest of the year, ideally connecting and informing like-minded people from both industries. You can find out more about the art-talks programme on instagram via @kateo_neill or Marie’s mentorship via The OGC @theoldgirlsclub. JM: I am gearing towards Scenario: Season 2. The first series was made without funding, and I was lucky enough to have help from amazingly talented and generous individuals and companies (Daniel Drever, Pindrop, and Silje Aure) who gave their time for free to create the music, mix the episodes, and create the logo. We’re currently asking listeners to give us feedback that will help to gain potential sponsors and funders going forward. We also launched a blog at the beginning of this year and we’ve been sharing some great work from photographers such as James Hopkirk, Jayne Lloyd, Daniel Regan and Marie Smith. The blog follows in a similar style to the podcast - focusing on the journey and stories behind the images. I’m also continuing to work on my projects ‘Fifty Decades To Visit Before You Die’ and ‘Recollection’. You can follow the blog and my work at www.scenariopodcast.com, www.jessicamcdermott.com, and on Instagram: @podcastscenario and @jessmcfilm.

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Kate O’Neill & Jessica McDermott

Kate O’Neill - The Fear Gallery of Photography Ireland

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Kate O’Neill & Jessica McDermott

Joanne Coates - OGC Mentorship 2017

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Kate O’Neill & Jessica McDermott

Marie Smith - Blown Out Like a Candle - OGC Mentorship 2019

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Events 7 April 2019

2 May 2019

Documentary Group Annual General Meeting

IPE 161 Photographer Talk with Clare Hewitt

The Hercules Pillars, London.

Join Birmingham based exhibiting artist Clare Hewitt for a talk about her work in the RPS International Photography Exhibition 161 and her wider practice.

rps.org/events/2019/april/07/ documentary-group-annual-generalmeeting 13 April 2019 Street Photography in Cambridge Street photography is about recording people and how they interact within the world they live. It has been around since the dawn of photographic history. In fact, some of the very first images ever recorded back in the mid 19th century were street photographs. The aim of the day is to introduce you to the practical considerations of street photography while exploring the city of Cambridge. rps.org/events/2019/april/13/streetphotography-in-cambridge

rps.org/events/2019/may/02/ipe-161photographer-talk-with-clare-hewitt 10 May 2019 York sub-group meeting Photo walk in York City centre. rps.org/events/2019/may/10/yorkdocumentary-group--meeting 12 May 2019 South East sub-group meeting A Little Bit of England. rps.org/events/2019/may/12/southeast-documentary-group-meeting

April 2019 Festival of the Photobook To celebrate World Book Night 2019 the Royal Photographic Society, Yorkshire Region will be hosting the Festival of the Photo Book. The festival will comprise the Photobook Display, along with a running a photographic exhibition on Used Bookstores by John Pyatt FRPS. rps.org/events/2019/march/12/festivalof-the-photo-book rps.org/events/2019/april/23/festivalof-the-photobook-hand-made-bookexhibition

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24 May 2019

08 June 2019

Street Photography Workshop Spitalfields Market

Environmental Portraiture Workshop

rps.org/events/2019/may/24/streetphotography-spitalfieldsmarket-240519

This workshop is about approaches to portraiture on location. There will be plenty of practical photography, going out into the old market town of Wirksworth, Derbyshire. ‘Sitters’ and locations are arranged in advance for you to photograph – or you can go off to do your own thing. And there will be a session on how to use lighting to improve portraits, and the opportunity to get feedback on what you take.

25 May 2019

rps.org/events/2019/june/08/ environmental-portraiture-25052019

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.

East Midlands sub-group meeting The regular meeting of the East Midlands Contemporary Group in conjunction with the Documentary Group. The May meeting will feature sharing and discussing each others work. rps.org/events/2019/may/25/eastmidlands-contemporary-group---maymeeting 25-26 May 2019 Studio Portraiture Workshop Laycock, Wiltshire. rps.org/events/2019/may/25/studioportraiture-workshop-250519

13-14 June 2019 Two day Portraiture Workshop Drawing inspiration from some of the most important and ground breaking photographers, you will learn a variety of camera techniques and approaches that will bring the most out of your portraiture. We will analyse the work of Martin Parr, Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Steve McCurry and many others to explore in detail the dynamic between photographer and sitter. rps.org/events/2019/june/13/two-dayportraiture-workshop-13062019 22 June 2019 Design and Develop a Photobook Ideal for those with little or no design experience, the course will show you how to design effective layouts for images and text, arranging and sequencing your content, image file preparation and PDF workflows for commercial printing. rps.org/events/2019/june/22/designand-develop-a-photobook-220619 63


