Tag Archives: photographer

Retro Post #7: August 2009 – Section 44 Photo Walk

Possibly its most important event this year, the Medway Eyes Photo Walk drew attention from far and wide. Due to coverage on the BBC, in The Independent, Amateur Photographer, the British Jounal of Photography, as well as local papers, Monaxle and Medway Eyes became momentarily famous for all the wrong reasons. Medway Eyes didn’t set itself up as a civil rights group, but found itself at the heart of a debate which has been snowballing since legislation was introduced allowing police officers to arrest anyone, for
any reason, under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Section 44 is one of the more controversial laws introduced during New Labour’s tenure; part of an avalanche of more than 3600 new criminal offences set to bury us all in bureaucracy and undermine our rights. Under Section 44, the police need not have any grounds for arrest at all. So, if you carry a camera, or a mobile phone, or a rucksack, or if you drive a van, or wear a beard, then watch your back, because that’s all it takes. Abandoning all common sense, it seems, the government has exercised extreme stupidity
in order to legislate against extreme stupidity. What’s it going to do next? Arrest itself?

Despite the events which inspired the photo walk, the day itself saw a hefty contingent of happy photographers descend on Medway from all over the place. A slideshow of what they saw can be seen on the Rights and Wrongs page on the Medway Eyes website.

You can follow the details of Monaxle’s case on his blog.

And here’s some video. The first is from The Independent. The second is from Babycravat.

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Retro Post #4: April 2009 – Exposure

April 2009 saw Phil Dillon’s second solo exhibition, Exposure, at the Brook Theatre Gallery in Chatham.

Dillon, who has been described as “a cult”, exhibited a variety of works showcasing Medway and its musicians alongside some of his well-known London photographs and some of his more impressionistic work.

You can still view the exhibition on Flickr, and also the slideshow from the opening night gig which featured local bands The Lovedays, The Ambience and The Shagmonroes.

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Retro Post #3: March 2009 – Desolation Row

Desolation Row is an ongoing collaborative multimedia project that is Medway Eyes’ response to the regeneration that is taking place in Medway despite a lack of sufficient public consultation.

We believe that respectful management and preservation of a place’s heritage is the key to a successful regeneration, yet we have seen the Theatre Royal demolished, Aveling and Porter groundlessly condemned, and Sun Pier left to ruin. The council can see Sun Pier from their plush new offices. We’ve asked them when it is going to be fixed. We have not received a reply.

We also observe that regeneration in other areas has opened up waterfronts. Not here though. The waterfront will be covered in flats and closed off from the town by a bus station in the wrong place.

Sunday 15th March saw an assortment of creative locals – musicians, photographers, film makers, writers, artists and designers traipsing around the forgotten stretch of the Chatham/Rochester Hight Street. The plan for the shoot was to make it up as we went along and then go to the pub.

Our only disappointment was that the Bob Dylan which had been stencilled onto the side of the Jade Garden (by Redlock, we subsequently discovered) had been painted over. A real shame as it was the only thing breaking up the ghastly shade of Dull that the rest of the building was painted in. Anyway, thanks to our vigilant photographers, we’d heard of a second Bob Dylan painted on Bath Hard Lane. We found Bob to be wonderfully photogenic and a
real hit with the ladies. We did the second Desolation Row shoot two weeks later. We filmed some interviews and singing by the river and drank more beer.

Unfortunately, there was one thing missing; Bob Dylan. The second Bob had been painted over too. He’d been stencilled onto a filled-in railway arch on a scrubby bit of wasteland, so who would paint over it and why? Given that other graffiti had been left behind, including an indecipherable, artistically devoid tag about six feet high, we could come to only one conclusion; the council had been out with the whitewash again. It seems we were right, too. Medway Eyes photographer, Garry Jenkins was in the papes again for the second time in a week. The caption beneath his photo read “This Dylan image has since been painted over by council workers”. While they were at it, the council painted over another historic piece of graffiti; a tribute to Thee Milkshakes which had adorned the wall by the railway bridge for more than twenty-five years. You see, the council can’t have the general public seeing validity in vandalism. How will it manipulate us into believing that Medway needs regeneration if the crappy tags have to compete with artistic graffiti? So they painted over Bob and the Milkshakes leaving the rubbish behind in the name of making Medway a “cleaner and safer place”. The council whitewash is not for our safety, it is a tool of censorship, used to blunt our senses to its persistent cultural vandalism.

We’re letting this project find its own path and allowing it to take as long as it needs to to record change. There will be video, music and maybe a book. It is possible, but unlikely, that a physical gallery exhibition will accompany this project, so don’t be upset if there are no postcards of the hanging. The chances are we’ll manage another gig.

See the Desolation Row page on our website for more information.

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Medway Eyes on WordPress

Medway Eyes is an independent, informal artists’ collective from the Medway Towns in south-east England in the UK. This blog is where we publicise the events we put on, serving as a one stop shop for press and public alike.

We’ll be featuring a photographer each month, and this month it’s piX1966. Check her out.

We’ll be adding a series of posts about our activities over the past year or so, just as soon as we’ve redesigned our website.  After that, we’ll be looking forward and keeping you up to date with news and events.

We live at www.medwayeyes.co.uk, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, and you can contact us at medwayeyes@gmail.com.

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