Liquid Light - Photography Project


A group of eleven young people from the Charnwood area gathered to take part in a photography arts exchange project called Liquid Light as part of our ongoing CYAN and 'Connecting Communities' programmes. It was run by two Jamaican photographers, Andrew Smith and Arlene Brown, who have working around the East Midlands and Zoe Childerley from Charnwood Arts. The workshop lasted three days and was held at the Next Level youth games cafe. Here are some of the thoughts of participants.

"On the first day of the workshop we got to know each other a little bit better. Most of us were the same age. Like the photographers two of us weren’t British, there was also a Chinese boy and a German girl, but between us our ancestry was also Scottish, Irish, Gujarati and Welsh."

"At the beginning we sat around a table and Kevin from Charnwood Arts, explained to us the project and its aims. The main aim of the project was to ask the question, ‘who do we think we are?’ and express this through photography. The final works would be shown in the Charnwood Museum."

"For this project it would be important to connect young people from different communities, backgrounds and cultures. Another aim was to teach the skills needed when approaching photography.

After this detailed introduction we and the photographers had a clearer understanding of what we had to do."

"At Andrew’s proposal everyone introduced themselves and talked about their backgrounds. Following that we split into pairs who knew nothing about each other before that day. We talked about our life, so we had a better imagination about the other person. When we finished the conversation we gave a talk about our partners and how we would photograph them. It was amazing how different the talks were.

The photographers told us we had to take pictures of objects and people that were part of our identity. For that reason we got disposable cameras. Andrew and Arlene demonstrated digital cameras to the group. Using the digital cameras we took pictures of our favourite body parts such as eyes, nose, hands etc. which we thought defined us.
We learned how to set up a studio and how to use lighting and backdrops in the studio. Then we started to take photos of each other with different facial expressions and poses. It wasn’t great fun to stand in the light of the headlamps, because it was so hot. We felt like we were making a photo shoot for a magazine."

"Some of us brought personal objects in which were photographed. These photos were taken in both colour and black and white to enable us to see the different effects."

"When the photos from the disposable cameras had been developed, each person chose their favourite photographs and showed them to the group. We discussed the photos in relation to our final piece of work in order to update Zoe (co-ordinator). Zoe encouraged us to think about using words and phrases in our final visual piece of work. She also helped us how to create our collages and gave us some directions with our ideas.

Everybody thought the project was a success and felt that the disposable cameras gave us the freedom to take photos that truly represented us. Our group had varying levels of photographic experience, but everyone had something to learn. How people saw you and how you saw yourself was a thought provoking issue and proved an interesting starting point. Liquid Light was thoroughly enjoyable and we all had a laugh.

Then...we began the process of organising our first ever exhibition......!"

The exhibition of A1 sized images was held at Charnwood Museum in the following Autumn.


Tue 10th July, 2012 @ 10:28pm by Andrew P. Smith

10 years later I still look back with pleasure when I remember working with the team at Charnwood Arts, spear-headed by Kev Ryan. I met many friends, enjoyed myself immensely and learned a great amount during my time there, as I did during the entire Liquid Light exchange. Thanks.

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