East Midlands Sub-Group We held our first meeting of 2019, together with the East Midlands Contemporary Group, on 26 January and, in order to be financially viable, we will continue as a combined group for the foreseeable future. While Contemporary and Documentary members have different ways of working, there is a cross-over between the two disciplines and we can enjoy and learn from each other’s approaches. At our first meeting we had a very interesting, stimulating, and challenging talk by Mark Phillips ARPS who is a member of both groups nationally, and Chair of the Documentary SIG (Special Interest Group). Mark showed images of his progress from taking up serious photography. We saw his successful ARPS panel, titled “Connected/Disconnected”, which was the last one to be assessed in the old Visual Art category. He showed us images of a street protest in Stuttgart, and his choice of influential books. This was followed by a discussion on what makes a successful project. Although based on a Documentary approach, the comments were equally applicable to a Contemporary panel of work. Essentially it is the engagement between the subject, photographer, and viewer to ‘make the viewer think’. Mark talked about his current project documenting how, in our modern disposable society, some groups are now turning to repairing and recycling appliances, mobile phones and other broken items. He showed us examples in places as far apart as Scandinavia, Africa and the UK.

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Chris Keenan

Malcolm Sales ARPS

Richard Hall


Following Mark’s session, attendees showed and discussed their work. Chris used monochrome, on her iPhone, to document a ride on the Nottingham tram system showing the journey through dereliction, the modern Nottingham Trent University, the city centre, and the railway station. Martin showed an ongoing project (part of his MA course) where he is recording ex-Prisoner of War camps. Richard (who is also taking a photography course) spent a day following a blind person as part of his course project, documenting how she coped with domestic tasks, catching a bus with her guide dog, doing her supermarket shopping, and at her running club. John has been recording activities and events in his home town as he carries out his 10,000 steps a day. Finally, Malcolm showed photographs that debunk a report on local TV about a fuss caused by an M&S window display. Meetings are held in Keyworth Methodist Church Hall from 2pm to 5pm, and future dates are 30 March, 25 May, 27 July, 28 September and 30 November. Contact Howard Fisher LRPS, (handjaf@virginmedia.com) for further details.

John Jones

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Northern Sub-Group Northern Documentary Group members travelled to London on 19 February for the final day of London Fashion Week. This was our third annual visit to London and is always very popular. Members made their way to The Strand, via Covent Garden, making full use of any photographic opportunities en route. The meeting place was the entrance barrier outside Store X. This enabled us to get close to the steady stream of fashionistas and beautiful people as they promenaded and posed for the waiting photographers. The pavement and side streets also provided us with opportunity to photograph impromptu bouts of modelling, mingle among the exhibitors and media crews, and snap the spectators and passers-by. The day proved to be a camera-fest for candid and street photography. While fashion week was the main reason for our trip, the 16 group members then split up to cover other locations including Trafalgar Square, the Thames embankment, and the Brexit demonstration in Westminster. Later, members met together at Tate Britain to view Don McCullin’s retrospective. The exhibition, which draws on every emotion, was the highlight of our trip and we were all touched by the powerful images. Meetings are held at Kibblesworth Village Millennium Centre from 10.30 am, and future dates are 21 March, 16 May, 18 July, 19 September, 21 November. Contact Peter Dixon ARPS, (docnorthern@ rps.org) for further details.

John Dilworth - Northern Group at London Fashion Week 66


Lyn Newton LRPS - London Fashion Week Posers

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Royal Photographic Society Women in Photography Special Interest Group The RPS Women in Photography group was launched in August 2018 as part of the “Year of the Woman” celebrations, in order to support and promote the work of women in photography worldwide. Gender inequalities in commercial photography, photojournalism and fine art photography are well-researched and documented. Although there are signs of change, there are still fundamental differences between the experiences of male and female photographers, with women making up only 15% of employed photographers even though 80% of photography students are female. Furthermore, women photographers rarely receive the recognition granted to their male counterparts: 90% of photographic prizes are awarded to men and the majority of work shown at photo fairs is by male photographers. We believe that the highest standards of photographic achievement should be equally attainable for women as for men. As a charitable organization which exists to promote such standards, the RPS can play a role in removing barriers to achievement by women photographers. Our aims for RPS Women in Photography include increasing the visibility of women in photography and providing space to promote and nurture their work. Change must also take place close to home and this means addressing the imbalance in RPS membership (currently approximately 75% male) by making it a more inclusive and diverse organisation. We are therefore really pleased that the RPS Documentary Group is dedicating its current issue of The Decisive Moment to women in photography, and delighted that the issue will feature work by two of our group members - Maryann Morris for her Perceptions Project, and Laura Wood’s Self-Portraits of Motherhood - as well as a Q&A with our group treasurer, Nicola Morley, about her project The Winds of Change. For updates on RPS Women in Photography, keep an eye on our group webpage or follow us on Instagram: @rpswomeninphoto. Thérèse Barry Chair, RPS Women in Photography

