That has to have been one of the busiest months of my life and was a true test of my mettle. As I am writing this, I guess I passed the test.
I belong to both London Independent photographers and Islington Art Society. For the past two years I have been a committee member for IAS (these things can happen by accident, be warned). Both groups held shows in November, and for Islington Art Society, as well as preparing my works, I had to attend and photograph the Private View and invigilate a couple of times. I also found myself painting plinths for the ceramicists, as it was my bright idea to get some more made up. With the help of some fellow members we had got two of the plinths delivered to my flat a good month before the exhibition. Needless to say I finally got around to painting them two days before delivery!
Just want to take this opportunity as a ‘keep-fit’ advocate that I think coping with a hectic lifestyle is made a whole lot easier by keeping fit & active…when necessary, I can literally run from one place to the other, and lugging equipment and framed works around town when you don’t drive needs a certain level of strength and determination! I am not suggesting we should run ourselves ragged, but when several opportunities happen at once, you need to be at the top of your game to accept them.
I managed to get a quick trip to Leigh-on-sea with a fellow photographer. After having fun on the barren beach, we went to see Laura Pannack's exhibition at the Francesca Maffeo Gallery. This was my second visit since it opened back in June. I get the distinct feeling I will become quite familiar with that part of Essex!
Other highlights were the Alexandra palace Fireworks display and a ‘Giving Thanks’ dinner held at my friends’ on Thanksgiving. The idea was we would take it in turns to say what we were grateful for. Some people were more grateful than others!
I have been very disciplined of late, so allowed myself to let my hair down at the Total Boxer (new venue) House-warming party, and managed to bust some moves which for me usually indicates a successful evening!
Work wise, I took my annual outing to Islington & Camden cemetery for the Mayoral Remembrance Service: I have been photographing the event for around nine years now! Yesterday (30th November), I did a job for a new client, WCAL. They provide educational resources for children, so I was photographing kids looking happy about learning! I had a lot of equipment to lug, so had to take cab both ways - on the way there I got to listen to a radio phone-in, discussing Tony Blair & the Chilcott enquiry, and on the way back we hit Arsenal match-day traffic which added 30 minutes to the hour-long journey. My driver told me he has worked for Uber since May and this was his worst journey to date!
Footnote. Whilst writing this the website has crashed at least ten times, which means I have been re-writing, then saving words after every few sentences! I also wanted to upload some other pictures, but have discovered one of my memory cards has corrupted. This is just how it goes sometimes :(
The overwhelming amount of energy this month, unsurprisingly went on Downtime/Hanami – my biggest solo-show to date…
My son, Sam, turned sixteen mid-month, so I squeezed in a cake-making enterprise in two sessions: one late at night and one early the next morning. I needed sustenance that week, so a slice a day kept my energy up! The exhibition was hung on his birthday with the generous help of three LIP members– one of whom had only joined the month before. He offered his services and I was happy to have any help I could get!
The Private View was immense, especially as I was busy tearing my hair out making labels not long before the grand opening. A good friend of mine had arrived early to help, and was telling me for at least an hour that I should probably get ready now! Lots of people turned up, including a good number of my subjects – many more of them visited at other times. It was nice to see people reading the mini-stories that went alongside the images, and discussing the people and their passions.
Throughout the show, I got to meet new people, catch-up with old friends and family members, and got my name out and about in photography circles. I attended meetings with Picture Editors, sold some work and got myself some tuition clients. That can't be bad!
My exhibition was part of Photomonth, an international Photography festival that takes place most years in the east of London and runs from 1st October to 30th November. It facilitates the opportunity for hundreds of photographers, amateur and professional to showcase their work in a multitude of environments. Through the show and the space I got to meet some great people, and feel more than ever that photographers are helping each other out, in recognition of a shared passion. Two people that deserve mention are Nick Findlar, conflict photographer and Marcus Bastel, Landscape/ people photographer.
Nick was showing at Republic when I took Sam down to show him the space. We chatted about all things photography and he subsequently put me in touch with a wine supplier, who gave me a good deal on wine for my Private View.
Marcus Bastel dropped by my exhibition as he was preparing for his own: Faces of Mustang which is running now - check it out! Marcus recognised one of my pieces, as another version was on show at the Photomonth Photo Open in Richmix, where he also had work. It turned out that due to work commitments I could not collect my piece from Richmix when the show ended, so I had brainwave, and asked Marcus if he would mind picking mine up, figuring he'd be collecting his own. He agreed and I shall collect it this afternoon when I go to see his show!
It's over a week since the exhibition ended and I am yet to recall all that happened. I was hoping to avoid too much of a comedown, but like any show, there is always a little deflation after the build-up and performance. You're only as good as your last job/show as they say.
I worked on Downtime for around three years, and I am sure it will continue in some way. I would love to bring you an account of some of the things that happened whilst building the images – from appeasing Park Wardens to racing around for an essential prop that I was told would be on site! In the meantime, there are a couple of other projects brewing which I will be working on in the New Year.