Something a bit different. My better half organised a week long pop- up Art Hub over at the Chelmsley Wood town centre in an un-let shop a couple of weeks ago. It was under the B37 Project banner (it’s on Facebook if you search for it). B37 Projects aim is to support local projects in art, food and the environment. As part of it she pestered me to do something.
In the end we gave out 20 disposable cameras to people who lived, worked or played in the B37 postcode, young and old, and asked them to take pictures of stuff that matters to them. They only had 12 shots (the cameras are pretty crap, but the film is 200 ISO colour from Ferrania). We got 15 cameras back and had them developed.
Interesting what came back: green spaces, tower blocks, litter, dog shit, people, but not much sky. Almost nobody looked up. What was more interesting is after we had selected a few photos from each camera and randomly put them up on the wall, was the comments we got back from the photographers.
“I didn’t feel I really had the time with work and family, but when I got into it I loved it, it made me really think.”
“My son couldn’t understand why he couldn’t see the picture straight away.”
“The escalators helped me to decide to move to Chelmsley Wood”.
“It took me ages to find the right dog mess to take. I didn’t want to be negative, but this is a real problem on Chelmsley Wood.”
“These are memories.”
“That’s the view I remember when I looked out of the classroom window.”
“A van used to come around and remove the shopping trolleys and then give them back to Somerfield’s who cleaned them up and put them back into service.”
“My friend for six years which is quite a lot but he’s been the best friend I could ask for. We are just like brother and sister, we argue and make up.”
“Every Sunday we would cross the bridge over the lake and river, heading to the park where we planned to set up a picnic area. Meriden Park was a magical and fun place to come to.”
“It has also enabled me to socialise and make friends; I met my girlfriend whilst attending the art group at the ArtShack.”
Inevitably it had to come down after the week and the shop was put back up for lease, but a lot of people moved the idea and wanted to do it again, with more cameras. We’ve managed to put it back up at the local community centre and then maybe try and do something else with it like a magazine. Thanks to all involved.