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Maryam Wahid - Archives Locating Home, Birmingham, 1982

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Members’ Images

Members’ Images David Fletcher LRPS

Laura Wood

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Members’ Images

Maryann Morris ARPS

Valerie Mather LRPS

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Members’ Images - David Fletcher LRPS

David Fletcher LRPS 100 Women, 100 Years Looking for documentary projects in 2018, two significant centenaries provided obvious starting points; the end of the First World War, and the first time some women were granted the vote in the UK. Both are huge subjects, of course, and were well explored during the year. I like to find documentary subjects close to home, as this can add a personal edge to the work. It occurred to me that much of the photographic work around women’s suffrage was about well-known people – the leading suffragettes themselves or female MPs, for example – with good reason, of course, as they deserve recognition. In the back of my head was David Hockney’s series, ‘82 portraits and one still life’, of his friends and acquaintances all seated in the same chair in his studio. I liked the concept of a series based on personal knowledge of the subjects, and the idea developed of creating a series of 100 portraits of women to celebrate 100 years of votes for women. It would be impossible to claim that my 100 subjects represented a cross-section of all women, so I decided to take the opposite approach and draw them all from my local community. The project would not be directly about women’s suffrage, but a snapshot of women’s lives 100 years later, in recognition of the suffragettes’ achievement. It would be both a record of a community, and of the women within it. Since this was a documentary project, I wanted more than just the portraits. How about asking each woman to bring with them a significant object – something important to them, which had memories or associations attached to it? Then I could ask them to write about the object they had brought and what it represented. Using the same chair as the setting for all the subjects, I added a small table to display the objects they brought, and a neutral background. My intention was to focus on the women themselves, with all other aspects of the portraits remaining essentially the same. The project became a book containing 100 portraits of women from the small New Forest community where I live. Each subject wrote exactly 100 words about themselves and their chosen object, and their words appear with their portrait. This article contains a small selection of the portraits. It was difficult to decide who to include, however all 100 portraits can be seen on my website at www.davidfletcher.photography. Anyone interested in the book can contact me at david@davidfletcherpho.com.

Brenda One Christmas time, mum, Jonathan and Timothy caught the Tuesday Market bus into Salisbury. Jonathan and Timothy decided they wanted to buy me a Christmas present. It was delightful to watch 8-year-old Jonathan holding 4-year-old Timothy’s hand, trying to hide the presents from me. People in the shop looked on with smiles on their faces. Christmas Day arrived, and they proudly gave me their gifts - from J a china elephant which was pierced so I could hang my earrings on it, from T a lady holding an umbrella with ‘smellies’ inside. Not the best china, but I treasure them. 72


Members’ Images - David Fletcher LRPS

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Members’ Images - David Fletcher LRPS

Catherine Which object should I take? Up to the last minute I didn’t know: would it show I was the only entrant from my convent school to university (Cambridge – female score: one to 10 men); the first woman trainee in one of the City Law firms; the 14 years I spent in Holland as wife, mother and tax researcher; divorce; love of travel and sport; or my time as a Tribunal Chair(wo)man and Editor of the British Tax Review? I chose Bear – given to me at birth he observes everything silently, stoical, supportive, just being (mainly in a drawer!). Always there.

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Members’ Images - David Fletcher LRPS

Emma My violin is one of my favourite things. I got it as a birthday present and I love its colour and its tone. I’ve put a lot of hard work into my violin, I was very ‘squeaky’ at first, and I found it hard learning to play it as I am left handed. However, I now play a lot better. I have now been playing my violin for two years and I’ve recently passed my grade 2 exam. I’d like to continue learning, working my way through the grades, and perhaps join an orchestra at school. I love my violin!

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Members’ Images - David Fletcher LRPS

Rachel I created this spiral sculpture, to depict the formational journey of life. Each part of life connected to what has gone before, and what is to come. The central tree represents Christ. Through contemplation and meditation, our lives are transformed. As we accept who we are, and where we have come from, as we recognise patterns in our lives, the revisiting of issues from a new twist around the spiral, as we encounter the Divine Spirit, our lives are transformed. I just need to have the courage to keep exploring and following that journey, as the spiral continues to unfold.

