I’ve continued to work on my new project The Lacquer Box and The Field Gun on Salisbury Plain – still photographs as well as a sound/image piece. This is a slow, in-depth project. I’m finding it intriguing! More anon…
I have also started, with the help of the brilliant Louise Harman, to sort out my black and white photojournalistic archive with a view to putting many more images online. Watch this space…
30 June Delighted that one of my The Home Front images + article has been published online in the E-Crini (University of Nantes, France) Journée d’études “The American and British Nations in Contemporary Landscape Photography” http://www.crini.univ-nantes.fr/1467114057832/0/fiche___pagelibre/&RH=1467100042469
22 June I was invited by Dr. Pratap Rughani, documentary film maker and MA Course leader at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, to discuss the ‘fine cut’ of my gallery piece/film Standing By with MA Filmmaking. This is a very personal piece about my parents, shortly to go out into the world. Very interesting morning…
As I’m a mentor for FOTODOCUMENT, I made my first contact with the photographer Ana Caroline de Lima, who won one of the FOTODOCUMENT commissions. Looking forward to seeing the results of her work!
8-10 June returned to Dublin to see the excellent DIT BA Photography Degree show held at Gallery of Photography, Dublin, and review the work as external examiner. Again, a wonderful visit to DIT & Dublin.
27 May Much enjoyed meeting Ziortza Fernandez Ibbareche at University of Westminster, and being one of the judges for the Migrants: What does Migration mean to you? exhibition, which was then shown at Gallery on the Corner, Battersea.
Spent a good deal of time on Salisbury Plain, getting immersed in my new project – interviewing, stills, ambient audio, transcribing.
4 May I was on the judging panel for FOTODOCUMENT, in London, to select photographers for the commissions ‘Empowering Women Entrepreneurs Worldwide’. A wonderful day, and a really great project.
Excited that, finally, my portfolio of eight The Home Front images plus article has been published in Photography & Culture , online version, Taylor & Francis/Routledge (USA) – print version to come…
10-12 March I visited Dublin as external examiner, and met students & staff on the BA Photography at Dublin Institute for Technology (DIT). Had a brilliant time…
After my initial research trip last August, I returned to Salisbury Plain during wild & windy weather. I’ve started to get to know the landscape & am setting up interviews with local people.
On 15 February, I was invited by Rupert Cox at the University of Manchester to give a Guest Lecture on my photography (& use of sound) to MA students in the Anthropology Dept. Had a brilliant time and enjoyed reconnecting with Rupert, an anthropologist/sound artist interested in sensory ethnography (see his fascinating work Air Pressure, made with Angus Carlyle).
18 February I gave a talk about my photography at the City Literary Institute (City Lit) in London, invited by Shirley Read. Much enjoyed re-connecting with Shirley & meeting the photography students there.
I’m going to give a talk about my work at University of Gloucestershire on Monday, 7 December. Looking forward to seeing artist/lecturer Anthony Lam again, and to meeting the students there. It’ll be good to be back – I was last there 7 years ago! I also have several guest lectures coming up in 2016.
Over the past few months I have been making the final tweaks to my piece Standing By. This personal sound/image piece focuses on the 60-year relationship between my parents (both born in the 1920s), focusing on their use of the crossword. It’s intimate, and, I hope, humorous. It also looks at traditional gender roles, class, old age and, fleetingly, Alzheimers.
It’s a 26 min piece, using soundtracks recorded between 2000 and 2007. It includes 67 still images.
The photographs were taken over an 11 year period, (2000-11), mostly as family snaps, and they come from a range of sources: Lumix (digital), i-phone 3, Leica (35mm film) and medium format film (Mamiya 7). I have also included 1950s images from my parents’ wedding and honeymoon album.
I’ve presented the work at recent conferences (work in progress at the 2010 Journal of Media Practice conference, and a close-to-final version at the Family Ties Network Public and Personal Archives: Creative Negotiations in April 2014). However the completed piece will be experienced as an installation piece in a gallery or other public space.
I’m not putting it on U-Tube or uploading it to my website, but plan for it to go out in 2017/18. I’m currently talking with curators…
As usual it’s been a really busy summer at the university. In June I was also part of the panel judging the FotoDocument One Planet Living photographic competition.
