This post is merely a reflection on how StreetSeen has developed from a standing start, less than 12 months ago into a thriving group of eight like-minded street photographers, few of whom previously knew each other well, or even at all.
The seeds were sown unwittingly in late 2012, when Roy Barry placed an ad. on the local Freegle group, asking if anyone had any old film cameras that they no longer wanted. I replied, saying that I had a surplus 35mm Ricoh rangefinder. Roy came over from Rhyl to Llanfairfechan to collect the camera and, by chatting about our photography, we soon found some common interests, so we exchanged Facebook details.
Not long afterwards, Roy put a message on Facebook, asking if anyone in the area was interested in starting something (unspecified) around the idea of street photography. I’ve always been fascinated by it, so I replied stating my interest. We chatted around the idea, and got the basis of this web site up and running fairly quickly.
In the meantime, I’d recently seen some of Roj Smith’s work through a mutual friend on Twitter, and was convinced that his work was consistent with my and Roy’s interests. It seemed logical to invite Roj to join in and, happily, he accepted.
Meanwhile, Anne Muth and Keith Jones, who knew each other by being members of Bangor University’s Photographic Society, became aware of what we were doing, and asked if they could join in with us. We welcomed them to the group in late June 2013 – not very long ago.
By this time, Roy, Roj and I were already planning our first StreetSeen exhibition. Anne was keen to join in by exhibiting, which she eventually did. Bearing in mind that none of us had exhibited our work before, and we were still relatively unknown to each other, it was quite an exciting time. What were we letting ourselves in for?
As the exhibition drew near, Sam Lock and Aquilino Moreno, who knew of Roj via another local group, Welshot, asked to join and were welcomed to the group.
I’d also read of Llinos Lanini’s work, which seemed to fit into StreetSeen’s ethos very well, in a regional newspaper article. Llinos was invited to join us, and is now also part of the group.
So, looking back, StreetSeen has become airborne very quickly. Given that neither Roy or I had a particularly clear vision of where it would lead to, it’s gone remarkably well. As a group without a defined structure, just a shared love of our subject, I think it’s fair to say that we’ve already achieved more than any of us had envisaged. We intend to keep the momentum going.
But what has come out of it, and is equally important, is a new friendship and co-operative spirit that I hope has enriched everyone involved, not least me. And for that, I am very grateful to all of my StreetSeen colleagues.