Jovis Leigh Howieson speaks with Jessica Miller about the founding of Urban Photographers Club and their recent ‘Street Photography Assignments’ project and exhibition, inspired by Brian Lloyd Duckett’s book.
Can you tell us about Urban Photographers Club?
We established Urban Photographers Club to provide a platform and showcase photographers whose works deserve to be seen, appreciated, respected and acknowledged by audiences around the world providing well-deserved exposure by publishing and exhibiting on an annual basis at the base headquarters in London and various cities internationally.
We wanted to create an all-inclusive community where we could provide opportunities for meet-ups, photo walks, photo trips, workshops, books, resources, information, learning & development support, feedback, critique and an and easily accessible space to share our images, communicate and connect with like-minded photographers.
We also support and encourage primary, secondary and university students where we help to shape these young minds to enter the world of photography through a very hands-on approach with leaders who take great care in educating and supporting their learning and development by organising photo walks, talks, events and workshops for them.
We cover Street, Documentary, Portraits, Street Portraits, Long Exposure, Travel, Urban Architecture, Urban Landscape, Cityscape, Nightscape, Landscape, Wildlife, Music, Fine Art, Black and White, and Photojournalism.
People can sign up by joining the Urban Photographers Club Facebook group. We run monthly events and anyone can come along!
Can you tell me more about how the street photography project began? How did it develop and grow?
I conceived the idea to provide a creative outlet to photographers during lockdowns to co-learn about street photography as she wanted to support their learning and development so that they could continue to practice their art during these times. My intention was to create an environment of co-learning and collaboration.
I formed a group of 11 photographers who came together in October 2020, when the UK entered its second Covid lockdown. However, word soon got out and photographers from all over the world asked if they could join and the group grew to over 400 members on their Facebook group with over 1,000 followers on Instagram. Operating on a voluntary basis, I spearheaded the project with an ambitious aim to publish a photo story book of their favourite images and to provide exposure of their best work in an exhibition by showcasing their achievements and bringing the project to life.
The project was set to run over 12 months which was very structured and organised with a programme that included weekly online video walkthroughs and a monthly critique session to review their assignments work. The core team provided email and video support to the wider group.
Initially, they had to collaborate online using books, videos, various materials and resources, mentoring and coaching from well-known photographers and learning from each other. Once lockdown restrictions eased, they organised monthly photo walks and workshops in London, Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, Brussels, Paris and Lisbon. We used the 52 Assignments: Street Photography book by Brian Lloyd Duckett as a guide to using tips, styles and techniques where the images were ultimately selected in the exhibition for consistency and theme.
There were about 90 active photographers of mixed abilities were involved in shooting the project. They are based across the UK, Europe, the US, Australia, and the rest of the world.
Adhering to lockdown restrictions made shooting a challenge in the early days. However, using their designated ‘exercise time’, they hit the streets and successfully completed all the assignments.
This exhibition is a project about street photographers who came together during the most challenging of times during the pandemic. 34 of the 90 photographers were exhibited and we are intending on making this a touring exhibition to other cities within the UK and internationally.
Why Brian Lloyd Duckett’s book?
I personally know Brian as I was one of his students. We used the book as one of the materials amongst many others to co-learn. It is one of the best street photography learning books out there and it was easily accessible.
What does the future hold?
We have many, many things coming up in the future but the next major one is the project about people with learning disabilities and/or autism. We will create a book of photographs called Our World Beyond Words, where all the images are submitted from people with a developmental disorder such as autism, or a learning disability such as Downs Syndrome.
A panel of photographers with learning or developmental disabilities will then select 200 images to form the content of a book and curate an exhibition. While all of this is going on, a film crew will document the project and make it into a 90 minute documentary / two part series. The rest of the images will go into an online repository, but it is far bigger than this as there are other parallels and a study paper that will also come out of it.
Who can send their pictures?
This project is open to anyone who considers themselves to be neurodiverse. Including those living with a learning disability. It is open to people who have never taken a picture before, enthusiastic amateurs and professionals.
Street Photography Assignments Exhibition
The Street Photography Assignments is now on until 29th September at Fujifilm House of Photography.
To find out more about the exhibition visit: www.urbanphotographersclub.com/exhibition
The Street Photography Assignments book is available for sale in store at Fujifilm House of Photography and on the website here: www.urbanphotographersclub.com/shop
Follow Urban Photographers Club on social media:
Hashtag for the Street Photography Assignments exhibition: #upcspa
Upcoming Urban Photographers Club events
We will be holding a panel discussion on Thursday, 22nd September from 6:30pm to 7:30pm at the exhibition. Our next photo walk is on September 24th Saturday starting at the exhibition at 12pm till 5pm.
Links to sign up to attend:
Panel Discussion: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/408931143057
Photo Walk: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/408943138937
Jovis’ next exhibition is in October and a small group from the Urban Photographers Club will be exhibiting alongside her The London Photo Show.
Jovis Leigh Howieson
Jovis is originally from Singapore who now calls London home. She has several hobbies and interests which include kayaking down rivers, all things musical, learning the guitar, piano and playing with her two little cute cats at home.
Photography changed her life when she bought a camera in 2018 for the better in so many ways – sounds clichéd but it’s true. It has helped her become who she is today, opened up numerous possibilities and given her exciting, adventurous experiences.
Jovis loves travelling and is always planning her trips to coincide with her photography projects. She is always searching for extraordinary people and places to tell their stories.
Jovis loves making a difference in the lives of photographers and giving back to the community as it gives her a sense of purpose. As such, she co-founded Urban Photographers Club with Paul Nezandonyi. The fulfilling feeling of giving back and contributing is unparalleled for her and it is important for her to support others in the ups and downs of the art and craft just as they support her. It is deeply rewarding for her at heart. Jovis always has time for everyone and loves to speak about photography so do get in touch with her!