Photojournalism Nights, 19th edition – Summary

by Cinzia D’Ambrosi

 ©DiegoRadames

For the 20th edition of the Photojournalism Nights, we welcomed Diego Radames, Godelive Kasangati and Nic Madge, who joined us online from different parts of the world.

The Photojournalism Nights is an event that engages the audience to committed and courageous photojournalism and fosters awareness and debate on human rights and social justice. Whether in Congo, Spain or the UK, the stories presented by the three guest photographers had a common thread that united them: it addresses social inequalities and the disproportionate impact that Covid-19 has had to those in low income and/or ethnic minorities.

Diego Radames, Guatemalan photojournalist based in Madrid, Spain, shared a series of photographs on the migrant communities and the impact of Covid-19 on their lives. Fighting forced evictions, unemployment and lack of opportunities, migrant communities face a lot of challenges. The pandemic situation has only made their grave conditions worse and in desperation, they took to the street of Madrid on a series of demonstrations. Diego has covered these events as news, but then developed he wanted the stories to be heard. So, he began to document the situation of the migrant communities of South America in Spain and in particular looking at the young people lives. In his presentation, Diego explained how young migrants find comfort in belonging to a group sharing similar backgrounds. They seem to meet and be together, but also try to push boundaries, entertaining a hide and seek type of game towards law and order. This quest of integration and acceptance is something that Diego would like to further explore.

DRC, Kinshsa, Notre-Dame de Lemba Catholic Church, the main hallway of the church. ©Godelive Kasangati

Godelive Kasangati, is a photographer from DC Congo, however she joined us from Ghana during the event. She shared her project ‘Almost Empty’ which she worked on whilst in Congo during the Covid-19 lockdown in the country. Godelive found the lack of people in the street and in particular in places where they would have congregated, a powerful experience. In particular, she thought of religious spaces where so much of the community life goes around, being empty. She reflected on the impact of this, in the loneliness that was creating. “In a religious country like Congo, Catholic churches function like a fabric to the society – Godelive says. And to understand and to come to terms to this, Godelive decided to go out during the lockdown and document the empty spaces, the silence, the void.

 ©Godelive Kasangati

NIc Madge is a British photographer, who joined the event from St Albans. Nic talked about his project ‘Pandemic Portraits’, which is a series of photographic portraits presented as diptych; each photograph shows a person with and without their facemask with a caption underneath about how the pandemic has affected them. Throughout 2020-21, Nic has been recording the way in which we are surviving the pandemic by making portraits of people as they go about their daily lives in the city of St Albans in the UK. The extraordinary timeless set of photographs were history in the making – are history- as we look back to reflect, learn, observe how the pandemic has changed our social, political, economic fabric of our society.

Written by Cinzia D’Ambrosi, photojournalist and documentary photographer, founder/director Photojournalism Hub.





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 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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_20200208_104149-3-1024x768.jpg

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.