Photography Section News Spring 2016
The Photography Section was launched in November 2014. New members were initially drawn from participants in the well-attended public workshops offered as part of the Archisle contemporary photography programme hosted by the Société Jersiaise Photographic Archive. Archisle’s brief, to examine and develop contemporary photography in Jersey, continues to succeed in attracting a diverse range of participants from all segments of the Island’s community. It is encouraging to see the extent to which a passionate interest in photography exists in Jersey, one that crosses the boundaries of age, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status. The Photography Section was launched to build on this strength, and has welcomed photographers of all kinds, as well as people who are simply interested in discussing still and moving images in a friendly environment. The section meets every other month, and also organises photography walks in the increasingly rare periods when the Island is not being lashed with rain or battered by storms. All are welcome.
It is appropriate that photography should welcome diverse participation, as its vitality as an art form comes in part from the extent to which it is now accessible to virtually anybody. Early on, the group agreed that it was important to welcome people who, although they take photographs, might not view themselves as ‘photographers’. Photographers are not just professionals, people who have invested in expensive equipment, or those who have been lucky enough to study the subject at school or university. Photography is much more than formal portraiture or painstakingly composed landscape subjects. It is a practice that is carried out every day by people in the Island, often without conscious consideration of aesthetics or any tradition of artistic production. The challenge of identifying work of interest within this constant stream of images is unique to photography and the criteria for what makes an image good or of value is a subject of continuous and lively debate.
Section members focus on the production and criticism of contemporary photography, however, research into the history of photography is also encouraged and complementary to current practice. It is hoped that the work of Section Members will enable historians to draw upon a record of Jersey life documenting a multiplicity of visual subjects in the future. Photography in Jersey has more to offer than images of La Caumine à Marie Best, St Ouen or Corbière Lighthouse at sunset, however undeniably pretty those things are.
Although the Section has a strong interest in discussing the work of external photographers, a key aim is to provide a forum for members to discuss their own images and to receive feedback on work in progress. At our July meeting, the Section benefited from a detailed explanation from Martin Toft and Gareth Syvret of the work behind Atlantus, a project which explores connections between the American State of New Jersey and its smaller namesake. In December, Phil Coleborn’s image (illustrated) was chosen for discussion by the BBC Radio 4 Programme, iPM. You can listen to Phil discussing the image at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03cj6cq. One of our younger members, Tom Le Ruez, has launched Not For Profit Prints, a website selling his images with all funds raised going to charities working on the refugee crisis in Europe. Tom’s site can be found at http://notforprofitprints.tumblr.com. Over the coming months, Fenby Miskin will be setting up a portrait studio in a number of public buildings in Jersey. Following on from a successful project at Jersey Library on World Book Day on 3 March, Fenby will be manning his studio at Fort Regent on a number of dates during 2016.
Gareth Syvret – Chairman
William Lakeman – Secretary