I have been commissioned by ACAVA to make new photographic work for the St Charles Centre for Health and Wellbeing in Ladbroke Grove, West London. I am working with St Charles College art students (fine arts, textiles and photography) to produce a series of photobooks and a permanent photographic display for the centre that will be launched in April. We had our first workshop and started by looking at photobooks and photozines that engage with sites/ places / spaces and looked at what site-specific photographic work can do:
- explore poetics of the everyday in the area- things that are not necessarily noticed but are part of day to day
- investigate the relationship of space to memory
- document urban transformation
- uncover fragments of the history of the place
- represent feelings, emotional response to the space
- research a specific site through walking, drifting, getting lost …
These are some of the photobooks we looked at: Lucinda Smart’s Let me take you by the hand photonewspaper, Adam Murray’s Winterthur photozine ,and my photobookzine Paintball Field, examples of works that resulted from spending some time photographing a place and sequencing the series into a timeline that captures the lived experience of the place. Photozines can be a great way to work in a site-specific way. Its immediacy allow for a quick representation of a subject or idea. In terms of the production photobookzines, can be printed with basic materials (like a home printer and photocopier) and made by hand.
We also had our first site visit and used the photo cameras for an initial photo-documentation of the centre. The history of the site can be traced back to 1879 when Saint Marylebone Infirmary was built in Rackham Street, Ladbroke Grove, to support the sick poor serviced by the Saint Marylebone Workhouse. Renamed in 1930 as St. Charles Hospital, some of this background story can be uncovered at Peter Higginbotham’s workhouses site.