Almost all our images are ready to be printed! And it’s not long now until the exhibition opens at Oxford Place.
Love Arts Festival launches on 7th October at The Light in Leeds city centre. Our exhibition is part of the Arts Trail, No. 17 on the map of which you can see below:
You can see the full programme here.
The last session we had at Studio 12, we explored expression and how unique our faces are. We took hundreds of photos, first using the shutter release cable, so we could choose when we wanted to pose, and then later acting out emotions to scenarios we shouted out to each other.
It was a fun session, and even a reluctant member, who was adamant that she wasn’t going to get in front of the camera, surprised herself with how much enjoyment she was having.
Being confident in ones body doesn’t have to stop at the perfect smile and retouched images, being confident is owning your face, letting go, and living. We all have little flaws, but aren’t they the very things that make us unique and special? I have an odd face, but it is an expressive face, one with warm caring eyes.
I started the Self Portrait project back in July, working with Together Women Leeds. It has been a slow process, for a variety of reasons, my own ill health being just one of them. But there is one thing I am learning from this project, and that is developing my own self confidence.
The workshop has covered topics such as positive body image, improving self worth, looking at perspective, positive affirmations; autobiographical writing, using timelines, ten memories for significant moments in life, and 3 line life story. The purpose for all these workshops was to encourage self worth, to encourage the idea that all the hardship and bad mistakes we may make in life, only build us up to be the people we become. Finding the good in ourselves, seeing life from others eyes as well as our present eyes, giving ourselves positive affirmations everyday. And take all those negative occurrences and beliefs, and treat them as a story, a memory, from the past, that belongs in the past.
We also looked at different ways we could create our self portraits. Maybe a memory from the past, seen in a different perspective. Recreating childhood photographs. Decorating the image to mirror uniqueness.
The workshop visited Studio 12 at Leeds Central Library, where we took studio shots, with the students directing themselves and how they wanted to portray themselves. The students really seemed to get a lot out of being in front of the camera and from using the camera and lights. One of the comments I received was how before the workshop started, she didn’t think she’d feel so at ease in front of the camera, and feels a lot more confident.
The emphasis has been on being ourselves, and creating something personal that will represent us. I have been against retouching images (removing scars, lines, wrinkles, folds, etc), because the study is producing work that celebrates who we are, as we are.
The workshop is continuing for a few more weeks, before being displayed as part of Love Arts Leeds 2015
Below are links to some of the resources I have used.
- 9 Facts that Disprove Stereotypes about Fat People
- Let Fat People be Happy
- Taking Action on Body Image – government paper
- What is Body Image
- The Underpants Rule
- Happiness Action Pack – includes Acts of Kindness
- Positive Affirmations
- Writing as Therapy
- Healthy Place – visual quotes (Pinterest Board)
A slideshow of the images I used to illustrate self portraiture opened up much discussion as to what constitutes a self portrait. It is open to much interpretation as the self portrait is uniquely self driven.
Myself and fellow photographer, Mat Dale, finally got to exhibit our work – images taken from out Neighbours Project – which we produced especially for the Kirkstall Art Trail.
Below are the images we displayed in our garden:
Lauren and her most treasured possession. Maya the cat.
Sarah, Rob and Huxley. Rob chose his synthesiser (a classic old school model), we convinced him that Huxley should be included, so we had an impromptu session with Huxley choosing the sounds! We’d also like to thank him for the beetroot he gave us from his allotment.
Lauren and Tom. He chose the guitar his Father gave to him when he was just six years old.
Andy, who’s helped me and Mat out with some of plants in our garden. The devastating story behind his most treasured possession, will bring a tear to even the coldest heart. He is holding a photograph of his son Daniel, who sadly passed away only days old. He would have been 22 now.
Jim and Miriam, a recently married couple, who have since moved away into a new home. The box contains messages from the guests at their wedding and they continue to add to it, writing things they are thankful to God for.
Rob and Nikki. Rob chose his bike as his passion is cycling.
Mindy and Mat. Well, it wouldn’t seem right if we didn’t pick our cameras! Here you can see Mat’s 35mm film and medium format. But I had to be different and show off my museum of cameras that just won’t work anymore (they don’t make the film for them). Included is my first ever camera, the Halina 110; a disc camera (I’m pretty sure my Aunty took the last undeveloped films on this camera); a Polaroid Land camera (which uses single shot film); and my prized possession, the TLR that my late father owend, his pride and joy. I cleaned it up when I inherited it, and finally got it to work again.
On the day of the exhibition:
We had over 130 visitors to our garden, with some amazing feedback from the people we met. Some telling us it was one of their favourite stops on the trail; how wonderful it was to get involved with our neighbours (I even met our neighbours from the street behind us); what a brilliant way to open up to the community. Local Councillor Fiona Venner gave us high praise indeed, stating that ours and Mandy Long’s sculptures (which I have to agree are fabulous) and our garden exhibition was her favourites by far. I think I may have blushed.
Kirkstall Art Trail 2016? Maybe we will discover all the little social clubs, sports and leisure….
Additional photography by Mat Dale
Kirkstall Arts trail is not far away now – Saturday 18th July. My housemate and photographic collaborator, and myself have been meeting with our neighbours, and getting to know their story.
It’s been a wonderful experience, excuses to pop round and say hello to neighbours are very few. Neighbourhoods are not as cohesive in this area due to the migrating population of young professionals and graduated students. We know of a couple of long term residents, who can tell us about how the street has changed, but the warmth that they exude is very encouraging, it makes a neighbourhood feel homely, comfortable and an attractive place to live. We hope this project and the connections we have made, lasts long into our time on the street.
These are some of the shots that we have taken. I focus on the details, the precious and most prized possessions. The portraits are taken by Mat, as his style is more involved with people.
Image below by Mat Dale.