It’s a Wrap: A Round-up of The Shutter Hub OPEN 2016

Wow then! The Shutter Hub OPEN 2016 has come to a close, but it’s been so good that we couldn’t just leave things there. Here’s a little overview and round-up of everything that happened during the month.

We started with three exhibitions, showcasing work across the city of Cambridge in Hot Numbers, Novi and Stir. Launched with a string of friendly private view events, and making a change from the usual white walled gallery space, we spread out across these three relaxed and friendly spaces, and really reached out to our audience.

It worked! At the end of the month, figures were collated, and with total joy we discovered that over 30,000 people had passed through the three venues whilst the OPEN was on. Thirty thousand people!

“The exhibition has been a positive experience, the photographs added interest and vibrancy to the space. It was great to see so many creative people come together at Novi for the talks and workshops and we hope that it will be the first of many exhibitions. Thank you for everything, we have enjoyed working with you on this.”    Faye Knight Jones.

From several hundred entries, narrowed down to less than fifty pieces, one ‘Best in Show’ winner was selected. To be perfectly honest, they were all winners to have got this far, but the public vote went to the beautiful piece, ‘Untitled 2016’ by Anne Erhard.
Untitled 2016, Anne Erhard
Image: Unititled 2016, Anne Erhard.
‘I was not expecting to win at all, it’s especially lovely to hear that it was the audience that made the decision, I am very humbled that they liked the image so much.’     Anne Erhard, Photographer.

Delightfully other exhibitors expressed their congratulations on twitter, bringing us back to the true sense of community that we strive for. Laura Ward came a close second, whilst Hien Nguyen, Carolyn Brown, and Josh Murfitt shared third place.

We received some fabulous coverage from a wide variety of places: Cambridge based blogs, regional radio and TV, local publications such as Cambridge Edition, and wider spread publications such as Olympus Magazine. And of course, our own Shutter Hub members helped to spread the word, as they always do.


Image: Shutter Hub OPEN 2016 feature in Cambridge Edition.
Our programme of events started with a casual Meet Up at Stir, making new connections, asking questions, chatting and drinking good tea. It was fun, and felt like a great start to the season.

“I work with photographers and creatives, and going to a Shutter Hub meet up was invaluable. I loved hearing about other people’s experiences, and it was great to make connections with local talent. Networking is difficult, awkward and time consuming, but Karen and her team made it easy and relaxed. I’m so glad I connected with them.”    Jenny Hyde.

The following week we headed over to Novi, for talks by Kate O’Neill and Jackie King. It was a blast!

“I loved every second of connecting with photographers new to the industry and those more established. Recalling fun tales of life behind the lens and sharing top tips – it was a wonderful evening. Here’s to the next one!”    Jackie King.

Just a few doors up the road from our exhibition at Novi, Ai Weiwei’s Cubes and Trees was showing at The Heong Gallery. Apparently he popped in for a coffee.

A week later and we were over at Hot Numbers with three more talks. Variety is the spice of life, so they say, and we have to agree – night photography, photography for social change, and how to make money being your self, were the topics covered over the three evenings.

Justin Carey
Image: Wet Paint, Justin Carey.
First up was Justin Carey, sharing his incredible knowledge and passion for night photography. Justin took us on a journey into the night, showed us some beautiful imagery, and enticed us into the shadows with tips, both technical and practical – do not go out without warm clothes and a snack. (New life motto?)

“It was a real honour to be invited to talk about night photography at the Shutter Hub Open 2016. Preparing to speak about something I’ve been passionate about for the last few years reminded me again that there are many others out there who share the same love I have for the night. It was a pleasure to share this passion with those that attended the talk at Hot Numbers, as well as the work of some of the most influential night photographers of the last 100 years. There’s an incredible thread of creative night imagery that extends from the late 1800s to the present day, and will no doubt continue into the future alongside the ongoing development of camera technology. The feedback I received on the night and afterwards was so positive and that was very heartening. Hopefully some who attended will consider giving night photography a try. That would be awesome! Thanks again to Shutter Hub for continuing to support photographers of all levels, offering opportunities to broaden our perspectives and for inviting me to speak about something so close to my heart.”     Justin Carey.

The lovely Becky Warnock and Tom Elkins from Photovoice told us how photography can pave the way for social change. They premiered their latest project, MAMPU, working with Indonesian women affected by migrant work. Photovoice work all over the world, as well as in the UK, wherever they are needed to support, develop or instigate projects that enable people in socially excluded groups to use photography as a means of getting their voice heard.

“It was such a pleasure to come along and present PhotoVoice’s latest project as part of Shutter Hub OPEN – we had a brilliant evening and met some interesting and talented people. It so important to have events like this, supporting young photographers, encouraging mutual debate and learning, we think it’s the best way of fostering an exciting photographic community for everybody – we are proud to be part of it!”    Becky Warnock.

Mariah Wilde from Creative United spends her days sourcing innovative finance for the creative sector, so who better to come along and tell us how to make money by being ourselves? Mariah’s research has lead her to make discoveries about the impact of race, class and gender on the careers of British artists, and she skimmed the surface of the deep pool of findings in her talk for us at Hot Numbers.

