Aug 28, 2009

Katherine Green and Image 17

Katherine Green was a recipient of one of the three Arts Council Commissions presented at this year’s Art Trail. The project, Image 17, is a collaborative photography project which sets out to record the diverse social activities of residents in the Borough of Waltham Forest. The project aims to create a record of local people and communities in the run up to the 2012 Olympics and will be presented for the first time at The Old Glass Factory in Hoe Street in an exhibition entitled Meet.


1. Please tell us about the project for which you were awarded the Commission?
Image 17 and its exhibition Meet, is a project that emerged out of last year’s Art Trail where I showed pictures from the Last Days at the Dogs series, which chronicles the final months in the life of the Walthamstow Stadium. The problem with doing an exhibition at home is that you have to be there yourself so don’t get much chance to see anyone else’s work. I knew there were a lot of other photographers taking part and I really wanted to see their work and vice versa. So a few of us emailed each other to arrange viewings and a small network of communication opened up among the Trail photographers. After the Trail, Stella Creasy kept suggesting that I set up a photographers circle and combining our contacts we eventually arranged a meeting in the Nags Head. So the group first came together in spring this year.

2. How did the idea of photographing societies evolve?
I had been thinking about this for a while. I am very interested in how people spend their leisure time and have always been intrigued by the community groups and societies listed in the free local newspaper. There are lots of them and certain ones like the Cactus and Succulent Society really grabbed my imagination and I wanted to see how people interacted around these small common interests. Underlying this is a deeper and ongoing exploration of communities and what actually makes a community. I love the work of August Sander, a German photographer who took portraits and documentary photographs in the first half of the 20th century. For me, his work very much inspired this project too.

3. How did it get off the ground?
I wrote a brief description and presented it as a possible idea for a group project and was overwhelmed by the response from the other photographers. Everybody got really excited about it despite the fact they come from very different photography backgrounds and in many cases this kind of project was outside of their usual practice.

Everyone chose their own groups. Sometimes they already had some connection to it and others were chosen based on their own particular interests. We asked the council to give us the list and contact details for all the societies in the paper and then just took it from there. We are still very much open for groups to get in contact with us.

4. How does your work this year relate to your previous artistic practice?
It’s definitely a continuation in terms of both subject interest and medium but working in a group for the first time has pushed me further. I have learned new technical skills from other members of the group and am now more involved in promoting the project as a whole to generate and widen interest from the community itself.

5. What challenges (if any) do you face in realising this work?
The main challenge has been managing and delegating the different aspects of the project in the context of the group. This is the first time I have worked with a group so it has been a completely new experience. Also none of us really knew each other before the group started so we all had to go through a process of getting to know how to work with each other. As with all group enterprises there are different points of view so compromises have to be reached that don’t jeopardize the integrity of the project as a whole.

6. Who is this work for?
It’s for the people involved in the societies and groups. Hopefully the project will not only help to advertise the existence of these groups but will also inspire more people to get involved.
It really feels like a celebration of the many different hobbies and pastimes found in the borough and the creativity of the people doing them. The project is also for other artists and photographers.

7. As well as being an artist what else do you do?
I run a web design company called Red Leader.

8. What is your favourite place in E17?
Vestry House, the William Morris Gallery and the market.



During the interview, Katherine noted that the members of Image 17 all come from very different photographic backgrounds and fields. As a follow up to the interview with Katherine I asked other members of Image 17 if they could also comment about their work and particular projects.

JO SEALY
1. Can you tell us a little about your own photographic history.
I run a marketing business called 'To Market' and use photography to support the marketing and writing work that I do with clients. My only formal training is through City and Guilds courses taken at the local adult education centre - Rachel I'Anson, who is part of Image 17, was my tutor. I love detail and close up images so this tends to be reflected in my work, which is moving more towards food photography.

2. What society/group are you photographing and why did you choose that particular one?

I've taken photographs of two groups:
i) The Walthamstow Literary Saloon - a reading group that is coordinated by one of the mothers at my daughter's school. They're a fun group of ladies who meet in local watering holes and don't take themselves too seriously (hence the name!).

ii) The second group is the Emanuel Christian Centre Badminton Club. They meet weekly on Saturdays at Kelmscott Leisure Centre and have a great selection of members - young and older, male and female. I came to know of them through my son. There's a great sense of community and friendship throughout the club which is extended to anyone that wants to come along for a game.

3. What challenges (if any) have you faced with this project?
Both groups meet in places where lighting was a challenge! And the badminton folk kept on moving (surprise, surprise!) However, it all adds to the atmosphere of their meetings and I think to the images.

4. How has being part of this project affected you and/or your working practice?
It's been great to work on a creative project with a group focus and no commercial thoughts in mind. It's also really useful to have a local network that you can use as as sounding board for advice and ideas.


1. Can you tell me a little about your own photographic history.
I've been interested in photography from the age of about 10. I've been a professional photographer for around 20 years and although my passion is fashion photography, I actually shoot a broad church of work from interiors to portraits as well as my art photography. I also own an Art Gallery in Bethnal Green called Gallery320 in which we exhibit not just photography but, all forms of art by various artists.

