After much discussion, and due to the exceptional quality and breadth of work created throughout the 52 weeks of the Project, the judges were unable to choose just one winner. The two winners are each awarded £500 of Thames & Hudson vouchers, and their work appears on The Photographers’ Gallery’s website and on this site.
Sophie Howarth sums up her experience of the Project, and highlights the many participants who made this project a success
Well, we did it… 52 weeks on the streets. It has been more rewarding than I could ever have imagined and I want to thank everyone who participated for sharing their talent.
It is hard to pick out highlights but I have pulled together a slideshow of some of the images that have resonated with me most – it’s subjective of course, but that’s what we love about street photography isn’t it? It includes many pictures I overlooked first time around but returned to because of comments made by other participants in the project, whose judgement I have come to respect so much.
Huge respect goes to all those who submitted 52 photographs. It was hard to keep going, whatever the Instruction, whatever the weather, whatever the feedback. All those with complete sets are the real heroes of this project.
As our resident psychiatrist Jack Simon put it, the project generated “a strong, instructive, supportive, and stimulating community” and I want to thank everyone who commented on others’ work or contributed to discussion strands for the richness of that. I have been particularly touched by comments in The Final Week strand, in which so many of you shared so eloquently what this journey has meant to you. There were some memorable and tenacious discussion strands – “what is street photography” had a peculiar way of turning up week after week, 6ftwhiterabbit‘s B-sides became a central part of the project, mystreetphoto got everyone talking about their lives outside of photography (while we still had them!) and Justindisgustin‘s “good bad or indifferent” strand pushed us all to think about offering bolder forms of constructive criticism. Good for poda for being the first person brave enough to take up this offer. Julia M Cameron and Alison MacAulay stand out as valued agony aunts in the weekly discussions, always offering an informed and sympathetic ear to those seeking counselling on the trials of shooting in public. Maxine Moss and Frankie Sinclair helped keep the group’s sense of humour alive. And JustinDisgustin wins the award for favourite provocateur, hands down.
I also want to thank all those who created weekly galleries – it showed such commitment and was so widely appreciated by the rest of the community. I loved browsing Monty’s Top of the Pop’s and Greg’s Groovy Grabs among the many other weekly galleries, and the galleries always made me take a more in depth look photographs whose virtues I had sometimes missed.
“Never Overlook a Cliché“, Russian street photographer Artem Zhitenev instructed us in week 6, so taking his lead I thought I’d give a mention to what I considered to be the best pigeon, best mannequin, best lookalike, best shopping trolley, best dog, best Hawaiian shirt, best pun and best gag.
The project has of course branched out well beyond the pages of Flickr and I want to praise those who organised the Fringes show and the series of social and photographic get-togethers that took place in London over the course of the year – in particular Ambra Vernuccio, Frankie Sinclair, Julia M Cameron and Anne Leroy. Anne has been spearheading the continuation of the SPNP Community into Year 2, and today issued a fantastic new instruction from Don McCullin. Good luck to all those continuing the journey.
For many, these past 52 weeks have been a unique masterclass in techniques practised by the world’s leading street photographers, and my thanks does to all the Instruction-givers whose original and bold briefs had us challenging photographic habits and pushing personal boundaries each week. I have to pick out Mimi Mollica as the champion here – his engagement and feedback throughout week 11 took the educational side of the project and the developing sense of community to a new level. Andrew Glickman, Richard Kalvar and Wolfgang Zurborn were among the many others who gave particularly thoughtful and in depth feedback. Paul Russell gets a special mention as the Instruction-giver who was also a regular participant.
At The Photographers’ Gallery, the Director Brett Rogers embraced the project wholeheartedly and expressed regular delight at the amazing quality of work submitted, while Johanna Empson and Joanna Peace ensured each week’s Instruction was beautifully designed by Europa and that all the Flickr groups set up. Their dedication to and pride in the project has been instrumental to its success.
At Thames & Hudson Johanna Neurath, Laura Willis and Collette Hutchinson have given fantastic support, not least in the form of the generous book prizes. Johanna, besides being commissioning editor of the book which gave rise to the project, was also a regular commenter and contributor to the Flickr discussions and issued a joyous instruction in week 50 – “Say It With Flowers”. I live beside Columbia Road flower market and it was one crazy busy Sunday down there that weekend with Stephen McLaren, Matt Stuart and Nick Turpin all leading street photography workshops while numerous other SPNP participants were prowling through the foliage incognito searching for their week 50 shot.
But it was Framer’s Intent and Wobbly Turkey who checked through every one of the 20,000 pictures submitted and nurtured the group every step of the way. Both emerged as project saviours at critical moments – Framers’ Intent right at the start preventing early catastrophe as I struggled to keep up moderating the huge number of submissions in the first few weeks, Wobbly later on when Framers’ needed both emotional and practical support after her brother passed away. These two have put in so much to keep the quality of discussion strong and informed, to keep the atmosphere supportive, to keep the logistics on track. I can confidently say the two of you have everyone’s admiration and gratitude and love.
Go forth and keep shooting – street photography is alive and well!