I first spoke to Matt Windle, the Boxer-Poet on (fellow poet) Emma Purshouse‘s recommendation when I was hoping he’d come to provide a poem for the launch of my “Pride of the Black Country” exhibition a few years ago. That never came to pass but our paths have crossed many times since, both in his capacity as poet (he’s currently Birmingham’s Poet Laureate) and as boxer (I’ve supplied many of his promotional images as well as documenting his professional fights).
I was very flattered when Matt chose to include me in “Poetry with Punch“, a brilliant initiative that involves providing creative workshops in schools including a combination of poetry, music, boxing/boxercise, dance, and photography. It mightn’t come as a surprise to you that I supplied the photography bit.
We’ve done a few of these so far and the kids who’ve taken part have clearly loved it. Matt’s team of poets, musicians, and choreographers do a wonderful job of engaging the kids and stimulating their interest in so many areas in such a short space of time. I was fortunate to have watched (and photographed) as the other specialists led their various sections of the course.
Every couple of years, the photography club(s) I run (now called FOTO-CLUB) stages an exhibition but I decided to do something different in 2016 and opted instead for something that became known as “the book project”.
Club members were offered the opportunity to each submit a series of six themed images and ten brave souls rose to the challenge. Some of the group attended my five week evening course called “The 6 Pic Project” to guide them in the development of their submission. The result is a wonderful 8″x 8″ softback book which was launched officially at the club’s December meeting at the 1000 Trades bar, just over the road from the studio. Club member Andrew Crawford is responsible for superb design finish of the book.
I think the book was a very welcome and inexpensive alternative to our usual exhibition and so I anticipate us doing it again next year. We were given an excellent printing deal by Dunns in Cradley Heath and I’d like to thank them once again for their support. Dunns were so pleased with the book that they chose to display it at a recent trade show. But most of all, I’m incredibly proud of the club’s photographers for their excellent work.
Although the take-up was a bit slower this time, the FOTO-CLUB photographic holiday planned for March 2017 is finally a definite “go”. We’re back at the beautiful villa that you will have seen in the previous posts and will be using many of the same wonderful locations. Needless to say, I’m extremely excited to be back there in an area that I called home for almost five years.
There is still one place left (subject to flight availability) so if you’d like to join us, get in touch. Here’s a bit more about it…
With two overseas trips planned for the first half of 2017 (the FOTO-CLUB Spain photographic holiday, and a wedding in Crete), I have lots of reasons to be looking forward at the moment.
It’s been a whole year since I left the old “Fotofilia” studio at BOM in the city centre and moved back to the Jewellery Quarter and what I had thought might be a stop-gap studio but has become a long-term base. And a year on, there have been quite a few changes, not only in the way I work but also the marketplace for courses and photography in general.
So after some soul-searching and some great ideas from the membership, I decided to continue the monthly club (formerly THE CLUB and f2) that I’ve been running for a decade or so but with a few changes to the format and membership system that we’ve been using so far. No more attendance fees, just an annual membership subscription, and a wider range of content at the monthly meetings to be partly dictated by the members themselves. Despite what initially looked like limited interest, we now only have 3 spaces left for membership (although I may review this in six months time).
Here’s to the next twelve months of FOTO-CLUB.