November 29, 2021

Reflecting on a second year of COVID it would be strange not to include the five storeys high exhibition. However the real highlights for me have been the impact on local community groups. This outreach work was part of our pitch for fundraising and for me in particular became a way to reconcile my initial unease with the project. Spending time with a group from Southall staring up at the front of Ealing police station felt like a way of squaring the circle. The resulting workshop back in their space produced some poignant reflections on the impact of the pandemic on their lives. I brought A4 versions of the photographs from the show to pick from and A4 paper so they could draw and write their responses. It was a privilege to hear the emotions and memories evoked by the photographs. Afterwards, sharing their creativity with the photographers whose work was selected alongside the accompanying pieces, gave us all a moment to reflect for ourselves.

It also gave me momentum to develop a pop-up version of the exhibition to create a space in a community centre in another part of Ealing to share their experiences of the pandemic.

I spent time with people in a couple of drop-in sessions just listening and then talking about the idea of the show and encouraging them to bring their own photographs from the last eighteen months. The result was a unique display of photographs made by the Gurnell Grove community during the pansemic on screen, presented alongside a mini version of Ealing Unlocked on foam board, ranged around the community centre.

Collaborating in this way, to recognise the value and give a platform for people's images, was another fascinating way to leverage the original project to create something new and significant.

Can't wait to see what we can do next.


Sean McDonnell

I've been pursuing a style of photography now called street for a number of years. A south Londoner by birth I am pre-occupied with the West End and spend too much time there taking black and white pictures on film. I nurture a hope that one day London will be recognised like Paris, New York and Tokyo as a great city of street photography but secretly like the fact that it is still the underdog. For someone who enjoys the solitary practice of his work I am surprisingly talkative about it - although not at the same time. Here's a collection of idle musings and distracting links.

These posts are a sample of my current blog PORTRAIT OF A STREET PHOTOGRAPHER. There are 10 years of posts so please visit!

Portrait of a Street Photographer archive

link to Portrait of a Street Photographer blog
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