“It was such a privilege to take part in this year’s Shutter Hub Open 2016. To be able to share my experiences and discuss issues that are important to artists and photographers is invaluable. The work that Shutter Hub is doing to carve out these areas for conversation is much needed and I look forward to seeing how it progresses.”    Mariah Wilde.

Image: Me & Orla, Sara Tasker.
Sara Tasker, the tiny powerhouse (we’ve called her it before, and we’ll call her it again!) of the Me & Orla instagram fame, hosted an inspiring workshop, giving participants mini photo projects to complete on the day, and teaching everyone something new about iPhoneography. Sara spoke openly about her experiences, what has worked for her and why, with a refreshing no-holds-barred attitude. Get a cup of tea and read our interview with Sara here.

“Thank you Shutter Hub for hosting my iPhoneography workshop – it was great to meet such a vibrant, engaged audience and the calibre of shots taken throughout the afternoon was fantastic. Hope to be back again next time!”    Sara Tasker.

Image: Kate O’Neill looks at Karen Thurman’s portfolio.
We were more than stoked with our line up of industry professionals for the portfolio review, the grand finale of the OPEN.

Zelda Cheatle (Independent Curator and Consultant in Photography), Dan Gaba (Photo Editor at the Wall Street Journal), Kate O’Neill (Metro Imaging/The Old Girls’ Club/The Precursor Project), Bindi Vora (Photographic Artist / Project Manager, The Photographers’ Gallery / Visiting Lecturer, University of Westminster) and Kerstin Hacker (Award Winning Photojournalist and Educator) joined us at Novi to share their knowledge and expertise with the lucky photographers who’d managed to bagsy a review, or two.

“A huge and sincere thank you for the opportunity to show work at the reviews in Cambridge.  What you are doing and building is brilliant and I know that the work continues!”    Elaine Duigenan.

The guys at Metro Imaging sponsored a review and invited photographers to apply for it… and they did! From all the entries photographer Caroline Thake was lucky enough to win the opportunity, and really made the most of it.

“The portfolio review allowed me an invaluable and much needed opportunity to share and discuss my work with creative and inspiring professionals and educators. Their unique insights gave me confidence in my work, suggested how I can develop and grow my practice and showed me potential routes into the highly competitive art world. I had a really good day, thank you so much!”    Caroline Thake.

Image: Dan Gaba looks at Elaine Duigenan’s portfolio.
Of course we hoped that those receiving reviews would have a really good day, but it made us even more happy, and humble, to hear how much the reviewers themselves enjoyed seeing the work. It was such a great day to end on!

“Thank you for letting me be part of the portfolio reviews. I always feel I get much more out of those things than they do – I always learn so much. Not everybody could pull off what you have with Shutter Hub, giving folks a warm and supportive place and network to explore photography. Kudos to you!”     Dan Gaba.

“The portfolio reviews provided a fascinating insight into work that is being made by professionals within the commercial field, artists working more in the fine art sector as well as those starting out with their education. The colleagues I was reviewing portfolios with, as chosen by Shutter Hub worked really well and offered a completely different perspective and opinion to those we saw. I enjoyed seeing the varying range of work, and individuals, some of which I have kept in touch with to further help them with their practice.”     Bindi Vora.

“It was a pleasure to participate in the Shutter Hub portfolio reviews. I met photographers of all ages and genders – ranging from very professional, abstract and beautiful geometric architectural works  to the well observed local life of a Cambridge academic. Newcomers to the medium and those with degrees in photography all showed interesting work which was responded to by my ideas of directions forward, the next step, the possibilities available. To provide a sounding board, feedback on work rather than specific commissions and expectations is a good way to treat these reviews. I am a great believer that by meeting up, showing work, sharing ideas and becoming part of a group like Shutter Hub that good things happen. (Not always instantaneously!)!!”    Zelda Cheatle.

You know, it’s hard to put into words how grateful we are for everyone’s involvement, and how proud we are to know such good people. Shutter Hub succeeds because of it’s members and the community they have helped to build, and we could not have achieved such success without our industry friends and supporters, or without the help of our sponsors, Metro Imaging.

It’s the feedback and friendships that are formed, that make it all worth while. The Shutter Hub OPEN 2016 has been more successful than we could have ever imagined, but don’t just take our word for it!

We’ll leave you with another two quotes that kind of sum it all up really. Why we do things, why it matters, and why we’ll be back!

“I was very pleased when I found out I’d had a piece selected for the OPEN. And when I saw the other pieces I felt humbled: the standard was very high. It’s also refreshing to be involved in a photography exhibition with such a broad remit: there were many different techniques, processes, and approaches on show. Also the meet-ups and talks were a great way to meet others, and to learn. Photography has become ubiquitous. Nothing wrong with that. But it’s nice to do something a little different.”    Richard Benedict.

“Photography can sometimes feel a little solitary, so by the care and crafting of Shutter Hub, photographers and those passionate about the genre, were brought together in unique settings all over Cambridge to share, distill, engage, chat, proffer and reflect on a multitude of aspects of our beloved industry.”     Jackie King.

Until next time, thank you!