On 15 May I had a fun trip up to Liverpool where 12 images from The Home Front were included in the opening night programme for LOOK/15: Exchange, the biennial Liverpool International Photography Festival, at Tate Liverpool, organised by Anna Fox.
I am now External Examiner for the BA Photography at DIT (Dublin Institute of Technology), so until 2018 I’m spending a few days in Dublin each year. Great to meet the staff & students there…
I’ve started researching a new long-term project, UK based, which is exciting. I’ll be carrying out the bulk of the photography and interviews for it during 2016/17. More soon!
It’s been such a hectic few months at Sussex, but tomorrow I am picking up the reins of my personal (& very long term) sound/still image project about my parents, Standing By. It’s almost done; I’ll make the final tweaks this summer and hope to start putting the work out there before long…
I gave a Guest Lecture at University of Westminster on 25 March, and had a lovely time meeting a really interesting range of students there. Am looking forward to their Degree Show in August. I felt moved returning to the institution where I had studied for my own BA Photography, when it was called Polytechnic of Central London (just a decade or two back!). I am still close friends with six fellow students…
Had a brilliant time in Nantes on 27 March where I was presenting The Home Front at a workshop organised by Julie Morère et Jane Bayly, CRINI research centre:
“Representations of Power and Power of the Image in
British and American Contemporary Photography”
Intriguing papers & fun time that evening, hope to return. Great to be able to get there by train too.
Great to be included in The Hyman Collection, British Photography website launched in mid February. See britishphotography.org
Photos from The Home Front opening reception at UH gallery last
week – Thur 4th Dec. I really enjoyed this; the gallery space is inspiring, and it was a relaxed evening. Many of the visitors had interesting & incisive comments. I’ll be meeting one visitor again in January, to hear more about her childhood WWII memories evoked by the beach images. I am planning to keep an eye on the UH Galleries programme in future; it’s an easy hop from north London.Thanks to Matthew Shaul, Annabel Lucas and all the gallery team, and also to Louise Harman and Lesley Lawson for the photos. Sadly Pippa Oldfield, the curator of the original Impressions exhibition of The Home Front, was busy installing a new show in Bradford and couldn’t make it but was there in spirit…
Photograph ©Lesley Lawson
from left to right: Mark Pettit & Paul Davies of UH Gallery team, me, Matthew Shaul, UH Gallery Head of Programme & curator
Photographs ©Louise Harman
Delighted that The Home Front publication was nominated (‘long list’) for the Deutsche Börse Photographic Prize 2015.
I’m very much looking forward to the UH Galleries show of The Home Front, which opens on 14 November. The opening reception has been confirmed for Thursday 4 December, 6-8pm, and I’ll be doing an artist’s talk at 7pm. Only a short journey from Kings Cross so I hope to see some Londoners there (and Herts people too, of course!). It’ll be at the Hatfield gallery, see www.herts.ac.uk/artsandgalleries
On Monday 20 October I had a wonderful time at the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia campus. Academic/curator Dr. Ferdinand de Jong of UEA had invited me to talk about my 2007 work Border Country, which focused on UK immigration detainees, alongside Dr. Benedetta Rossi, whose talk was entitled ‘Departures, Crossroads, and Ways of Moving in the longue durée of African History’. The talks were set up to accompany the opening reception for two new exhibitions Points of Departure: Photography of African Migrations & Crossroads of Empires: Archaeology in West Africa. Moving exhibitions, on till the end of January, and stunning space.
Writing this as about to go off email and & social media for a fortnight – my summer holiday in Wales… it’ll be great.
I really enjoyed my second trip up to Durham this year for The Business of War Photography conference organised by Impressions curator Pippa Oldfield and University of Durham academic Tom Allbeson. The first day of the conference took place in Durham Art Gallery where The Home Front is on show. Stimulating papers, and some great times with colleagues. I’ll post more on this when I’m back from holiday…
It’s been a good month. The Home Front was featured in the British Journal of Photography’s thought-provoking August issue This is War. The show in UH galleries (University of Hertfordshire) in Hatfield, was confirmed, so The Home Front is coming south! It’s organised by Impressions Gallery, as HF is an Impressions touring show. The UH exhibition will open on 14 Nov 2014 and run through to 31 Jan 2015. I’ll be doing an artist’s talk at the reception which will be held on Thursday 4 December…
More updates on my return from holiday mid September.
