Wendy Ewald - Portraits and Dreams
Noni Stacey - Photography of Protest and Community: The Radical Collectives of the 1970s
Watch the Facebook Livestream recording below:
For the sixth in our series of In Focus talks we were pleased to host book launches of Wendy Ewald's acclaimed Portaits and Dreams and Noni Stacey's highly anticipated Photography of Protest and Community.
When Wendy Ewald arrived in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains in 1975, she began a project that aimed to reveal the lives, intimate dreams and fears of local schoolchildren. Tasked with finding authentic ways of representing the lives of these children, she gave each of them a camera and interviewed them about their childhood in the mountains. Through these intriguing transcripts and photographs, we discover the lives of families as seen through the eyes of their children: where domestic, rural life is understood with startling openness and depth.
During the 1970s, London-based photographers joined together to form collectives which engaged with local and international political protest in cities across the UK. Noni Stacey's book is a survey of the radical community photography that these collectives produced. Through archival research, interviews and newly discovered photographic and ephemeral material, Stacey tells the story of the Hackney Flashers Collective, Exit Photography Group, Half Moon Photography Workshop, producers of Camerawork magazine, and the community darkrooms, North Paddington Community Darkroom and Blackfriars Photography Project. It reveals how they created a 'history from below', positioning themselves outside of established mainstream media, and aiming to make the invisible visible by bringing the disenfranchised and marginalised into the political debate.
Wendy Ewald was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1951. She started the Half Moon Gallery in the foyer of the Half Moon Theatre in 1972, one of a few galleries alongside The Photographers' Gallery which was exhibiting photography at the time (a chapter in Noni Stacey’s book is devoted to this subject).
Since returning to the States in the 70s she has collaborated on photography projects with children, families, women, workers and teachers over a 40 year period.. Her projects start as documentary investigations and move on to probe questions of identity and cultural differences. She’s worked in the United States, Labrador, Colombia, India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Holland, Mexico and Tanzania. She has had solo exhibitions at the International Center of Photography in New York, the Corcoran Gallery of American Art, the Fotomuseum in Winterthur, Switzerland among others and participated in the 1997 Whitney Biennial. Her many honors include a MacArthur Fellowship, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Noni Stacey is a writer, political researcher and photo historian. Her PhD, ‘Community Photography’: Radicalism and a culture of protest in the London based photography collectives of the 1970s, was funded through the Arts and Humanities Research Council and awarded in December 2017 from University of the Arts London. She completed an MA in the history and theory of photography at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in 2010 (awarded Distinction, 2011). Before returning to education, she worked as a freelance picture editor and researcher for publications such as Guardian Weekend Magazine, The Guardian and The Independent on Sunday. Noni has also worked as a TV news producer and journalist.
Banner Image: © Wendy Ewald
Left Image: © Noni Stacey