A community photoshoot organised by Chapeltown Community Nursery with photographer Jonathan Turner was made possible through Leeds Inspired and supported by the Aviva Community Fund via crowdfunding.
People in the community were able to have a professional studio portrait taken by Jonathan, as well as having the opportunity to take a ‘Posh Selfie’. Preschool children attended a workshop and participated in a photography treasure hunt. They learned basic photography skills and how analogue photos are developed. The exhibition showing the results of these sessions is available online until 30 June.
Previously, professional photographers were employed to take traditional portrait pictures of the children. After considering the cost and the concerns about COVID constraints, the children’s families and the trustees decided on something a little different – something to illustrate the characters of the children and their teachers. After some research and considering various ideas, local freelance photographer and artist Jonathan was the choice.
Inspiration was drawn from Gerald Donne Photography, a portrait photographer on Chapeltown Road whose work featured in the recent exhibitions of Eulogy and Back to Life by the Jamaica Society; and from Birmingham’s Handsworth Self-Portrait project, devised by Derek Bishton, Brian Homer and the late John Reardon. Through this project we hope to promote our charitable objectives: championing our locality, fostering good community relations and promoting learning through play.
Leading up to the exhibition:
Posh Selfie, on the 15th April: Nursery children, parents, and any member of the wider community were invited to pre-book a slot to take studio self-portraits using camera & wireless trigger during a ‘pose-and-play’ session. Participants could view their images on laptop and choose an image for print. Good hygiene practice and social distancing were in operation.
Treasure Hunt workshop on 29th April: We offered a photography workshop for preschool nursery children including a ‘photo picture hunt’ using digital cameras. This workshop focused on basic camera skills including composition and linked to our curriculum such as exploring shapes, nature, colours. This was following by making Black & White ‘Direct Positive’ portraits – portraits were made using a ‘large format field camera’, using analogue direct positive 5×4” paper. These sheets of paper were developed on site in the nursery’s community room, which was transformed into a dark room for the day. The process of developing photographs was watched by our children who found it highly engaging. We also created Cyanotype Prints in our outdoor area, developing pictures using sunlight.
Online exhibition: photos of both sessions are displayed in the online exhibition, on the nursery’s website: https://www.chapeltownnursery.org.uk/photoproject
“We aim for this to be an opportunity to not only strengthen connections in our community in Chapeltown after the restrictions but also to have a positive start to 2021 and create something that we can share with loved ones – all those people we have seen less or haven’t seen at all”, Sarah Killoran, Nursery Manager.
Chapeltown Community Nursery welcomes a significant number of families from deprived backgrounds and funded hours. Our nursery offers childcare places to families who have experienced significant hardship and disadvantage this year and we felt this project would make a real difference both now and in the future in the lives of our children and their immediate and wider families.
Jonathan Turner, local photographer: “Working mainly in the North of England since 2002, my photographic practice focuses primarily on portrait and social documentary work. Themed around issues of identity and community, and working with both digital and analogue processes I’ve exhibited nationally, including The Millennium Gallery in Sheffield, and Impressions Gallery in Bradford. I also spend much of my time documenting projects for Arts, Community, Educational and Social Housing organisations. Please get in touch if you’re interested in my work.”
Tel: 07796 47057. Website: www.jonathan-turner.com email: [email protected]
Photographs – Lisa and Family.