Photojournalism Nights 18th edition – Summary

By Miriam Sheikh

Pleased to welcome three outstanding guest photographers: Susannah Ireland, Jermaine Francis and Sabrina Merolla. Below are some highlights from their presentations at the event.

“When you’re freelance you have to compete with all the agency photographers, so you have to be quick. If something is too contrived, it’s not really photojournalism anyway. But you get much more intimate pictures from spending time with someone. If you want to delve into an issue, you have to do it yourself and send them the results in the end. Sometimes you need a name behind you, it gives you access and a support network.” – Susannah Ireland

Jermaine Francis

Jermaine’s work is non-didactic, it is open for the viewer to explore. He is interested in the everyday and the unusual and wants to explore this in a dialogue. He curates around the topic of invisibility. He makes books, exhibitions and creates work for magazines. His practice has always been about how we negotiate and work in our personal and psychological space. “I am working in the public arena and there are conversations to be had in that space.”

In the Invisibles Project this space is the street. Tents started appearing across London. People associated those tents with Skid Row. There is an ethical conflict about photographing the homeless. Why are we doing it? To start a conversation about it. He photographed the tents in everyday spaces to highlight how many people ignored them and just walked past. He explores the relationship between us and the space in which we move. The council slashed the tents because they didn’t want them in places where they intended to construct new housing complexes. He saw the tent as a metaphor for the failure of our society to protect the vulnerable.

It was quite challenging to go out every day and to see what was going on. Some homeless people had mental health issues, others were running from abuse. It was a project he wish he didn’t have to make.

Then he asked himself “now what? Is there anything else we can do to help rather than just pat ourselves on the back?” Photography has the quality to amplify, to evoke emotions. He wanted to organise an exhibition to make people aware that they are complicit in this reality and to encourage them to donate money to the Samaritans.

“Photography tells a truth. I’m taking you on a journey and it’s your choice to engage with that journey, with my views and opinions. You can play with it and acknowledge that something can mean one thing here in London and another in New York or India.”

“When people realised that I was taking photos of the invisible man, their behaviour towards him changed.”

“High-vis can also make you invisible. It can indicate your class and status. You can get away with doing a lot of things by wearing high-vis.”

He got socially profiled and approached by the police during the project. Suddenly he was in the centre of attention although his face wasn’t shown in the photos.

Project for ID (Utopia): What Brexit means for the rise of nationalism and what English nationalism could look like. What is Englishness? He grew up in the Midlands where he felt the idea of what he was told it means to be English was oppressive. The project consisted of montages and portraits of young adults whose idea of what it means to be English was less simplistic, more nostalgic, complex and multi-layered.

“One of the aspects I enjoy about photography is to go out into the unknown. You have to be open to be challenged, because you might be wrong.”

Come as You Are Project: It is about black identity and in particular about being black in the alternative music scene where white people often accuse people of colour of trying to be white. In his photographs of young black goths in a space which to them felt like their own, he explored “the struggle of finding a place in a community and still feel in between.”

Sabrina Merolla

Sabrina does not consider herself an activist but is interested in spontaneous underground antagonistic communities. She examines how communities are born and flourish in adverse environments and why nobody talks about them.

She considers photojournalism and documentary photography as a public service to the voiceless. As a photojournalist she sees it as her duty to make them heard.

From the point of the photojournalist, if you don’t want to intrude, everything is more challenging but more worthy. There is more intimacy, more mutual trust and respect and a connection that she cannot betray.

She wants the viewer to get a strong sense of humanity from her images. She wants us to see her subjects as humans, even without necessarily agreeing with their views.

Photojournalism Hub Workshops x White City Place

By Cinzia D’Ambrosi

It was a privilege for the Photojournalism Hub to be invited by Stanhope Plc to host a series of free Photography Workshops for residents of Hammersmith and Fulham borough at White City Place in White City, London.
The workshops were facilitated by photojournalist and founder/director of the Photojournalism Hub, Cinzia D’Ambrosi for the past three consecutive Mondays at different time of the day, including lunchtime, to render them available to a wide range of people.

