Meet the Birmingham Photospace team:
I have been interested in photography for over 40 years. My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic 25, followed by a Halina Paulette electric, followed by a Mamiya Sekor 1000 DTL, followed by numerous Nikons. I was involved at the fringes of the Untitled Gallery in Sheffield in the 1980s and was a long time member of the Photographer’s Gallery in London. I have missed such a space in Birmingham.
Photospace combines my passion for photography together with my interest in the reuse of old industrial buildings/areas. There is such scope in Birmingham to combine the two and make something really exciting, energising and importantly of economic and cultural benefit for the City.
I’m a commercial and fine art photographer who lives, works and studies in Birmingham. I was originally inspired by the architecture of the city and continue to document it as it changes though my practise now encompasses portraiture and experimental analogue and digital techniques.
Photography has always been my passion and I’m very lucky in that it also pays the rent. It’s an artform that is both accessible to all and yet capable of conveying the most subtle of meanings.
In my opinion the Birmingham Photospace campaign for a dedicated photography space in the second city is vital in the ongoing regeneration of the city and it’s a project I’m proud to be a part of.
I was lucky in getting to study photography a little at school. Although I spent more time messing about in a makeshift darkroom trying to load film onto canisters and salvage cardigans ruined with fix than actually taking photos, I’ll never forget the excitement of watching my first prints emerge from developing trays. My Pentax ME Super hasn’t had an outing for a while as I’m more likely to play about with my phone camera but my love of photography, especially documentary work, has informed much of my professional life since. Sourcing strong images has been a vital part of raising the national profile of West Midlands cultural projects and creative talent.
During my several years working in regional cultural policy, a dedicated photography gallery for Birmingham was almost always mentioned first by the city’s cultural leaders in their respective wishlists for new cultural facilities. I’m really excited to be a part of a group building momentum to make such a space happen, supporting local talent alongside showing the very best national and international work.
I recently moved to Birmingham, having completed a degree in Photography, and now work as a freelance photographer in the city, mainly in the areas of fine art and portraiture. Whilst I have embraced the era of digital photography I am still a bit of a slave to analogue, using my Mamiya RB67 as well as my collection of lomo, polaroid and vintage cameras.
I became interested in Birmingham Photospace through Flickr as I believe Birmingham really lacks a dedicated photography exhibition and resource centre for the city’s photographers.
I always describe myself as the non-photographer of the group – not because I don’t take photos (because I do) but because I represent those of us who don’t really know how our camera works, but love pointing and clicking and seeing what happens.
I also love visiting galleries and photography exhibitions – so when I heard about the plan to create a permanent space for photographers in Birmingham, and realised that it could include both exhibition space and workshop space for skill sharing, I thought I should get involved. I am pleased to be able to bring my project management skills to the group, having spent years honing them by delivering projects in the public sector.
Anything that helps spread the word about the diversity of talent we have in the city and provides some sort of cultural legacy for our friends and families is a good thing. I am enormously proud to be part of a small but very talented group of folk with a big vision for photography in Birmingham.
I only caught the photography bug fairly recently. I joined Flickr in 2005, to upload pictures from my phone, but was nevertheless amazed to receive positive feedback as well as advice on composition and the many other techniques that apply, whatever your tool. I was quickly hooked and rushed out to buy my first “proper” camera. Since then I’ve followed a steep learning curve and now think of myself as “a photographer”.
As someone who’s spent a decade writing for the web and understanding new media, I’m very much of the digital mindset. I use a FujiFilm Finepix S6500 and do a lot of post-processing with Photoshop.
My passion for Photospace is borne out of the idea of giving budding amateurs the same chances in a physical space that I had in the virtual space of Flickr. The idea of being able to offer a real life workshop space, gallery space and a friendly social space for all the likeminded creatives in Birmingham is just thrilling.
My interest in photography started in my late teens when I bought an SLR to photograph local wildlife. Although the wildlife photos were completely rubbish I soon got hooked on photography in general. After qualifying as a teacher I used my photography skills to work with unemployed young people in Hull. This led to an interest and career in community video and film, but I always returned to photography as ‘my thing’.
I got interested in Birmingham Photospace because its not just about another arts gallery. Its about making photography more accessible to everyone, removing the divide between amateurs and professionals and fostering a community of interest in Birmingham.