Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

One of Alex Brattell’s black and white photographs from his recent solo show, The Edge of England, at McCarrons

Look up this very useful website

ALEX BRATTELL writes about his new website which features local events, services, resources, photographers and galleries. He says “if you are looking for printing, framing, repairs, reviews, exhibitions, tutorials and technical information, free tools and offers, courses, local groups and links to the best photography writing, look up

It is a very interesting time to be involved in photography. The ways that photographs are made, viewed and thought about are in huge flux.

As late as 1989 I was making 5×4 inch transparencies in the studio on a bellows camera with a cloth over my head for a three column picture in a Sunday newspaper. Twenty years later, on April 1st this year there was a ‘riot’ by the Bank of England where a close examination of the pictures in the papers revealed as many photographers as ‘anarchists’ and yet the significant story of the day (death of a newspaper seller), was photographed around the corner by a hedge fund manager with a mobile ‘phone.

Digital technology has opened up its own possibilities whilst intensifing the appeal of the traditional alternatives; an amazing diversity of photographic expression lies before us, from salt prints to animated gifs.

The Hastings area, more eclectic then most, represents this situation surprisingly well. Seeing good exhibitions here and meeting interesting photographers made me realise that there was far more happening along this stretch of the South Coast than anyone was giving credit for.

I felt that the breadth and quality of photography in this area needed some local media of its own. As a commercial and fine art photographer I have every motive to talk it up; trying to sell what I do can only be easier if I’m perceived as being based in an interesting place – which of course I am, so all I need to do is list it.

I started PhotoHastings in March 2009 to try to describe what was happening in this area in terms of photography but also to compile the various online resources that I use when I teach photography. The front page has local photography news and listings along with a menu of links to services, groups, galleries, photographers and courses in Hastings.

Further afield, PhotoHastings also has extensive links to good magazines and blogs about photography, online suppliers, free software tools and printing, sites about technique, equipment and more.

It has quickly grown into a large site about photography (without a single picture on it) and is very much a work in progress. It’s a no-budget indulgence, hosted on free space, written and updated in the simplest way, marketed by word of mouth, e-mail and some little stickers from Vistaprint. I simply compile what I come across, whether it be an HCMC posting, something a student tells me about or an e-mail. I’d love to get it designed and properly hosted, so if anyone fancies helping, please do get in touch.

There are lots of people around here making photographs and looking, thinking and writing about them. There are many accomplished photography professionals based in this area — photographers, printers, curators, editors. Good local galleries regularly show photography. Channel Hastings has 350ish members on Flickr. PhotoHubGroup, formed to showcase photography, has grown quickly and is working towards a festival of photography in the orbit of Brighton’s Photo-Biennial. Look forward to an interesting 2010.

Posted 13:03 Wednesday, Dec 9, 2009 In: Photography

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