Historic & Contemporary Photography – Ipswich Art School

I thought I’d wait a few hours to write up the opening day of our inaugral exhibition of ‘equals’ work.

Ipswich Art School Curator, Emma Roodhouse, very kindly agreed to give us space in the gallery alongside another very large exhibit of work by IDPS. The planning and execution of this exhibition was some 5 months in the making  and the effort that went into it is very evident on entering the gallery.

For people who have not been to this gallery before, and there were a few yesterday, they were blown away after entering the 1930’s facade to be bathed in a pool of light from the atrium. Yesterday was a dull overcast cold day in Ipswich but the delightful light inside the gallery immediately uplifted one’s soul.

I arrived early to set up the hospitality table outside Gallery 10 that houses the BA(Hons) Photography group ‘equals’ work and was troubled by the familiarity of the front of house manager’s face.  You know the feeling, ‘have I seen you somewhere before?’, well I had. Talking about attending night school in the building in the late 1980’s and studying silversmithing made that feeling a tad stronger then the penny dropped. We had both worked in the same Civil Service department and here we were thrown together in a place that allows us as artists to express ourselves. What a wonderful start to the day.

The first visitor to the gallery was someone who had picked up on a Twitter feed. I had certainly tweeted about the event the night before so I hope I was instrumental in promulgating news of the event, but hey ho what a surprise. Andy Greenacre was so positive and enthusiastic about our work that nothing could dim our enthusiasm for the day after that. All the feedback was unsolicited and not a dire statement was heard in the house all day. It was a pity that not all our group could attend owing to work or other commitments.

A ‘meet the artist event’ is exhilarating and tiring but  a great way to connect with other artists regardless of their preferred medium. Many of the visitors were non-photographers and that was really good news and our collective work was stimulating enough to warrant  3 hours of almost constant dialogue as images were enquired about and possible sales discussed.

The day would have been more of a success if more UCS people had turned out but Saturday is a busy day for many people. We really did appreciate the fact that Diana Ben-Aaron, the MA Journalism course leader, turned up and supported the event and recorded our happy faces as record of the event. Thanks Diana.

I hope that UCS people will make an effort to visit the gallery over the next 3 months of the hang to consider the place of photography in the current world of art. Exhibitions are taking place all over the country and London is deluged with big names so it is a question of where to cast ones’ net. Ipswich Art School has a history and was built to stimulate a tired economy in recessionist times. It is now time to to be parochial again and use the galleries locally before handing over that train fare. So much lies at our doorsteps if only people would take that short stroll up High Street. For those of you unfamiliar with Ipswich just ask direction to the Arboretum pub. If you find that then you are there.

A question was asked of me by email by an ARPS photographer friend who could not attend ‘ Where will the next Salgado come from? Ipswich?’

You never know, there is so much talent about, it is just needs an airing and Ipswich Art School is a very good gallery to start with.

The gallery curator wants to re-run the event to engage with more participants and our group was energised by this so thanks again Emma Roodhouse for having faith in us to deliver. We hope to be back in this space again with new work.

Ipswich Art School Atrium
Historic & Contemporary Photography
Gallery 10 visitors 18th May 2013


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