Well three months have gone by and no time for an update. Till now!
Forthcoming, 31 July
So… I’m looking forward to the Business of War Photography conference up in Durham at the end of this month part of which will be held in the gallery space where The Home Front is showing (DLI Museum & Art Gallery till 21 September…). Some very interesting paper titles, check out the link to the conference programme here: https://www.dur.ac.uk/mlac/news/warphotoconf/programme/
On 21 July I had a very moving meeting at the Wellcome café with my Kosovar friend Edita, who was visiting London. We hadn’t met for 12 years but had stayed in touch on email; I first met her when she was in the refugee camp in Neproshten in Macedonia. I photographed & interviewed her for my book No Place Like Home: Echoes from Kosovo and then she began to translate for me – and became a sensitive interpreter for other interviewees in the book. In the café memories started to flood back of the very moving times we had spent together in 1999/2000 in Macedonia & Kosova, and the extraordinary connections with the individuals in my book. I am looking forward to going back to Kosova before too long.
On 10/11 July I had a fun time at the SEAS Beyond The View: (New) Perspectives on Seaside Photography conference in Canterbury and Margate. Some fascinating papers & great keynotes. An engaging & friendly conference, thanks to Karen Shepherdson and her colleagues from Canterbury Christ Church University. I spoke about The Home Front and really enjoyed sharing the Panel II session with Lewis Bush who I know from Twitter (@LewisKayBush) and Martin Newth (@martinnewth). I’d been given Martin’s intriguing book Sentinel by Impressions curator Pippa Oldfield last year…
Went up to Durham for The Home Front opening at Durham Art Gallery, which is housed above the Durham Light Infantry Museum. Great to meet Durham curator Lucy Jenkins and the other exhibiting artists, & see Impressions curator Pippa Oldfield again, and friends from Sunderland: Arabella Plouviez, Pete Fryer & Carol McKay. Fun evening out with Pippa and the other exhibiting artists. Very happy with the ‘hang’.
©Donna-Lisa Healy, thanks…
©Pippa Oldfield. Thanks Pippa! The Home Front,
Durham Art Gallery (DLI Museum & Art Gallery).
Pippa Oldfield (left) and I on opening night.
On 16 June I spoke at an evening event Politics in Focus: A Discussion of Photography and Politics at Birkbeck college, UCL, with photographers Martin Argles and Carlos Reyes Manzo. Organised by Dermot Hodson, Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at Birkbeck.I’d not seen Martin for about 20 years. I also remember meeting Carlos on a couple of demonstrations in the 1980s when I was a young photojournalist. So, quite incredible to re-connect. Intriguing to see their work and to hear thoughts from the audience.
12/13 June I spoke about The Home Front at the Sensing War conference, organised by Kevin McSorley of Portsmouth university. In a different world here, of sociologists engaged with war. Some excellent papers and plenty of food for thought.
Since my stint as one of the judges of the FotoDocument One-Planet Living commissions, I have enjoyed acting as ‘artistic mentor’ to one of the 10 selected photographers, Jonathan Goldberg, who is focusing on transport. It’s great to see how his work is developing; an intense time, only about 3 months to work on this. Looking forward to seeing the final edit!
Had a very interesting day on 4 April at the Family Ties Network – Public and Personal Archives: Creative Negotiations at University of Sussex, lots of interesting discussions & projects. Fantastic, curious & engaged audience.
My presentation was called Standing By: The Ethics of Domestic Ethnography, and focused on my elderly parents’ daily habit of doing the quick crossword as a framework for exploring their relationship. It’s a personal, sound-led piece, and although I had played a few sound excerpts back in 2009 at the Journal of Media Practice conference, I had not returned to the work until this year, to merge in still images with the soundtrack – and so I was showing the work as a sound/still image piece for the first time. It’s now almost complete, just a little tweaking to do. I am not going to put the piece on my website or on the internet, but see it as an installation, a gallery piece. More details to follow when a gallery takes it on. But check out the work of the other artists here: Lizzie Thynne, Margaretta Jolly, Ed Hughes, Nicky Bird, Suze Adams, Rosy Martin, Marjolaine Ryley, Sally Waterman, Eti Wade, Jacqueline Butler. http://familytiesnetwork.wordpress.com/events/
Pic below of the Q&A after I’d presented Standing By is by Louise Harman, photographer and freelance editor, who assists me part time, and took some great photos on the day.
