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One Summer in Swineshead Sharing Event

Earlier on this year, artist Katie Smith launched her ‘One Summer in Swineshead’ project.

The twist in this particular project was that the photographs were not taken by Katie, they were in fact be taken by residents of Swineshead village! Initially, nine members of the Swineshead community were each to be provided with a 27 photo disposable camera and a scrap book, then these nine community members would then pass the cameras and log books to nine other residents of Swineshead, altogether the project intended to enroll 27  amateur photographers with each participant using their nine photos and the log book to document all things Swineshead.

Here is just a selection of images participants have taken…

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(Image taken by Participant Rosi Campbell)

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(Image taken by Participant Irene Cock)

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(Image taken by Participant Barbara Craven)

On Tuesday 21st October, residents of Swineshead gathered in the Village Hall enticed by the the promise of tea and cake to see the final work from the One Summer in Swineshead  project. From the original 27 intended participants, the final number of residents taking part was in fact 26. This event was the first chance for the 26 people who shared 9 cameras to view their results at capturing ‘One Summer in Swineshead’ in photographic form as well as a special occasion to discuss and share their images!

Michelle Lee, One Summer in Swineshead participant, said;Whilst reading posts on the Swineshead Facebook page last summer, I came across a status by Katie Smith asking for participants in a photography project. The idea was for residents to take photos of their summer in swineshead. Although not a great photographer, it was an opportunity to become involved in the community and do something unusual during the summer holidays. Having spent a big part of my life in swineshead and seeing how much it has changed in the last 20 years, I felt it would be a great experience to do something which would provide future generations with a visual record of the village in 2014. The whole project was really enjoyable; writing the notes to accompany each photo, meeting Katie, getting together with other residents to pass the camera on and of course taking the actual photos. The pre-exhibition was a wonderful chance to see Swineshead viewed through the eyes of other residents and was almost a ‘sneak peek’ into the lives of the people that I probably have met around and about. It made me realise that despite having lived here on and off for the past 20years, there is so much left to discover!’

Special thanks goes out to the residents of Swineshead, as the One Summer in Swineshead sharing event turned out to be a huge success, everyone was excited to see what the most popular photograph was going to be – and ofcourse, it was the duck pond!

Katie Smith, artist, said: ‘For me as an artist, working with Transported represents an opportunity to take risks and to try new ways of engaging people in creative activities. One Summer in Swineshead has been a really exciting and very unusual project to work on because I’ve had the freedom to try a new approach. Much of my work involves signing people up to take part in a creative workshop at a fixed time in a located space such as a gallery, school, library or community centre, for example, and at the beginning of a project I generally know how many people I’m working with.

I developed One Summer in Swineshead in a completely different way; I planted the seed of my project idea in the village’s Facebook forum and asked that interested people put themselves forward to work with me. After lots of exciting discussion online, 9 people committed to the project and I met them in their homes and issued them with a disposable camera and a photo-log to document their lives at leisure within a 6 day timeframe.

A condition of the project was that after 6 days each photographer would hand the camera and log onto a friend, relative or colleague in the village to do the same. Three people shared each camera and the project community grew through social networks. This was quite a scary way of working for me as I had to relinquish some of my organisation control of the project for it to work; it was like taking a step into the unknown.

I was very relieved when after a month all of the cameras were handed back to me along with their photo-log counterparts. The camera’s films were then developed and the photographers invited to a sharing event in the Village Hall where they could view One Summer in Swineshead in its collective form. Observing from the side-lines during this event I was struck by the intimacy of sharing real printed photographs; it was an evening of making connections with people and places, sharing stories and reminiscing, but most of all as one visitor remarked ‘bringing photographs to life’.

The complete archive of photographs from the project is now online. Each photo is accompanied by its photo-log description which gives a lovely insight into the photographer’s thoughts when creating their image. Collectively the photographs convey a strong sense of pride in what this community sees as its assets through its people, places and organisations. I am looking forward to curating an exhibition of selected images in the New Year and seeing the rest of the village’s reaction to it.’

The full archive of photographs from the project is available online to view here, with an exhibition in the village to follow in early 2015. Keep checking our website for further news!

Image: Katie Smith