2. What society/group are you photographing and why did you choose that particular one?
The great thing about the Art trail and in turn the Image17 group that we formed earlier this year, is that it acts as a prompt to carry out projects that you may have intended to, but never quite find the time to get around to doing. The aims of the group fits perfectly. I've been thinking about photographing Pigeon Fanciers for literally, around 20 years. I perceive this to be a sporting interest that must be becoming increasingly difficult to pursue in London. I can remember seeing numerous pigeon lofts as you drove down Lea Bridge Road for example. Whilst it still strong in the country it seems to be fading in this area, although, through doing this project, I have learnt that it is still quite strong in some areas of London. It would be great if my photography could interest new people to take up the sport as Walthamstow United Pigeon Club is the oldest in the borough.

3. What challenges (if any) have you faced with this project?
My main challenge has been fitting in shoots between running my studio and Gallery in Bethnal Green, where I'm also having a portrait exhibition in October. And where the 'Meet' exhibition will be developed further and taken to in December.

4. How has being part of this project affected you and/or your working practice?
It hasn't changed the way I would shoot something, but it's been interesting working with a group in respect of seeing how others tackle the project and their respective interpretations. It's also a new experience to have to compromise on things to do with the exhibition, as obviously I usually have total control over a solo exhibition. It's been a great experience and I thank the other members of the group who have carried the majority of the legwork and administration of the show.


CLAIRE BYRNE
1. Can you tell me a little about your own photographic history.
After graduating with a BA(Hons) in Photography in '97, I started working for Arts & Events at Canary Wharf. Here, I soon found work with a local photographic company and worked as a commercial photographer in and around Canary Wharf. I have been freelancing successfully under the name 'In View Photography' for the past 4 years, and am now keen to pursue new challenges in personal projects whilst continuing my work as a commercial photographer.

2. What society/group are you photographing and why did you choose that particular one?
The group I'm photographing are Freecyclers. A recycling initiative centered within local communities. Based on the concept of 'One mans rubbish is another mans treasure', people come together online to give away there unwanted goods. Not only does this reduce land fill, but it offers a simple, fast, free and green way to get rid of unwanted goods. I chose this online community because I believe in all it stands for and I'm keen to celebrate the resourceful nature of those involved.

3. What challenges (if any) have you faced with this project?
I was unsure at the outset whether people would be keen to participate in this project. However I was bowled over by peoples response. Things can move fast on Freecycle, I think the biggest challenge is to contact people before the goods being offered are collected and on there way to a new home.

4. How has being part of this project affected you and/or your working practice?
As a commercial photographer for many years now, this project has given me the opportunity to explore photography in different light. I am thoroughly enjoying the experience and intend to continue with this project for quite some time. Being part of Image17 is a positive and stimulating experience, and enjoyable in both a professional and social sense. I'm really delighted to be part of the group.


1. Can you tell me a little about your own photographic history.
My background is Fine Art, after completing my degree, I wanted to learn how the Photographic industry worked, I learnt printing and processing, I also assisted other photographers. I worked with Getty images as a member of their first digital imaging department using a Silicon graphic platform to digitize and retouch the libraries Photographic collections.
I now have a contract to supply my own images to Getty and have a studio where I undertake commercial and personal projects. Add Image

2. What society/group are you photographing and why did you choose that particular one?
I have chosen to the Bowls club, as it brings back memories, of my grandmother trying to teach me and my brother to bowl when we visited her as children. I have also chosen the The Pumphouse as I know little about it, but have often driven past it and wondered what it was.

3. What challenges (if any) have you faced with this project?
I have really enjoyed the project and meeting all the local people who are part of the groups.

4. How has being part of this project affected you and/or your working practice?
The whole experience has been good I feel like the other members of the group have been very committed to producing a great show but at the same time have been able to share knowledge and talent as a collective.


PAUL GREENLEAF
1. Can you tell me a little about your own photographic history.
I originally trained and worked as a designer for several years before studying photography at Central Saint Martins. Since 2006 I have been developing my artistic practice working mainly with photography.

2. What society/group are you photographing and why did you choose that particular one?
Leytonstone & District Ex-Servicemen's Club.
Leytonstone has a great history and character about it and I wanted to tap into that with this work. Established in 1922 and still thriving today the Ex-Servicemen's Club offers fantastically rich subject matter. My work develops narrative concepts combining images and words frequently utilising found objects, pictures or text as a starting point so this club, with so much heritage, was ideal.

3. What challenges (if any) have you faced with this project?
Organising time is always difficult and engaging and working with groups of people is slightly outside of what I normally do but it has proved very interesting. The members of the groups I have photographed have all been very friendly and welcoming and I'd like to thank them all for their hospitality.

4. How has being part of this project affected you and/or your working practice?
I recently moved to the area and the project presented an ideal way to get the know more about the borough and to meet other local artists and photographers. It has been great to see how others respond to the project and discuss our encounters along the way.


UDALL EVANS
1. Can you tell me a little about your own photographic history.
I studied Photography at A-Level

2. What society/group are you photographing and why did you choose that particular one?
I am photographing Parkour groups as they have fascinated me for some time.

3. What challenges (if any) have you faced with this project?
Time constraints as I have a full-time job.

4. How has being part of this project affected you and/or your working practice?
It has made me explore different aspects of how I approach my photography.


THE OTHER MEMBERS OF IMAGE 17 ARE:


1 comment:

stella said...

This looks brilliant- I'm so pleased you all made it beyond the Nag's Head! Let me know if I can do anything else to help and look forward to seeing the full exhibition next week,

Stella