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An Interview with Second Look

An Interview with Second Look

Second Look is a well established photographic society that was founded in 2008. Set up and run by volunteers, they specialise in creative photography and promote this worthy cause through setting up photography showcases that run all over this culturally rich city.

Their aim is to promote the profile of photography as an art form and they give photographers throughout Bristol not only workspaces to establish themselves, but a voice that can be heard in this ever transcending medium.

Photo by Michael Reeves

Photo by Michael Reeves

Their most recent exhibition is ‘Bristol People’, a selection of stunning portraits taken throughout the city, residing at Hamilton House in Stokes Croft. I spoke to John Brookes, the chair man of Second Look, about the sorts of things we can expect to see, and how they got where they are today.

HUNOW: How long has Second Look been going for?

J: Second Look was formed in 2008 by six Bristol photographers for the purpose of being an artist-led organisation representing the broad range of practitioners in the photographic medium

HUNOW: What sorts of things do you feel you can offer people who are interested in photography in Bristol?

J: Second Look offers Bristol people interested in photography a platform for them to promote and develop their work and to engage in dialogue with each other and the broader public. Second Look also organises events to promote and showcase the photographic practice and to raise the profile of photography as a public art form.

HUNOW: How many photographers do you currently work with?

J: The group currently has around 25 members and we meet on a monthly basis.

HUNOW: How often do you hold exhibitions in the city?     

J: We endeavour to have at least one major exhibition each year along with other events such as TalkPhoto which is several times a year and the Photo-Marathon.

HUNOW: Why do you feel photography is an important medium to participate in?

J: The medium of photography has become a respected and collected art form in recent years and deserves increased exposure and recognition of the creative talent of those who participate in it. Additionally with the advent of digital photography and camera-phones it is important to encourage real creativity instead of a “snap-happy” approach which can diminish the status of the art form. This is why we  actively encourage our members to use film cameras where practical as this discourages the “snap” element. Film photography takes more time and is more costly but this causes the photographer to consider more carefully the composition and technical aspects of capturing the subject matter.

Photo by John Brookes

Photo by John Brookes

HUNOW: What advice would you give to anyone who is interested in starting up in photography?

J: Anyone starting up may wish to study some books about the subject and to look at the work of established photographers also considering attending classes on photography and the technical aspects. Above all they would be best advised not to invest in expensive equipment, this is not necessary. The subject matter and composition are the important aspects. Get to grips with composition and other basic technical skills then consider upgrading your equipment. It would be useful to try some inexpensive film cameras too such as the “Holga” range or second-hand items which are readily available at little cost. Finally beginners may wish to consider joining Second Look both for inspiration and gaining technical knowledge from the members who are at differing levels of skill and experience. We encourage all levels of ability in the art.

HUNOW: After Bristol People, what sorts of things can we look forward to seeing?

J: We aim to follow the Bristol People exhibition with a new theme throughout this year as a group project. We also have members who exhibit in their own right and these will be publicised through the website too.

See more about Second Look here, and find out what other exciting things they have going on.

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