Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) began as a photography project back in 1996. Twenty years on, the role of the photographer and the value of photography are in flux. Camera technology is now so cheap and pervasive that taking a photograph no longer holds an intrinsic value.
As part of our 20th anniversary celebrations, we invited twenty photographers who have known KWMC through the years to create new work reflecting on how photography has changed over the past two decades.
We hoped the modest commissions would offer a safe space for trying something new, something out of the ordinary from day-to-day practice. We have been overwhelmed by the warmth, generosity and diversity of the responses. An exhilarating mix of new and old technologies have been used: from large format cameras to pinhole cameras to polaroids. Some have made use of KWMC: The Factory, our digital fabrication space, and mixed photography with digital fabrication processes using a CNC machine and laser cutter, while others have mixed photography with data and social media.
Each of the works explores where, when and how the photographer can construct value and offers insights into how photography might unfold in the future. For many, the democratising potential of ever more ubiquitous camera technology is exciting and empowering. However, this new media world is not without difficulties and dilemmas, not least where structural inequalities in power and resources persist, or are even intensified, in our pursuit of the desire for self-representation.
You might notice that more than twenty photographers contributed work to 20/20 Visions. As those who know us well will appreciate, this isn’t the first time KWMC has delivered more than it said it would…We hope you enjoy the work. We certainly enjoyed helping to make it.
With heartfelt thanks to all involved.
Head of Arts
Support: please get in touch if you’re interested in becoming a regular donor. With your support KWMC can enable more people to not only enjoy and create great art but to access the opportunities for learning, training and social action that it brings.