The aim of the project was to provide an inclusive space in which member of the local community would get together and learn visual skills. Under the theme of getting to know one another, participants worked with a fellow participant to tell something about their lives in the form of a photo story using reporting techniques such as interviewing, writing and taking photographs. The outcome is a series of printed zines which will be made available in/around White City.

The project has highlighted how people of different ages, backgrounds and experiences can be brought together by creative expression. It has provided a platform upon which participants have had the opportunity to develop a photo story following through steps from start to completion. Most participants identified becoming more confident in taking photos, learning visual narrative and enjoying meeting new people as being some of their key experience of the sessions.

Mia and Tiana, 16 years old, enrolled to the workshop as they are thinking to pursue a career in media and politics.

The Photojournalism Hub launched in November 2018 in White City and since then has delivered many community focused photography projects in the local area working with youths, women, and the elderly. Photojournalism Hub has used the concept of getting to know a fellow participant to its workshops as a means to combat isolation, prejudice whilst providing a platform for creative expression and for learning reporting, visual narrative and photography.
The workshops at White City Place were kindly supported by Stanhope PLC.

Photojournalism Nights 18th edition

Photojournalism Hub eighteenth edition of the Photojournalism Nights presents a superb line-up of guest photographers: Susannah Ireland, Jermaine Francis, Sabrina Merolla.

25th November 18:30 PM

The Invention Rooms
68 Wood Lane
W12 7TA

To Join: HERE

Rumi Munawar, former Miss Pakistan for UAE 2015 pictured in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, 14th October 2016. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
Credit: Jermaine Francis
City, Country, Date DD MMM YYYY

Susannah Ireland, is a freelance photojournalist and documentary photographer based in London, UK but working internationally as well. She began her photojournalism career on a local news agency in Birmingham in 2006, graduating to London the following year to work principally for The Times and Independent newspapers. Following a brief stint working in India, Susannah moved back to London and now undertakes news, features and portraits assignments for a variety of international clients such as NBC News, The New York Times and NRC Handelsblad. She is a member of Women Photograph – a platform of independent photographers working to elevate the voices of women and non-binary visual storytellers worldwide. She is particularly interested in documenting the humanitarian impact of conflict and environmental disasters on local communities.

Jermaine Francis, is a London based Photographer who works with portraiture and conceptual documentary projects, using editorial, personal projects, and books as vehicles to tell these stories! Jermaine’s work has appeared in publications such as I-D, The Face Magazine, Autre Magazine & Beauty Papers. His work has recently appeared in Aperture’s latest publication the monograph Photo No, No’s, as well ICP book ICP Concerned, Global Images for Global crisis! Jermaine’s work has also exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery as part of the Taylor Wessing, The International Centre of Photography NYC in the group show #ICPConcerned and his solo show ‘The Invisibles’.

Sabrina Merolla has collaborated with Photojournalism Hub for more than one year. She is an awarded photographer, cultural studies researcher, multimedia journalist and participatory photography facilitator. Sabrina has a strong work ethic and is committed to telling stories in which the general fairness of the narration is granted by long pre-field and on-field research. She focuses on the environment, communities, health and human rights.

Donations are welcome. To Join: HERE

About us

The ‘About Us’ photobook was produced with senior residents living in London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham. It presents a series of photo stories based on the lives of each participant and created by another participant within the project. Participants developed storytelling techniques and basic photography skills, whilst they were able to use visuals as a tool for self expression and a means to develop and foster togetherness and friendship.
Facilitating this project has been a very positive experience and we are very proud for the achievements that participants accomplished.
A special thanks for their valuable support to the funders of the project Hammersmith United Charities @hamunitedcharities and to Hammersmith Community Gardens  @hammersmith_community_gardens for allowing us to use the wonderful Glasshouses in Ravenscourt park.
Special thanks to Tina Wood, from the Masbro Centre @masbrocentre for her valuable assistance during the project and to the participants for their trust and eagerness to learn and be open to the creative processes. It would be a delight to share more on this wonderful community focused project.

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