St James Arts, Crafts and Hobbies exhibition

St James Church,
Preston Road,
Saturday 24th February 2018
10am – 4pm

The church I attend decided at the end of 2017 to hold an exhibition of the arts, crafts and hobbies that members of the congregation take part in. Since David, the vicar is well aware that I do photography and has seen some of my work, there was no point in me not getting involved.

The question was what I should exhibit.

The obvious things were the photographs I developed as part of the darkroom evening class I undertook at the beginning of 2017. As part of the course we had to take and develop a set of photographs based on a theme. My theme was churches and so picking up a 4 foot by 3-foot display board from Hobbycraft I attached the selection of photographs I’d produced to the board along with a description of what each was and a short description of how “The Church Project” had come about.

The second set of photographs I put together were of St James church itself. I used eight photographs which I had printed at 7 by 5 size and then put in two four aperture 40cm by 40cm frames. One set of images made use of some photos I took of the church when it had been snowing (both front and back of church) with a couple of photos of some of the stained-glass windows. The other set again included images of the front and back of the church, taken more recently, but also a close up of the lectern and one of the organ loft and its window.

The final set of material I was exhibiting were two photo books that I’d made as a result of attending an OCA South West student workshop on bookbinding. One of the books included the material I produced for the Square Mile assignment, the other is a project I’m working on called “The Final Journey”.

At the last minute I managed to put together a brief description of some of the churches that I’d photographed as well as a description of the two photobooks, along with a description of the technique used to bind them.

The exhibition was held in the main part of the church, with some extra hanging space in the church room alongside.

The building was full of examples of the labours of almost 30 exhibitors, with ages ranging from pre-teens to the retired.

Painting, sketches, photographs, textiles, cross-stitch, knitwear, sugar craft, models, woodwork, metalwork and much more were on display. It seems that St James church has a very talented and creative congregation.

The exhibition had seen a steady stream of people since it had opened at 10am, with a busy period during the morning, and another busy period during the last hour, when the exhibitors started arriving to take down their displays so that the church could be made ready for the Sunday morning service.

I didn’t get time to see everything but what I did see I was very impressed with.

What I particularly liked about the exhibition was that many of the exhibitors were there and it was possible to talk to them as you wandered around. Discussing what they’d produced and why was a useful insight into different creative processes. Finding out a bit more about people I’ve known for a while, and things they do in their spare time was another benefit of the day.

One person I was talking to about photography had done the same college evening class that I’d completed two years ago, they’d also been to the same ploughing championships that I photographed for People and Activity exercise in Part 2 of the course.

Another person I talked to explained about the model of the church building that had been used during the re-ordering work that was completed last year. The original model had been made by him and his grandson. When the church decided to remodel the building, they updated it so that people could see what the end result would be. Something that helped a lot when it came to selling St James’ vision to everybody concerned.

I also got to talk to a friend about the work her daughters were showing, one piece having won a prize in a competition.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to take photos of the exhibits but I did manage to take a photo of my display on my phone, the same thing as somebody was doing with their work.

The feedback I had from various people was very satisfactory. It was nice to explain the background to some of the work, and a few people said they were moved by one of the books I’d produced.

I suggested to Alan, who had organised it, that perhaps they should do it again next year. The decision isn’t his but if he had his way then he said he’d rather do it during the summer holidays and have it open for a week, rather than just a day.

My Display 4
Some of my work on display at St James Church

St Jame Church – Taking the photographs

After months of trying to get around to take photos of St James Church, I finally managed to make time today to pop into the church while it was empty and photograph a much of the church as possible, using the list of items that David, the vicar, had come up with.

I didn’t manage to photograph the organ loft or inside the bell tower because I couldn’t get into them. However, I did cover everywhere else in the church that I could reach.

In the end it took about 2 hours to take all of the photographs and I made use of various pieces of equipment. My tripod, flash unit, 40mm macro lens and 300mm telephoto lens. In total I took over 400 photos. In addition to this I have a set of photographs I took several years ago when we had heavy snow so I’m including those as part of the project.

After performing a first pass through the photographs I’ve reduced the total number (including the snow pics) to 398. Using the 100/50/25/10 process I’ve done a first pass through and reduced the total number to 188. This includes at least one of each item that I needed to photograph, which will make reducing the overall set of images very difficult. For instance there are about 20 individual boses on the ceiling, so there are 20 photos to start with. Each of the figures on the wall needed to be photographed and there are at least a dozen of these. In total I think the final set will be somewhere in the region of 150 images, which I’ll need to edit in order to present to David in order to decide on the ones that he wants to use for the church guide and children’s guide.

Thinking about the task after I’d finished taking the photographs I feel like this has been more about documenting the church than anything else. Even if only a tiny number of the photos are used the sum total provides a historical record of the church as it was today.

As soon as I’ve gone through the photos, got it down to one of each particular item, and then edited those then I’ll share a selection of the ones I like best.

I plan to make use of as many of the techniques that I’ve learned so far during the course when editing the images.