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Members’ Images - David Fletcher LRPS

Sarah I decided to have my photo taken with my Stihl battery powered chainsaw bought for me by my Dad for my 46th birthday to stop me borrowing his. I am the daughter of a carpenter and sister of a forester so wood features heavily in my genes. My house is heated by a biomass boiler which eats a barrow full of logs every day during the winter, sometimes two - it’s true what they say about wood warming you several times over: once in the felling, once in the processing, once in the stacking and finally when it is burnt.

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Members’ Images - David Fletcher LRPS

Odile The Master’s Degree in ‘International Politics and Human Rights’, which I undertook at the City University, London, was an amazing experience. The modules were very informative and they left room for endless debates. As students we had the opportunity to engage in external events related to our course. One memorable event was the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign as part of the Millennium Development Goals, which was held at St. Paul’s Cathedral on the 6th of July 2005, where the then United Nations SecretaryGeneral, Kofi Annan, delivered his address and opened the floor for debate. It was indeed an awesome moment.

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Members’ Images - David Fletcher LRPS

Mel I have been a cleaner of some sort for most of my adult life and most people don’t see beyond this, so I wanted to show that there really is more to Mel than that. I have been a football coach and a youth leader, both of which I really enjoyed. I love clothes and have far too many if you believe my husband. Shoes are my biggest passion - I have over 200 pairs. I love fancy dress, from making the costumes to dressing up. Halloween is my absolute favourite as anything goes, so my imagination can run wild.

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Members’ Images - David Fletcher LRPS

Maddy This is the first photograph I took that made me realise I wanted to be a photographer. I was 16 and had just been given my first camera, so I walked around photographing anything that looked interesting. I took a few of my cat Suki, playing with angles and focus. From then on I was fascinated by photography and how it can be used to translate and document the world. This photograph is tremendously important to me, and whenever I have a wobble about my career it reminds me why I started, and how proud I felt of this photograph.

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Members’ Images - David Fletcher LRPS

Clare This jar of paintbrushes and various other paint applying tools always sits on my desk. It’s one of many. For as long as I can remember, colour has been my passion. Colour is like a language to me. Throughout my school years teachers would comment, “Clare has a natural flair for colour and pattern”. So it wasn’t surprising that I went on to study art, specialising in textile design. I have worked as a print and woven fabric designer and as an art teacher, facilitating others to express themselves through colour. Most recently, I have trained as an art therapist.

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Members’ Images - Maryann Morris ARPS

Maryann Morris ARPS Perceptions Project The Perceptions Project discusses the monumental void between reality and the public perception of our fellow human beings. It explores the unspoken way in which, within a few moments of meeting, we instantly perceive an individual’s makeup, personality, and being. The project specifically highlights those with cultural differences or hidden issues. Using photography and audio, I have looked at the unseen, and how it affects the way in which we engage with our peers. The world is diverse and multicultural, but, since starting the project, I have uncovered a level of misunderstanding and ignorance which echoes my own experience of feeling inadequate and misunderstood. This has moved me to want to explore the absurdity that is perpetuated within a so-called progressive society. Our physical appearance is mostly the luck of birth. A person’s space says so much more than the way they look. Our personal space is full of all the things that we choose to surround ourselves with, a curation of things that are important to us. I invited people to sit, as the protagonists, in their own space. I then created each image, over an extended period, leaving only the surroundings in focus, meaning the viewer can only draw meaning from what they can see. While each photograph was taken, I recorded the protagonists recalling their experiences and stories. The long exposure resulted in the sitters being out of focus which allowed them to remain anonymous if they wished, providing freedom to speak without fear. The voices were later blended with the images to create this project. My objective was to entice the viewer to see the person they are presented with, not by looking at their human form, but through their personal space, and the objects they choose to have around them. Noticing what people hold dear, and how they choose to live, reveals so much more about them than the body they were born with, yet so many of our perceptions are based on visual representations that are out of our control. These pieces are not designed to be readily understood but they encourage and invite people to examine, and sympathise even, in order to understand the sitter’s issues. By doing so we encourage them to mimic the ideals that we are considering here. To view the work alongside the audio, visit www.perceptionsproject.co.uk and click gallery.

