Photojournalism Nights 15th Edition – Highlights of the event

Photographer Denise Laura Baker answers questions from the public.

Written by Fatima Sanchez

On Friday 23rd, the Photojournalism Hub hosted the 15th edition of the Photojournalism Nights event at The Studio inside The Westworks, dynamic venue in White City Place.

The night was filled with an engaged public, thought-provoking conversations and presentations from outstanding photographers documenting outstanding current affairs .

Our guests for the night included Denise Laura Baker, Simon King and Carolina Rapezzi who shared great insights on the work they have been producing over the last few years of their career.

The event started with the presentation of the photojournalist and portrait photographer Denise Laura Baker. Denise’s work is heavily embedded in socially engaged work. She has been documenting communities and events since the age of 11 as well as becoming a psychologist, studies that have added an incredible depth to her photographic work. In her compelling presentation, she explained the importance of drawing back from any subjectivity, ‘putting aside your personal biases’, which also ‘strengthens the [psychological] work’ that she captures.

Furthermore, her family environment, engaged in social justice, has contributed to her inclination towards photographing issues that surround communities around the UK and Wales. Her key interests surround the travellers and environmentalist communities.

One compelling aspect from Denise’s personal approach to photojournalist work is that she is in the look-out for the bigger picture in a story. Yet, not losing to capture the small details, like it is the human “gaze” in an image.

Simon Black talks about his latest and ongoing project.

The second guest of the evening was Simon King, British documentary photographer who brought to us captivating documentary work shot on film. He presented us his photographic documentation of Washington, D.C. when it was subject to militarised observation to a degree not seen in about 53 years, due to fears of right-wing violence after the MAGA riot at the Capitol of January 6.

When asked why investigating this topic, he explained ‘to keep exploring Patriarchism and the political landscape in America’.

Simon proved transparency, honesty and openness with his words which all encompassed with the strong visual work from his project, yet to be shown in its entirety.

Simon’s photographs seem to bring together elements that form conversations and interactions that are symbolic and representative of the political landscape in America. Some of the work he shared from this project evidenced how the journalists and police force members’ body language mirrored the political scene at the time.

Carolina Rapezzi shares insights behind her iconic photo of a girl taking a short rest amid e-waste disposal in Ghana.

The last guest of the Photojournalism Nights event, was Carolina Rapezzi, who is a self-taught Italian photographer who has been working on social, humanitarian, and environmental issues. She took the initiative to merging her journalistic background and interest for photography to document current affairs such as migration issues, various protests, and ultimately environmental issues.

Carolina introduced us to her timely long-term project Burning dreams which she has invested herself in for the past few years. Her project was  inspired by an investigation that she came across while researching on e-waste. A gps was placed inside an old washing machine in the UK and it eventually ended up been shipped to Agbogbloshie in Ghana. This was Carolina’s starting point of her ongoing and timely project.

She travelled to Ghana to investigate the way the e-waste was disposed as well as the impact of this in the communities. She learned that the cheapest way to get rid of huge amounts of e-waste was by burning it – often by local children.

Her project exposes the impact of disposing e-waste illegally and/or using methods that are not environmentally friendly.

Her presentation also opened up conversations on how important it is for a country to develop and sustain several sources of income, in order to divert from reliance on e-waste disposal, a completely non-sustainable activity.

Her presentation and insights, make us reconsider expanding the life of our day-to-day devices such as our mobile phones or laptops, something we often overlook.

Furthermore, her powerful work stresses how important it is for environmental issues to be talked about at a global level rather than simply national because of its scale and repercussions.

The Photojournalism Nights presented photographers whose work is committed to bringing to the wider public topics that impacts social justice. Bringing people together to learn and talk about these pressing issues is a fundamental step for action and positive change.

To learn more on the Photojournalism Nights: HERE

To be in touch with the writer: fatima@photojournalismhub.org

WONDERING ABOUT WEST LONDON?

