In July I carried out an informal art experiment to let go of my son’s shoes from the age of 2-8. The shoe collection had been held on to, photographed and used in drawings as an ongoing project throughout that time.
Since early 2015 I have been working alongside Fi Backhouse to facilitate a photography club for year 5 and 6 pupils at Berger Primary School. During that time we have found it amazing to see the different way that pupils relate to taking photographs. Some approach the activity very seriously, grasp technical aspects of photography with confidence and then take their time waiting for specific moments and carefully selected shots. Others have fun with the camera, take their photographs quickly, snap excitedly and move on to different subjects in an instant. Continue reading “Berger Photography Club exhibition at Well Street Kitchen”
Hand a child a camera and you never know what will happen. You will get lots of blurry photographs and many photographs of feet. You will get close ups of objects you never knew were interesting. You will get unusual angles, dramatic compositions, lots of colour and lots of fun.
The fantastic photographs included here were taken in Summer term of 2015 by a group of young photographers at Thomas Fairchild Community School in Hackney, aged 5-9. The pupils used digital compact cameras and a sense of adventure. The main aim of these workshops, facilitated by Angela Stapleford Photography & Community, was for children to have fun with cameras, and the resulting photographs also revealed the pupils’ incredible talent and creativity.
As I have written about in a previous post, Jo Spence’s work and legacy has many aspects. One strand I would like to pick up on here is her documentation of illness and medical treatment which calls in to question ownership of and representation of our own bodies.
Of her time in hospital receiving treatment for breast cancer Spence wrote that, “it was impossible to show how I was situated within that as a powerless patient, how I knew so little about my body that I had internalized my subjugation to the medical profession”. Continue reading “Aspects of Jo Spence’s legacy: reclaiming representation”
In a letter written before her death in 1992 Jo Spence asked that people celebrate her birthday annually on June 15th. Today to celebrate the lasting impact of her life and work I am posting this article making connections between her inspiring autobiography Putting Myself in the Picture, her desire to take power over her own representation and a library of books which she collected in her lifetime.
Spence’s legacy is not only as a photographer but also as a writer who overcame her fears of revealing her class origins and being “found out” to be able to represent her ideas and tell her own story.
In recent years I have had the privilege to be able to sort through Spence’s considerable library of books and other material which was donated to Birkbeck College’s History and Theory of Photography Research Centre by one of her former collaborator’s, Terry Dennett.
I have recently been working with artist and art psychotherapist Andy Ridley to begin the process of documenting, through photography, around thirty prolific years of making art. Andy’s work includes life drawing, painting, collage and three dimensional artworks. As a researcher I often work with archives and share Andy’s interest in making sense of the records that we keep as individuals and as a society.
When is someone old enough to pick up a camera and start taking photographs? I remember taking a photograph when I was about 8 years old and my grouped family frowning at the camera as they all thought I was holding it wrong and would crop their heads out. That was in the days of film when every unfocused, over exposed or poorly executed image seemed like a waste of resources in the 24-36 frames available in each roll.
With digital photography, the availability of lower cost compact cameras and the development of better quality mobile phone cameras most children probably start taking photographs a lot younger today. Hopefully they are more free to make mistakes. The number of photographs that can be taken are limited only to the size of available memory. A poor quality digital photograph will cost nothing, it doesn’t have to be printed and can be deleted if it is no good…
But wait! DON’T delete those “bad” photographs that look like nothing discernible at all… Continue reading “Too young to take a good photograph?”