By Cinzia D’Ambrosi
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
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.
Knowing You – What it means to know someone
By Laura James
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
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
A Free 12 weeks Photography and Storytelling course for women living in White City!
The Photojournalism Hub is very pleased to have been awarded funding from the charity Near Neighbours for ‘Knowing You’, a photography project working with women living in White City. The project consists of twelve free photography and storytelling sessions with women providing the opportunity to learn narrative and reporting skills and develop a photostory on a fellow participant. The sessions allow a safe space for women of different faiths to meet, get to know each other and produce a body of work that encourages bonding and togetherness. The project will culminate with the production of a series of photo books which will be showcased and donated at an Opening Event. ‘Knowing You’ is kindly 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
Do We Know About Today’s Youth Crime and Violence?
17th September 2019
The Invention Rooms- White City- 06:30-09:00
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 panelist 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.
Photojournalism for Young People
Our photojournalism session for young people was very inspiring today. We talked about our local area and jotted down immediate thoughts and feelings.
Exploring thoughts on/around the local area with young people
Working on editing and sequencing in a photo story.
Photojournalism Hub Presents MARGINAL Photography Exhibition:
MARGINAL, RE:CENTRE GALLERY, 7-9 June 2019
CURATED BY CINZIA D’AMBROSI
First Photojournalism Night at Elephant West Gallery, White City
Beautiful Comments from our Workshop Participants
“I would like to thank you to share with us your massive knowledge during the workshop. I will try to develop my projects, based on your tips!” Valentina”.
I trained as a photojournalist/documentary photographer but have been working in other areas and projects over the past few years. I wanted to refresh and update my knowledge and saw the workshop ‘How to become a Humanitarian Photographer’ run by Cinzia. I looked up her background and photojournalism experience and as the cost of the workshop was very reasonable I applied to attend. It was a great workshop attended by a small enthusiastic group. Cinzia shared her knowledge and experience, was friendly and informative and her enthusiasm, skills and knowledge were greatly appreciated by myself and the rest of the group. I would highly recommend her as a workshop facilitator and will attend future events and exhibitions that she is running. ” – Gerry
“The workshop provided us with great practical exposure into humanitarian photography. Cinzia is a very knowledgeable and experienced documentary photographer.
Thanks to the low number of participants, the interaction and the exchange of information has been great.
Highly recommended, Cinzia is very approachable and gave real life examples and tips on how to improve or start a career in humanitarian photography.” – Edoardo
How to Fund your Photography Project
By Nyla S.
I attended the ‘How to fund your photography project’ led by Photographer Cinzia D’Ambrosi in November. I am working on a personal photo series to exhibit in March and wanted to learn from Cinzia how best to approach companies for funding, whether it be the Arts Council or a financial company with a budget for sponsorship.
Myself and the other participants shared our project with the group, which was helpful in getting feedback from Cinzia and the other participants. It allowed us to all find out what we needed to work on and what the strengths of our project was.
Cinzia was great in sharing her knowledge of past funding experience and in giving us tips on how to approach companies for sponsorship. The knowledge passed on, gave me the confidence to approach more companies that I believed would be interested.
I found this workshop to be invaluable and found Cinzia to be helpful, knowledgeable and approachable. I look forward to her future workshops.