Sydenham Arts Festival Review


All work was hung in plenty of time and I managed to clear out the space to the point where you would never have known that it was for children to play in. I was lucky to have this particular space as the back wall of the room was strangely covered with wallpaper with a moth motif, It seemed meant to be. I hung the four images from my Ephemeral Moth series on that wall and they took on a different life to what they would have done if presented just on a simple white wall.

As part of the show I had made some small digital negatives which I was going to use for the Lumens. These I also used as part of an installation. The shelves had jars hanging form them and I wanted to present the small ‘Moth negs’ in these, like captured insect in a collectors jar. They were subtle but worked well in that it made people stop and really examine them.

I was also showing other pieces of work, more lumens but these were part of my “Flora and Fauna” series. Some of these images have been greatly enlarged from the original and it makes them quite abstract. I had some great feedback on these, to the point where it has got me a new exhibition for the autumn.

The workshops were fantastic, I had almost full attendance and one was completely oversubscribed (Lumens, as usual).

The Camera Obscura Workshop

The idea was to make a working Obscura which could be taken away and finished with your own decorations. I tend to make quite elaborate external drawings on the surface of mine and was not sure up to which stage we might get. Those attending spanned all ages and abilities. I find it interesting when I get adults that are not particularly dexterous at the beginning of the workshop but they manage to overcome this and produce a working piece. This workshop was great fun, as once finished at least to a working point, the cameras were then used to do some TTV work.


The Matchbox Pinhole Workshop

I was looking forward to this workshop a lot, it is so rewarding to have finished cameras and to see people using them, especially when they are made out of such a simple household item. Everything went smoothly and all cameras were put together in about an hour and half, not bad considering the temperatures we were having to endure outside, it was in the 30’s and rather hot!

The workshop was very relaxed under the heat of the day as we sat under a large parasol. Everyone managed to complete their cameras and then they all eagerly went off to make pictures around the gardens. I saw some of the results and they were lovely dreamy, typical pinholes. A good result!


The Lumen printing Workshop

This workshop is always extremely popular and was seriously oversubscribed but I bought in extra frames and materials and had plenty in the end. It was again glorious weather and absolutely perfect for Lumen work outside. I love the way people are so enthusiastic when they start this and the results nearly always delight. I had prints made from a selection of plant life that was available in the gardens as well as some found objects and ephemera. The light was certainly strong enough for all of these and we got some beautiful results. Ilford was used, grades 1 & 2, each person got one of each so they could compare the difference between the tones,  which on some plants was significant.



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