The Business of War Photography conference, linked to The Home Front forthcoming show at DLI Museum and Art Gallery,
should be intriguing. 31 July to 1 August 2014 organised by
Durham University, DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery in partnership with Impressions.
Call for papers is out now, deadline 1 March, for details see
Very happy that The Home Front (an Impressions Gallery touring show) will be travelling to DLI Museum and Art Gallery
in Durham 28 June to 21 September this year… opening night 27 June.
Last week I went to Newport – or to be more accurate The University of South Wales, as it is now – to give a guest lecture. Smart questions from the photography students there. It was great to see Paul Reas again and a lovely surprise to see Susan Butler. Amazed that Newport now has 500 photo students, 150 of whom are documentary!
It’s been a really busy time and I’ve got behind with updating… The Impressions exhibition reception on 12th October felt great. Despite the English Defence League being in town that day, and chaos on the trains from London owing to signal failures, almost all my friends made it up to Bradford in time to see the show and have an afternoon curry at Omar Khan’s. Anti-fascist protestors were out in force, and Bradford stayed cool. Several friends had to stand on the train for 2 hours before they got seats, and spent 10 hours in one day travelling on trains and buses. Heroic stuff, and it felt amazing to have so many friends there and the support of other visitors, Pippa Oldfield, Anne McNeill and all the Impressions team. The show ends on Friday 23rd November, but it will be touring…
with (most of…) the Impressions team after the opening reception on 12 October, left to right: Sophie Powell, Sarah Read, Melanie Friend, Shaila Hamid, Angela Sheard, curator Pippa Oldfield and director Anne McNeill. Photograph by Louise Harman.
The following weekend, the Loughborough seminar (European Borderscapes) where I presented Border Country, was excellent. Afterwards there was a dearth of buses and taxis from the campus and I had to hitchhike to get from the university to Loughborough station to catch my train up to Newcastle/Sunderland in time for the opening reception of The Social. I would have missed the whole evening if it hadn’t been for Peter, an environmental health officer, and his wife, who responded to my flagging down of their car and drove me 15 minutes out of their way to Loughborough station. Amazing. Six of my beach images from The Home Front are in You are The Company in Which You Keep at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art. It’s good to be in such an excellent group show.
Looking forward to the Sunderland exhibition previews including the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (see September news) and The Social opening on Friday 18 October http://www.thesocialnepn.co.uk/about/
Heading up to Loughborough University on 18 October (and from there to Sunderland for NGCA launch) for the European Borderscapes Symposium, to present my 2007 project Border Country. Should be really interesting, with speakers presenting new art projects and research on Europe’s changing borders, mobility and migration. http://www.lboro.ac.uk/services/graduateschool/events/name-75614-en.html
The opening reception and book launch for The Home Front solo exhibition is (finally…!) happening at Impressions Gallery in Bradford on Saturday 12 October, at 3pm. I started the research for this project in 2008 (the images in 2009) so it’s been quite a journey and it’ll be good to see the work out. All welcome! Details here:
Six of my beach images from The Home Front series have been included in a group show at Sunderland’s Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art which runs till 23 November http://www.ngca.co.uk/exhibs/default.asp?id=191&prnt=18
The Home Front installation day. A bit knackered as had only had five hours gap since arriving back in London the night before from being on press in Italy, and then hopping on an early train to Bradford. Such an exciting time though, the adrenaline kicks in. Luckily the Impressions team led by Dominic Hopkinson and curator Pippa Oldfield were there in force, and as ever, the hang was a compelling process. I was interviewed by Ryan Baxter of the Impressions New Focus youth project and asked to think about encouraging more young people into photography. Ryan and his colleague William Sellars did a very good job editing the interview.
EBS printers, near Verona, Italy
Had a fantastic time in San Giovanni Lupatoto, the small town outside Verona where EBS printers are based, seeing The Home Front on press. Whirring, clacking sounds of the printing presses, the smell of the ink, and the restaurants nearby all unforgettable… Only too happy to take a break from doing emails upstairs, and every hour rush down to look at the pages come off the press. Great to get away from computer screens and to see such skilled work by the printers. The top image shows publisher Dewi Lewis in discussion with printer Marco Motti, and the bottom image shows Paulo Marchiori adjusting colour balances.
