Monthly Archives: September 2016

The year of the Crafts People

It seems hardly any time since we packed away the 100 Portraits of those significant people in the region and now we are half way through a project to record craftspeople in the North East. Not only is the photography going well but we already have venues interested in exhibiting our new photographs.
We started slowly with a couple of crafts men: James Mason laying a hedge and Joe McElwee working at his wood turning. With the visit to Stephen Lunn and his daughter Ashlee at their 300 year old smithy we had a sense of where the project might go and what we needed to photograph, so that we could best convey the sense of each craft. This would be a departure for us as we would need to produce a portrait but also capture the work practices and the end products of each crafts person.
After those tentative early days we photographed a wide range of activities including the restorative work of Harrison and Harrison (the Durham Company that rebuilds and restores organs). Whilst there, our two photographers were fortunate to witness the finishing of the massive pipe system that lies at the heart of the famous King’s College Cambridge organ.
Amongst other crafts we discovered a Corn Dolly weaver; a craft more readily associated with East Anglia. Travelling further afield we photographed wood carvers and bespoke furniture makers even a small company in Northumberland that hand makes the finest artist pastels. We were, and still are, welcomed everywhere we went. The two photographers who visited Hardy’s of Alnwick (makers of top fishing equipment) spent several hours being shown every aspect of the building of fishing reels and bamboo fly rods.
As with our portraits project, we have been able to witness the work of fine crafts people, producing the most amazing items. As with our previous Portraits Project we have tried to use only natural light which, being confined to the crafts person’s work place has often meant low light and difficult shooting angles. Each challenge has only pushed our photographers to produce better work.

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