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A quadtych on show at ElectroStudios

14 months of solitude: a photographic conversation

Like so many people at the beginning of lockdown, I thought, With all the restrictions of where I can’t go and what I can’t do, what the hell am I going to do?, writes HOT photographer and reporter, John Cole.

But during a phone call with fellow photographer Lauris Morgan-Griffiths at the beginning of lockdown, I saw a way out of the lockdowned creative morass. Lauris told me about an exhibition she had been part of at Solaris Gallery, where photographers sent each other images, and then each artist responded with their photo and sent it on to the next in line. And the proverbial light over my head exploded with luminosity!

Lauris and I invited Alex Brattell and James Robertshaw to join us and the process began. Our aim was to create something creatively positive out of lockdown, thinking laterally of how to make the best of difficult times, while keeping our creative juices flowing by taking our photography in a fresh direction.

One of us would take a photograph, send it to the next person, who would then respond to that image in their own way: in colour, shape, feel or texture. There were no rules, no brief or theme; the images could be literal, abstract or reportage. This continued in a circular way for two and a half rounds, making 40 images.

Occasionally the recipient would have no idea what it was they were looking at, or indeed, how to answer. But then we reminded ourselves that conversations meander, change, hiccup and peter out, and so it was with our photographic conversation.

The result, we feel, is an extraordinary silent pictorial chat, skidding around subjects and genres. For all four photographers, the project had a liberating effect from the shackles of lockdown.

I found it to be a wonderful way to shake off the Lockdown Blues, and the longer the project went on, the more I enjoyed pushing my own photographic boundaries.

For James, “The process facilitated freedom of thought and communication without judgment. It was a huge pleasure to be involved.”

Alex loved the more contemplative ways of thinking. “To carefully consider the pictures my friends sent me, free from the usual contingencies of purpose, deadlines, layouts and budgets, was fruitful and luxurious.”

And for Lauris, it was a totally refreshing project. “It was fun and also challenging. I think the result is an eclectic collection of images – with its own bizarre logic.”

14 Months of Solitude/A Photographic Conversation will be on show at Electro Studios, Seaside Road, St. Leonards TN38 0AL, 6-7 November, 11am-5pm both days.

There will be a preview this coming Friday evening, 5 November, from 5pm until the wine runs out.


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Posted 17:56 Saturday, Oct 30, 2021 In: Arts News

Also in: Arts News

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