I’m preparing for my new (solo) exhibition The Home Front at Impressions, which opens 14 September and runs to 23 November. It’s
been brilliant working with curator Pippa Oldfield these past few months. Numerous trips down to Spectrum in Hove, working mostly with Paul Lowe, which has been great. At the end of August I’m heading to Verona to see The Home Front book ‘on press’ with Dewi Lewis at EBS printers.
On 1 July I was at York University, talking about Border Country at a seminar called The Politics of Detention superbly organised by Alex Hall, lecturer in the Politics Department. When I started Border Country in 2003 I never imagined that the injustice of immigration detention would still be quite such a pressing issue ten years on. http://www.york.ac.uk/politics/news-events/events/2013/politics-detention/ The papers were really excellent, although the day was sobering.
On 12 June I was at Belfast Exposed for Photography and Social Justice a roundtable discussion on the relationship between photography and political activism, focusing on the rights of detainees, especially those caught up in the immigration system. It was fantastic to be back in Belfast and to see the shows at BX and the MAC Northern Ireland: 30 Years of Photography, and to spend time with Pauline Hadaway, Anthony Haughey and Chris Gilligan again and to meet Laurence McKeown. http://www.belfastexposed.org/eventdetails/Photography_and_Social_Justice_Panel_Discussion
Went up to Newcastle on 16 January to give a talk at the Mining Institute, part of the North East Photography Network (NEPN) series of Photographer Talks. See http://www.northeastphoto.net/. I had a fantastic time, and the audience’s responses were insightful and thoughtful. Also had an attack of darkroom nostalgia during my tour of the new darkrooms and print spaces at University of Sunderland, amazing to see so many enlargers…
I was invited to participate in Bridging Sound, co-organised by Profs Sally-Jane Norman and Michael Bull at University of Sussex. I talked about the use of sound in my earlier projects (Border Country, Homes and Gardens) and also my new work The Home Front (no literal sound; but there is sound within the images). There were some great papers. I could relate particularly to the presentation given by Angus Carlyle and Rupert Cox about their project Air Pressure, which focuses on noise pollution by aircraft in Japan, and its effect on a farming community living right next a runway.
Saturday 13 October.
Speaker at seminar focusing on the Current Conflicts exhibition at University College Suffolk’s Waterfront Gallery, Ipswich.
Registration : from 9.30am, Seminar starts at 10.00am.
To register: contact email@example.com or call on 01473 338654.
Saturday 20 October.
Speaker at Brighton Photo Biennial Symposium Photography’s Contested Spaces featuring Charlotte Cotton, Jorge Ribalta, Broomberg & Chanarin & more. At: The Attenborough Centre Creativity Zone, Pevensey III, University of Sussex, Falmer Brighton, BN1 9RH. 10am – 5.30pm. Cost: £10.
Newly redesigned melaniefriend.com is now live.
New work The Home Front has been scheduled for solo exhibition in early 2014 at Impressions Gallery, Bradford, UK. An accompanying publication is being planned with Dewi Lewis and Impressions Gallery.
The Home Front has received two nominations for the Prix Pictet.
Three photographs from The Home Front series have been published in the Danish photography/video journal KATALOG 24.1 (Spring 2012).
London Poll Tax Riot photograph (1990) was exhibited in Street Fighting Man exhibition at James Hyman Photography, Savile Row, London, W1.
‘My Best Shot’ slot in The Guardian, with interview by Sarah Phillips.
One of six photographers interviewed for a film made by Panos Pictures celebrating their 25th anniversary, Conversations in Photography: 25 Years of Panos Pictures.
Interviewed by journalist William Oliver for Dazed and Confused.
Matt Hart, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at University of Columbia, New York, wrote extensively about Border Country in the Spring/Summer 2011 issue of English Language Notes (University of Colorado, USA).
David Farrier, Lecturer, Department of English Literature, The University of Edinburgh has written about Border Country in his book Postcolonial Asylum: Seeking sanctuary before the law (Liverpool University Press).