Jewellery Quarter Project - by six SPS members

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Jewellery Quarter Project - by six SPS members

Post  Mike Williams on Thu Oct 03, 2013 7:06 am


Over the course of this year, a small group of Smethwick members have created a group photography project based on the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. The group comprises; Maria Ollis, Terry O’Connor, Paul Cutland, Kaz Diller, graham Hales and myself.

When we started the project, we had little idea of what we might achieve. It was just a desire to try and put together a group project that brought us together.

In selecting the Jewellery Quarter as our subject we knew it is a subject that was both interesting and broad enough to be able to accommodate several different perspectives.

In the early days, we met at the club on a Monday to discuss ideas and to share thoughts. We each started to take pictures, discussing them at our meetings, and little by little we saw that something was taking shape. We then focused on an end point, which was to be an exhibition, ideally at Smethwick, after the end of summer. As we shared ideas, it emerged that our individual interpretations of the Jewellery Quarter were all different, and actually complementary to each other.

At that point we started to talk about what we might like to achieve from the project, setting objectives, so to speak. We felt that a good goal would be to produce our joint interpretation of the Quarter, and we started to be aware that we each had a different interoperation of the area. What was better, is that we started to see how the pictures would work well together.

As spring approached we became more active as photographers, and our monthly meetings became important as they gave us the opportunity to share ideas and generally help each other.

As our individual panels were starting to take shape, we stumbled across a great opportunity to set up an exhibition. Several of us had stopped at Urban Coffee in the Jewellery Quarter for a break, and we saw that they display artwork round their walls as a way of livening up their cafe. I approached the shop manager, and the rest has fallen into place. Our exhibition started on Sunday 22nd September, and is on display for a month, until 20th October.

Our contributions are as follows. 

Maria Ollis: The project gave me the opportunity to spend a morning in a family jewellery workshop and record aspects of modern day jewellery making and repairing. My thanks are to Nigel Gleadall and his son who allowed me to observe and photograph them at work.

Paul Cutland: When I joined the project I was unsure of the subject to concentrate on. After taking many shots around the Jewellery Quarter I chose St Paul’s church as my subject. The photos have been taken over the last 6 months from dawn to night to show the effect of light on the building and its surrounding.

Graham Hales: Urban Landscape and Architecture are new to me and I have very much enjoyed the experience of photographing this subject.

Mike Williams: When I started to work on the project I began to notice various shapes within the buildings, and the contrast between the new and old parts of the area. I became more and more impressed by the architectural features of the buildings, particularly when seen from a slightly unusual angle and I was drawn to the powerful shapes that are all around.

Terry O’Connor: I was drawn instantly to the Warstone Lane cemetry. I simply love the character of the place with it’s history and the wide range of shapes and textures that have evolved from the gravestones and buildings, which have been exposed to the elements for many, many years.

Kaz Diller: In the early 1970’s, I made a series of photographs of the Jewellery Quarter. I thought it would be interesting to re-photograph the same locations to see what changes had taken place over the forty year period. I have scanned the original forty year old negatives, which I have digitally remastered for this exhibition and I then scouted the Jewellery Quarter to find the original locations. My prints are displayed in pairs with the original black and white photograph on the left and a colour photograph taken from the (virtually) identical location in 2013.

We all thoroughly enjoyed the project.

Mike Williams

Posts : 19
Join date : 2013-05-01
Location : Birmingham

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