Greenwich LIP Group June meeting

Angela Ford brought photos from a Sikh festival, part religious, part devoted to martial arts. Unless you are yourself a Sikh it is unlikely that you will have heard of the small Punjabi town where it is held. Nevertheless, between three and four hundred thousand people attend including many from the Sikh diaspora returning to their families. There had been many conversations over the day and this showed in the sense of engagement in the portraits, the factor which distinguished this work from a touristic fascination with the ‘exotic’. It was felt that there was strong ground for taking these photos to British Sikh communities.

Kathryn Alkins spoke about the creation of her exhibition of Deptford photos, currently on the walls around us in the Greenwich Gallery. We had seen the photos projected several months ago. Now, with the assistance of Barry Cole, Kathryn had produced vibrant prints and further research into the history of the locality had enabled informative captioning. The question of change arose in discussion: how does one’s impression of the place change with the seasons and weather (all these were in strong winter sunshine), how does one show the advance of redevelopment – over what period of time?

Angelika Berndt showed black and white images taken on her most recent trip to China where she had tried to show how the new China being built at great pace has yet to supplant the ‘Old China’ in which most people live. But she was mostly interested in mining her audience for views and contacts relevant to a possible future project trying to find and photograph London-based practitioners of traditional craft skills. The old surviving in the new, maybe. This occasioned some lively debate on just what is ‘traditional’ in a society long characterised by change and adaptation; and what do we mean by ‘artisan’. We didn’t quite get to how to photograph it.

Gareth Davies showed 360 degree panoramic photos taken in parks in the London Borough of Brent as part of the RPS Breathing London project which set out to photograph all public open spaces in London.

The 360 degree ‘take’ frequently produced a summary image of the park and its context. Here too change was evident both in the neglect of some recent parks funded by developers (and then left) and in the retention of certain past elements such as the footings and part walls of the demolished Dollis Hill House. Could this be exhibited in Brent?

John Levett closed the meeting with a strong suggestion that LIP should address the conflicts now occurring in London.

Report by Peter Luck

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