West London zine produced by youth, run by the Photojournalism Hub and supported by W12together!

As the West London Zine project is drawing to a close, we look at the past weeks producing the local zine with west London youths with great joy and a sense of accomplishment.

Working through national lockdown, personal and collective challenges has not been an easy task, however the young participants have demonstrated great commitment, resilience and spurred creativity.
The project run with regular online sessions combined with those on field and one to one mentoring. Every two weeks, we published a new edition of the zine with content produced by the young participants. These included photo stories, articles, features, illustrations covering topics on the impact of Covid-19 on young people’s lives, the challenges that local businesses face as well as how they adapted their work to navigate the current difficult times. Photostories have poignantly exposed the solitude experienced by the elderly, students school experiences wearing face covering and social distancing and their hopes for a future post Covid-19 . The project has given the participants the experience of working on field developing reporting and photography skills, including interviewing, editing, writing, captioning, storytelling, proofreading, ethics. Working on field whilst receiving guidance has been a very positive experience according to the participants. Using a quote from one of the students: the thing that I enjoyed the most is being able to try something new. I learnt photography skills and journalism skills. I have also learnt interviewing skills. I would use it for my portfolio, CV and everyday skills to take photos.
Moreover, the experience of having their work published in an editorial has been very beneficial; it provided focus, self-esteem and improved confidence in their abilities.
For the Photojournalism Hub, the experience of running this project has been very positive. It achieves one of the main purposes of its mission; to provide opportunities to young people and those disadvantages with demonstrable CV of published work and reporting and photography skills equiping for better chance of entering further education, work experience and work placement.
Photojournalism Hub is very thankful for the kind support provided by W12together, which has enabled us to deliver this project and make a meaningful difference in the lives of the participants and our community.
To view some of the zines:
https://photojournalismhub.org/wondering-about-west-london/
https://photojournalismhub.org/wondering-about-west-london-issue2/
https://photojournalismhub.org/wondering-about-west-london-issue3/


KNOWING YOU IS NOMINATED RECOGNISED PROJECT !

The Photojournalism Hub Knowing You project has received a Recognised award from the London Faith & Belief Community Award!

I would like to express my thanks to everyone for their Nomination, the wonderful participants, the charity Near Neighbours, the London Faith & Belief and Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Greater London’s Council on Faith.
It is an honour that the Photojournalism Hub’s Knowing You project will be receiving a Certificate of Recognition from the Faith and Belief Forum and Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London’s Council on Faith on the 30th November at The Royal Society of Medicine.  

The Knowing You project is among the 40 selected projects ‘deemed exceptional’ by this year’ judges and the Faith & Belief Forum that have provided support, respite and are working to make London a city that is inclusive to everyone and continuing to do so despite the challenges posed by the current pandemic.

Knowing You photobook cover with an image of the participants meeting over Zoom during lockdown.

It has been a wonderful experience to engage with women of different faiths and backgrounds living in White City with the Knowing You photography project to inspire bonding and community cohesion whilst providing visual narrative and photojournalism teaching. The project supports participants to bond one another, promoting respect and acceptance and aims to dispel prejudice and barriers of ethnic, religious and racial discrimination by encouraging participants to get to know a fellow participant through developing a photo story of each other. The project has culminated in the production of a photo book, which will be soon shared to the wider public containing wonderful visual stories and testimonies of the powerful human connections. The project has been kindly supported by the charity Near Neighbours.

Staying Together

By Cinzia D’Ambrosi

©JagratiBhatia

We had a WhatsApp application to keep us informed of any project updates. Up to two weeks ago, we did not know that we would have relied heavily on technology to stay connected. And as the time went past, it became the only option to keep us connected.

The COVID-19 global outbreak has dramatically changed the lives of many and with it the way we communicate and interact ‘each other’s stories. Social distancing and isolation have left millions to largely interact via digital means.

