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Foraging and Sustainable Photography Workshop Summary

On Saturday 4th December a fully booked group of foraging photographers took to the Tottenham marshes, led by the wonderfully creative artist Kathryn Attrill. Stopping here and there, the lively group thoughtfully snipped and clipped small pieces of nettles, dandelions and water mint. Focusing on sustainability, the group only took what was needed, ensuring the plants were able to regrow anything taken. As we ambled through the bright chilly marshes, Kathryn’s 35mm camera was passed around for anyone who wanted to take photos. The film that was later to be developed in the workshop.

Back at Bloqs, the tables were set for what appeared to be a bizarre surrealist meal with pieces of muslin cloth, measuring jugs, twine and a wooden spoon for everyone. Kathryn took us through the processes of making the concoction for the developer. A spellbinding process that ended with the passing around of the developer tank with everyone having a go at turning and tilting for 10 seconds before handing to the next person.

During the talk Kathryn gave, we got to know her personal take on sustainable photography relating to her relationship with her grandfather’s declining solo fishing business. There was a warmth and generosity that inspired and excited those of us lucky enough to attend. To such an extent, as an added bonus, Kathryn showed the group how to make phylograms after the workshop using the developer and left-over foraged plants. With the photo paper out of the dark-room bag, mint leaves, twigs, anything that would take up space on the paper, was dipped into the developer and carefully laid onto the photographic paper.

After being submerged in the fixer bath we waited for them to dry. And what was left was a very warm sense of knowledge sharing, trying new things and giving. Due to its popularity, the positive reception and energy from the workshop, new dates will be announced shortly. Watch this space (and Instagram!).       

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