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Members’ Images - Maryann Morris ARPS

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Members’ Images - Maryann Morris ARPS

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Members’ Images - Maryann Morris ARPS

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Members’ Images - Maryann Morris ARPS

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Members’ Images - Maryann Morris ARPS

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Members’ Images - Maryann Morris ARPS

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Members’ Images - Maryann Morris ARPS

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Members’ Images - Maryann Morris ARPS

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Members’ Images - Maryann Morris ARPS

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Members’ Images - Laura Wood

Laura Wood Self-Portraits of Motherhood

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Members’ Images - Laura Wood

When I started taking self-portraits my goal was a simple one; to make sure that my children knew I was present, and that I loved them through good days, bad days and all the days in-between. What I didn’t anticipate was how much self-portraiture would teach me about myself and photography. This project has taught me to see myself with the same kind eyes with which my children see me. The way in which my appearance has changed since having children is quite obvious and sometimes easy to dislike, but when I see these changes in images, I see them as art rather than flaws. The stretch marks have become silvery lines which catch the light beautifully, my rounder body has become a comfortable place for my children to rest their heads, the dark circles beneath my eyes have become the medals of motherhood. I see so much of my own mother and grandmothers in some of my images. It has taught me that treasured old photographs aren’t timeless because of the clothes or the decor. It is the ways in which people live and love within the photographs that makes them so. While many things change through time, the role of mother is essentially the same at its heart. My self-portrait series has allowed me to connect with mothers living all over the world and to find common ground even though our lives may be very different. Selfportraiture has taught me to see beauty in the everyday, and to realise that our story is uniquely ours and, while I still have a lot to learn in my photography, I believe that nobody has the power to tell my story better than I can through images - in this way, self-portraiture has become incredibly valuable for my growth as a photographer and for finding my voice. www.laurawoodphotography.com

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Members’ Images - Laura Wood

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Members’ Images - Laura Wood

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Members’ Images - Laura Wood

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Members’ Images - Laura Wood

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Members’ Images - Laura Wood

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Members’ Images - Laura Wood

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Members’ Images - Laura Wood

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Members’ Images - Laura Wood

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Members’ Images - Laura Wood

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Members’ Images - Laura Wood

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Members’ Images - Valerie Mather LRPS

Valerie Mather LRPS Children of Cuba On a recent visit to Cuba I quickly discovered that, contrary to the UK, the people of Cuba are comfortable allowing their children to be photographed. Wherever I went I was immediately invited into homes, classrooms, schoolyards and sports day events. Life in Cuba is simple, especially in the rural communities and people have very few possessions. Children amuse themselves playing street games, with small stones filling in for marbles, or flying homemade kites at the weekends. Maths homework is done with chalk on the pavements outside of people’s homes. Classrooms are sparsely furnished. Not a computer in sight. Despite this the literacy rate in Cuba, since the communist revolution, is one of the highest in the world, far higher than in the US. Many schools have a uniform, worn proudly by Cuban children and despite the dust and dirt and lack of running water, always pristine. It is white shirts and bow ties for the older boys, looking like members of a modern-day Sinatra’s rat pack, walking to school. Sports are encouraged in Cuba and there is support for ballet and boxing in particular. Football, as always, is a universal language played out under the Cuban flag, without pitches or goalposts but wearing that all-important Rooney shirt! A rare glimpse of western capitalist culture. Overall, the children and young adults I met on my travels, be it in the rural tobacco communities of Vinales, the cobbled streets of Trinidad De Cuba, or the city streets of Havana were open, warm and unfailingly polite. I hope to return there soon. www.valeriematherphotography.co.uk Instagram: @valeriematherphotography

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Trinidad De Cuba


Members’ Images -

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Members’ Images - Valerie Mather LRPS

Trinidad De Cuba 106


Members’ Images - Valerie Mather LRPS

Trinidad De Cuba

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Members’ Images - Valerie Mather LRPS

Vinales Sports Day

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Members’ Images - Valerie Mather LRPS

Vinales Sports Day

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Members’ Images - Valerie Mather LRPS

José Marti Sports Stadium, Malecón, Havana

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Members’ Images - Valerie Mather LRPS

Cuban National Ballet School, Havana 111


The Documentary Group focuses on photography which chronicles everyday life in the broadest possible way, as well as topical events and photography which preserves the present for the future, through both individual images and documentary ‘stories’. It is typically found in professional photojournalism, real life reportage, but importantly for us it is an amateur, artistic, or academic pursuit. The photographer attempts to produce truthful, objective, and usually candid photography of a particular subject, often of people.

Facebook

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Flickr

Instagram

Twitter


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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Xmas Swimmers - Patsy Southwell ARPS

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

Profile for Documentary Group, Royal Photographic Society

RPS The Decisive Moment - Edition 15 - March 2019