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© Michael Scott

© Michael Scott

Jody with Lila © Mo Greig

Kelly © Mo Greig

The two presenters this month were Michael Scott and Mo Greig, both working in different ways in street portraiture.

Michael had re-engaged an earlier practice of photographing protest at the time of the anti-Brexit marches. His approach differed from the many who have sought to show the mass of protesters in that, using a wide-angle lens, he moved in close to individuals and their home-crafted placards. The photos too were hand-crafted: self-processed and printed B&W film. The people he had photographed had seemed to understand that and not wanted to see instant results. Generally, Michael had photographed only when the protest was one that he supported though there is also another political message in that he has shown a wide demographic. Questions ranged around the tactics for gaining consent for such close photos and whether such work could be more than a private archive.

Mo’s photographing street people in Kings Cross had started as part of her attention to the effects of gentrification on that neighbourhood and had developed into a long-term close attention to their situation. Their names are known, they knew Mo and often wanted her photos; some took them into the hostels where they lived. The photos came directly out of people’s lives quite unlike some campaigning photos which have been rather theatrically staged using actors. Mo rather showed the reality of people’s lives: not only the damage done by casual violence on them but also their interaction with helpful projects and just their presences. Mo included a short video on one woman’s engagement with one of the projects. In the process, a critique of an administration wanting to keep projects impersonal arose. The following discussion touched on the matter of encouraging people to make their own images so that something is left when the photographer moves on.

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 6 April.