Archives for posts with tag: The Newcastle Photography Festival

If you live in the North East of England and love the arts then you need to nominate artists and events in The Journal Culture Awards.journal

Northern artists need to be acknowledged in these annual awards run by The Journal newspaper. In addition The Journal deserves and needs support. Newspapers are dying but The Journal’s arts and culture coverage is vital to the region. Nominations for the awards lets the newspaper’s owner know there is still an appetite for arts journalism here in the North East.

There are 14 categories in this year’s Culture Awards including Best Performing Artist of the Year, Writer of the Year and North East Museum of the Year and you can nominate your favourite comedian, poet, musician, festival and more right up to the closing date, Tuesday 31st January by clicking here

I’ve already sent in my nominations and if you’re dithering I ask you think back to stellar live performances by local actors, musicians and poets. What’s your favourite museum in the region?  Did you attend a fantastic festival in 2016? If so then nominate it in one of the “Best Event” categories. If you don’t then who will?

kitchenerThe entry form is a faff as you have to nominate and submit your details for each category instead of filling in one form for all categories. Don’t let that put you off. You have until the 31st January. Your local arts scene is depending on you!

That link to The Journal Culture Awards one more time….


I’ve spent the past week trying to make The Newcastle Photography Festival run smoothly. I wasn’t alone, of course! I was assisting festival organiser Paul and his right hand man, Trevor. I was their left hand lady.

We did our job and earned our beers last night. The mix of talks, hands-on workshops and demos, an exhibition plus music, poetry and a Victorian Magic Lantern Show worked. Hoorah! Last night’s closing event consisted of two talks. The first was photographer Sheila Masson showing and talking about her controverisal photos of America first seen in an exhibition called Milk and Honey: Beyond the American Utopia

The Lifeboat Station Project: 12x10 inch Ambrotype by Jack Lowe Five women of Clovelly RNLI Lifeboat Station, Saturday 27th June 2015. Left to right: Lauren, Beth, Martel Fursdon, Ally, Joy

The Lifeboat Station Project: 12×10 inch Ambrotype by Jack Lowe
Five women of Clovelly RNLI Lifeboat Station, Saturday 27th June 2015.
Left to right: Lauren, Beth, Martel Fursdon, Ally, Joy

The second talk was friend of the festival Jack Lowe who talked about his  work, The Lifeboat Station Project. Jack is visiting every RNLI station around the British Isles to photograph stations and crew. He is using the wet plate collodion process used in Victorian times, including Roger Fenton in the Crimean War.

Jack drives around the British Isles in a decommissioned ambulance which doubles as his dark room. After almost two years he is 30% of the way through his project. What began as a five year project will now run until 2020.

Jack is an engaging speaker and the photos he produces are works of art and pieces of history. It was wonderful to hear him, meet his friends and family and Neena, the ambulance! Thanks to all the volunteers, speakers and attendees of the festival plus the venues and our donors: the RSA plus some very generous souls who live in the local area. Thanks for supporting a local festival.


“Never again!” I harumphed as I walked out of the Literary and Philosophical Society on Newcastle’s Westgate Road.  It was a Monday evening in October 2014 and I was involved in the running of the inaugural Newcastle Photography Festival.

My Harumph Moment came on the first day of the festival. I’d had enough of everything and everyone including the organiser, the events, the venues and the punters. A swift stroll round the block that autumn evening reminded me that the festival was unique, important and (gasp!) fun. I headed straight back into the Lit and Phil and got on with the (voluntary) job in hand.


That first festival was inspired by the little-known photographic achievements of local hero, Joseph Swan. Better known as the inventor of the incandescent lightbulb, our festival highlighted his considerable achievements in the sphere of photographic technology. The festival also tied in with the centenary of his death.

So here I am two years later waiting for the second Newcastle Photography Fesitval to kick off tomorrow morning with a workshop and demonstration by photographer Keith Moss

That first event is sold out but there is plenty of opportunity to come and enjoy the festival throughout the week. We’ve got an exhibition of local artists running at The NewBridge Project in central Newcastle. The gallery is our hub for photographic workshops and demonstations.

As the week progresses, the festival moves to other venues in Newcastle including The Lit and Phil and The Mining Institute. On Thursday night the Lit and Phil will host The Romance of Edwardian Cycling, an evening filled with photos, poetry, music and bicycles. The following evening Derek Greenacre’s magical Victorian Magic Lantern Show will take place in The Mining Institute’s lecture theatre. To book tickets for either or both events visit the festival’s Ticketsource page

The Lifeboat Station Project: 12x10 inch Ambrotype by Jack Lowe Five women of Clovelly RNLI Lifeboat Station, Saturday 27th June 2015. Left to right: Lauren, Beth, Martel Fursdon, Ally, Joy

The Lifeboat Station Project: 12×10 inch Ambrotype by Jack Lowe
Five women of Clovelly RNLI Lifeboat Station, Saturday 27th June 2015.
Left to right: Lauren, Beth, Martel Fursdon, Ally, Joy

The festival’s final evening, Saturday 22nd October features Edinburgh-based photographer, Sheila Masson talking about her controversial photos of America and is followed by Jack Lowe talking about his amazing Lifeboat Station Project. Both these events are free (donations welcome). To book places on either or both events check out the festival’s downloable brochure on the festival’s website

See you around Newcastle this week!

A friend sent me an email recently with the line “are you running out of fingers yet?!” My chum was referring to all the creative projects I’m involved in. I think he was alluding to the “fingers in pies” concept.

One of my creative pies is the Newcastle Photography Festival. Actually, it’s not “my” pie. It’s not my idea or my “creative baby.” All I do is assist Paul Cordes with his vision of inspiring and educating folk with photography in all its forms from 19th century techniques to 21st century digital images.


The inaugural Newcastle Photography Festival took place in autumn 2014 and was funded almost entirely by Paul, with a little bit of  help from the RSA

The festival was well-received so we decided to stage another one this autumn from 17th to the 22nd of October. The brochure is being printed as I type but there are workshops, talks, events, music and more. Keep watching the website for details of the programme

I launched a fundraising campaign to help cover our modest costs.  You can find out more at


The inaugural Newcastle Photography Festival is taking place this week until Sunday 26th. The festival was inspired by the considerable achievements of local legend, Joseph Swan.


Tonight a play by local writer Barry Quinn was performed at The Lit and Phil as part of the festival. The play, The Life and Works of Joseph Swan was rehearsed under considerable time pressure but the cast, consisting of Colin and Lewis Cuthbert and Willem Evans plus director Mary Pickin should be proud of their achievements. Congratulations to cast, director and writer, Quinn.

Last night I attended North East Rising by performance poet, Rowan McCabe. The show about north East identity is funny and thought provoking. It features Geordie Shore, Stottie Cakes and Joseph Swan.

rowan poet

It’s been a delight to watch and listen to Rowan growing as a writer and performer. Last night was the icing on the cake. North East Rising is at Stockton’s ARC tomorrow.

For more information about the Photography Festival visit

%d bloggers like this: