Birmingham’s People 16 – Radway

My favourite thing about Artsfest is the range of activities to immerse yourself in. You can plan a very structured weekend of things to see and do or mooch around stalls and workshops popping in and out of events as the mood takes you. Our subject here (sorry I don’t have a record of your first name!) was definitely one of the latter kind of visitors.

I was staffing reception when you stopped by our tent early on our first day at Artsfest. We got chatting about your hat (I have a very similar one) and yoga as you were carrying a mat. The yoga workshop you had hoped to attend as part of Artsfest was cancelled so it was a great bit of serendipity to get your ever-so-slightly wry portrait for Birmingham’s People instead.

Birmingham’s People 15 – Mick & Mary Boylan

Mick and Mary Boylan are my mum and dad. They came down to the Photospace tent at Artsfest to show their support, like a lot of friends and family of the Photospace team, but definitely hadn’t planned to have their portraits taken.

Mum and Dad took a little persuading to pose (we all love seeing other people’s photos yet we’re also all a bit uncomfortable with having our picture taken in my family) but only a little. I love the deliberate but relaxed portraits of them.

It’s the first time Mum & Dad have had their portraits taken professionally since their wedding over 35 years ago and the professional aspect was essential to the success of the Birmingham’s People project. As Matt, who took the images says, there’s no such thing as a bad subject only a bad photographer.

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Birmingham's People 14 – Martin Phillips

In planning Birmingham’s People I wanted to create a convincing portrait of all aspects of Birmingham’s culture and its social history.

One popular image of the Midlands since the 70s has been its reputation as a centre of long haired heavy metal. As soon as I saw Martin I thought he would be perfect to illustrate this portion of Brummie history.

Of course as soon as I talked to him I realised that you can’t pigeon hole anyone so glibly and easily, Martin was as charming a man as you could hope to meet and his portrait is as much about the extraordinarily serene green eyes as his fabulously wild hair.

Birmingham's People 13 – Neil Holland

Among the roll call of people we’d like to thank from our weekend at Artsfest are the other Artsfest volunteers who helped us out.  Neil was working as a media officer over the weekend, sorting passes for photographers documenting the whole event and answering journalist queries.  I think his reassuring, calm presence over the weekend (especially when things were a little hectic) is reflected in his portrait.

Birmingham's People 12 – Neil Houston

Neil had already had a busy weekend when he came to see us at Artsfest. He’d partied all Friday night at Brumtwestival – a brilliantly successful Birmingham twitter fundraising bash for Birmingham YMCA. You’d never guess from his portrait though.

Birmingham's People 11 – Afribeanne

Afribeanne (on the right in the portrait) is a resident of Brixton and was visiting Birmingham during the Artsfest weekend.

An art student, she had some great insights into the unique nature of photography and the importance of it being part of the community as you can see in the video interview below.

She also had some incredibly positive things to say about the second city, especially its shops!

She was great fun to work with too, picking this relaxed, fun shot rather than a more formal portrait.

Birmingham’s People: Afribeanne from Birmingham Photospace on Vimeo.

Birmingham's People 10 – TheWishy

One of the most important  aims of Birmingham Photospace is to create a spiritual home in the city for the vast number of dedicated photoenthusiasts  who prowl its streets.

One of the most enthusiastic photographers that we know has the Flickr name TheWishy and is an evangelist of the more esoteric areas of film photography. He can often be found at the monthly Birmingham Flickrmeets extolling the virtues of many weird and wonderful classic cameras.

He has a particular penchant for Polaroid cameras such as this beautiful Land camera which are now sadly becoming rarer and rarer sights on our streets. I’m a huge fan of that unique Polaroid look, one that you can never imitate authentically digitally. We’re proud to support the band of dedicated people fighting to keep it alive.

Birmingham's People 9 – Pat Flynn

One of the groups of people that have yet to be thanked by the Birmingham Photospace team are our families who have provided so much support for the cause.

And so here’s my mother-in-law, the fantastic Pat Flynn MBE, formerly head of Library Services in Leicester and lifelong Brummie.

As well as sitting for a portrait she consented to being interviewed by our videographers, offering a personal insight into what photography means to her.

Birmingham’s People: Pat from Birmingham Photospace on Vimeo.

Birmingham's People 8 – Noel

One of the joys of the Artsfest weekend was the sheer variety of people who were happy to be photographed, reflecting the diversity of Birmingham as a whole. As a photographer it was a brilliant experience.

Noel here and his wife (soon to feature) were a great couple of sitters, both being extremely dignified models and both extremely patient with your humble photographer as he dealt with the problems of photographing inside a small tent.

For the photographers reading, the highlights on the left side of his face and his right shoulder are not created by rim lights, they are patches of sunlight pouring through gaps in the tent walls!

Birmingham's People 7 – Karen Strunks

Our Friday Photo is the fabulous Karen Strunks, a very talented local photographer who came down on the Sunday to lend a hand.

She was a great help, both in guiding members of the public through the whole process and in assisting me behind the camera, especially late in the day when we had a few technical difficulties.

She was also a fantastic sitter, approaching the whole process with an infectious sense of fun. Hopefully the photo captures a small amount of her sunny personality.

We look forward to future collaborations!