Conversations / June x Rachael

June & Rachael

R: What is it about community and shared spaces that drew you to photographing them? And in photographing such a range of spaces, what did you discover about communities?

J: During my masters one of my professors told me that there was no such thing as community and I disagree with that 100%, community is not as it was in the 50s and 60s, but it is there and buildings that are public space are often where community is still thriving. I set about exploring different public spaces to try to reconnect and to get an insight into the communities which are close by.

Additionally, I had spent a lot of time travelling and felt disconnected with my local area. One of my first projects was to photograph my local library, I had borrowed books from that library as a child and it was closing-down and moving to another building in the area (the building was subsequently knocked down and redeveloped into housing).  I loved walking through the building, remembering the times when I read for hours in that space. I focused on the traces left behind once most of the furniture and the people had gone.

R: Have you ever worked collectively with a group of photographers before to produce a project/ exhibition and how did you find it?

J: I have worked with small groups of photographers in the past to produce an exhibition.  It worked very well especially as all the tasks such as marketing, curating etc. shared out within the group.  We all pulled together and had fun along the way. But it’s not easy, there’s a lot to think about and the biggest part was trying to find funding for materials for printing and framing.

R: As someone with a career outside of the photography industry what have been your impressions of it?

J: For me the photography industry has felt male dominated, London centric and a little bit cliquey.  It is amazing that things are finally changing. There are many more organisations championing female photographers.  Also, there are many great organisations ready to promote the work of photographers outside of London such as Redeye and Lens Think Yorkshire.

R: And my nosy question is how did you manage to convince them to let you in a masonic lodge with a camera?

J: Lol, that’s a great question.  I just asked them! I was sitting next to a friend’s father at Christmas dinner one year and asking him about the Freemasons.  I had the opinion that it was a secret society that didn’t welcome visitors. I was surprised to find out that they had female Freemasons and welcomed visitors through family days etc.  So, I asked to photograph the building that I was close to where I grew up and they said yes!

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