I am glad that the Knowing You project, which began three months ago has provided a wonderful ground for women in west London to meet, get to know each other and develop a photography narrative on each other stories. This has led the participants to naturally want to continue with the project and navigate through the immediate challenges.

Moving from face to face engagement to working online will reflect this exceptional time of distancing, isolation and profound sadness.

“The project has brought women from different backgrounds and communities together through learning, dialogue and photography. It has been an incredible to see the complexity of people’s idea develop and take form. All this with Cinzia’s help, support and guidance. People have learned about far more than photograph during the project” – Katherine

Knowing You is kindly supported by the charity Near Neighbours.

Photo and Text: ©Cinzia D’Ambrosi

Recognising Women

By Laura James

Photojournalism is an industry that is still dominated by men. Suzanne Plunkett, award winning photojournalist, reaffirmed this fact during the Photojournalism Hub’s talk event last Monday. She recounted her impressive career and highlighted that she was always among only a handful of women photographers within a sea of men when working for agencies. Her lived experience can be reflected in the fact that ‘just 18% of the AOP’s accredited photographers and assistant photographers are women.’ (Steven: 2019). Along with the clear gender bias towards employing male photographers, she also touched on issues of sexism from managers in agencies, not being taken as seriously as her male counterparts and the lack of demand for stories that cover important female issues.

Talking about these issues was pertinently timed as International Women’s Day was to be celebrated just 6 days ahead of the talk. The theme of this year’s IWD was Each for Equal – aiming to help create a more equal world where women are always on the same platform as men. Suzanne, along with Chiara Ceolin and Quintina Valero (the two other speakers at the event) are certainly helping to create gender equality by doing such amazing work with women around the world and documenting their stories. They have worked on projects with victims of female genital mutilation, sex trafficking and female prison.

By having more amazing female photojournalists in the industry we are creating a levelled playing field and going against a male centric selection of stories in the media. We need to keep recognising the achievements of female photographers and those who are telling the stories of women to come closer to a world where gender discrimination is a thing of the past.

Reference 

Knowing You – What it means to know someone

By Laura James

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We can learn someone’s name, age, job and where they live. We can ask about their interests, hobbies and how they spend their time. We can acquire many facts and details about them, but can we say we truly know that person?

I believe to really know another we need to go deeper than the surface level, delve beneath the trivia and touch upon one’s core. We must unearth the defining moments in a person’s life and understand what has shaped them. Ask about their deepest fears, their hardships and come to understand their dreams, passions and longings. When we discover the complex, messy and beautiful nuances of a person, we are beginning to know them.

And this is what the Knowing You project is all about. It is about going beyond the small talk and making those connections. It’s asking us to break down barriers and cross unknown territory. It is bringing women from diverse backgrounds together and learning who they really are underneath the exterior glaze. Through the project I hope to truly get to know the other women participating and allow myself to be known to others. I am excited for the journey to unfold and to see how this manifests in the photographs taken.

KNOWING YOU – Reflections On The First Three Weeks

by Cinzia D’Ambrosi

Reflecting back on the last three weeks since the start of the ‘Knowing You’ project, I cannot say how inspiring and meaningful this is proving to be. The project brings together women from White City with different backgrounds, ethnicities and religious beliefs on the common ground of sharing their personal story to one another and develop a photo story of each other.

The aim of the project is to break down barriers and prejudices by creating the basis for bonding and cohesion through getting to know someone of different religious or ethnic background. Our sessions to date in one of the meeting rooms of Our Lady of Fatima Church in White City have explored interview techniques, story structures and photography. Women have shared their earliest memories and meaningful and defining moments and are reflecting, working together from those. And in these questions, inevitably the project has opened up much deeper layers, something that perhaps I did not envisage to be so strong; women have shared painful, joyful, hopeful experiences.

