Open Eye Gallery | Exposure Project

Building on the feedback from the webinar this week with Michelle. I decided to further my research into the work of Emma Case, whilst doing this I am also mindful of the upcoming briefs for week 5 of the module.

In response I decided to do some online research into curatorship as I feel that it is an area that I feel is currently a weakness. Whilst conducting research I managed to identify a webinar which was published a month ago by the Opon Eye Gallery. The webinar contained Emma Case and Katherine Monaghan who were discussing their socially engaged project ‘Exposed’.

The project involved a range of workshops where participants were able to use whatever devices they had in order to identify ‘different ways to photograph, and ‘different ways to enjoy photography’ with the intention of generating an insight into the the life of others. 

Watching the video, I felt this approach was relevant to the week 3 theme of participation and and collaboration. As a result i begun to consider what type of this project this alligns with in relation to the ideas of Lapenta (2011) who sets out the main types of collaboration project:

Respondent-generated image production

Community-based image production

Collaborative or participatory image production

The exposed project encompassed elements of all of these approaches however I felt it alligned mostly with a ‘community based image production’.  Lapenta (2011) outlines this type of collaboration

‘participants collectively assess their own images, highlighting what the community feels is most significant or best, often through dialogue and storytelling.’

Case and Monaghan’s project encompassed photo walks and trips to local parks and cities in addition to some show and tell sessions where participants were able to tell a story about a photograph they had taken.

Both Case and Monaghan agreed that these sessions enabled participants to develop their photography vocabulary in addition to developing their eye as photographers. The nature of this approach also served to build participants confidence by working within a supportive envirenment. In doing this, participants were also able to collectively assess their work Lapenta (2011) by expressing feeling about the work produced and its relevance to the community the participants inhabit. 

As a result of researching socially engeged projects I am beginning to rethink my role as a photographer and consider how I can utilise, not only the work I create but my understanding of photography to enrich the lives of others.

Up to this point I have been quite selfish with my work and my intent however, going forward I will endeavour to be much more open about my work and understand the power I have to enrich the community. Allowing this to inform my intent I feel that being more open will enable the possibilities of my work to be informed by much more more than my own narcissistic vision. 

Going back to the Exposed project and the Open Eye gallery, Barker, E (1999) highlights the importance and the potential impact of such organisations when she argues that

 ‘public museums and galleries… Justify their share of goverment funding by demonstrating that they function for a benefit of a broad public rather than a prvalidged few and make collections as accessible as possible.’

The Exposed project does this by not just offering an accessible space, but reaching out and stimulating the community in order to generate a local voice whilst encouraging engagement and learning. Understanding that the gallery goes beyond the exhibition space. 

Barker, E (1999) Contemporary Cultures of Display. London, The Open University Press.

Lapenta, F. (2011) ‘Some Theoretical and Methodological Views on Photo-Elicitation’, in: L. Pauwels & E. Margolis. eds. (2011) The SAGE handbook of visual research methods. (Los Angeles: Sage), pp. 201–213.

Open Eye Gallery (2020)  A Spotlight On… Emma Case & Katherine Monaghan (Socially Engaged Photography Network). [Online] Available at: {Accessed 28th June 2020).

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