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“High Street, London Resort” © Mike Cookson

“The Isles, London Resort” © Mike Cookson

© Steve Jones

© Steve Jones

The two photographers presenting were Mike Cookson and Steve Jones. Mike showed two sets of photos taken on the Swanscombe peninsula, the more recent as part of the Project and the earlier not. He showed the recent set first; in this he had superimposed the various zones of the proposed theme park on to the map of the peninsula, taken co-ordinates and so been able to photograph each zone in its present state, somewhat ironically labelled with its future name. The photos were apparently straightforward taken in fine weather. Not so the earlier set which included images taken during snow and were made under the influence of Benjamin’s notion of the photo as showing ‘the scene of a crime’. The ground could be considered as evidence, concrete and metal structures surviving unexplained might prompt research. The following wide-ranging discussion nudged into the question of the validity of psychogeography.

Steve’s photos were not created as a set but recording street-side memorials when found had resulted in a comparative collection showing memorials elaborate or simple, temporary or maintained. One such was periodically renewed and changed over a period of five years from 2017, still evolving. Again, the photos were straightforward but the questions raised were many. The purposes might be simple commemoration, campaigning such as for the re-testing of elderly drivers, or they could take on a political slant as in a demand that a death be given serious legal investigation. The similarity to the use of ghost bikes to both memorialise and point out the need for road improvements was noted. The street-side memorial becomes a place where the personal and the political merge.

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 4 May 2022.