Being together, women shared, has awaken a safe space, a discovery of oneself through another. Who are we? Who am I? – one of the participants asks. Unapologetic, Bold, Beautiful– another participant describes how she tries to convey her perceptions of a fellow participant. ‘Knowing You’ is awakening, connecting and probing reflection on common experiences of being a woman, of dealing with representation of another woman’s story which brings to light aspects of oneself and of ourselves. Despite, the difference of background it seems to connect everyone on this important core. ‘Knowing You’ project is supported by the charity

Near Neighbours.

Photojournalism Nights returns to White City!

The second edition of the Photojournalism Nights at Elephant West gallery was met with an engaged audience, inspirational and talented guest photographers presentations, keynotes by Emma Perfect, global head of diversity and inclusion at Soho House, media partner Photo Archive News, networking and conversations till late at night at the bar/lounge of eclectic Elephant West gallery and the opportunity to bring home one of the donated photographs from the photographers printed with the support of Genesis Imaging UK.

I could not ask for a better night to present and showcase powerful long form photojournalistic projects exposing, reflecting and questioning the current political climate through the notion of European identity and Belonging.  Presentations began with Claudia Leisinger with her project Europe Revisited documenting the lives of Roma families living in stark poverty in Serbia which questions the distribution of welfare and resources in Europe.  Followed by Pete Boyd, whose work looks at where and how young people think they belong: what it facilitates; how they define who is a member and who  not; how they signal their belonging; who they are allowed to be and  what they can express; what they consciously adopt and what others foist upon them; and what they have to do to survive it, then to Sukhy Hullait who for 100 days documented  in various cities in the UK, the opinions and feelings of people towards Brexit. Finally, we had the presentation of Quetzal Maucci, whose work looks at the lives of children of immigrants in the States and in the UK demonstrating the universality of those people caught in-between belonging. Four people won a photograph each from the raffle tickets and went home with on original print. This was made possible by the donation of the guest photographers and by Genesis Imaging which have supported this event.  There were a lot of questions at the Q&A and I am guessing much more later as people stayed behind till late conversing and getting to know each other.

The Photojournalism Nights are organised by the Photojournalism Hub to bring together photojournalists and share their work, discuss important social justice issues in order to engage in a meaningful way to important topics whilst support the photojournalists which often put their lives at risk in doing this.  The Photojournalism Nights are run bi-monthly at the Elephant West gallery and the next date will be announced shortly.  If you wish to follow our work click here.

Women Photographers’ Perspectives on Mental Health

8th October 2019

The Invention Rooms- White City- 06:30-09:00

How does ethnicity, culture, gender determine the responses and the services experienced?

Three women photographers Marie Smith, Nieves Mingueza, Sue Shorvon were invited to present their powerful projects on mental well-being opening a discussion on race, austerity, marginalisation and immigration.

photographer Nieves Mingueza invites the public to write down words in response to cuttings of photos she has taken and collaged.

Do We Know About Today’s Youth Crime and Violence?

17th September 2019

The Invention Rooms- White City- 06:30-09:00pm

Sharing below some photographs from the talk event on youth and crime we held on the 17th September 2019 at the Invention Rooms in White City. Presenting on the event were a very diverse group of panellist who shared their experiences and insights on this very important issue from Raheel Butt, who is an ex gang member, Dr.Roger Grimshaw, Research Director of the Centre for Crime and Justice, Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi, an investigative journalist and photographer Robin Friend.  The presentations showed different perspectives that went along with the raw experiences of Raheel, the research of Dr. Grimshaw that points to emotional deprivation and poverty in early years’ link to aggregation to gangs, Robin’s visual research looking at austerity measures, Brexit and lack of youth provisions as precursors of youth crime.

Once the presentations ended, I asked the public why they came to the event and that was the start of a very powerful sharing of the public’s own experiences, including their own children’ being caught in the fabric of crime, gang membership and radicalisation. This was a very powerful talk event, matched by a strong feel of wanting to change things in the community, by a strong fear for the future of children, by a need to connect with each other to look for solutions. The public asked to have their email shared with each other.