Crossing Lines

Crossing Lines is an on-going forum for collaboration between photographers & researchers whose central interest is the urban situation, its constituents & its dynamics.

Primary page content

It seeks to provide

  • a valuable resource for developing a photographic practice
  • an opportunity to pursue a joint project away from academic demands
  • expanding contacts within photography
  • an additional audience for research-in-progress
  • an alternative channel for disseminating a project
  • the prospect of working with someone who might challenge one’s assumptions

It encourages

  • innovative approaches to collaboration at distance
  • serendipitous encounters
  • accidental outcomes

It believes that

  • everyone benefits from the sharing of supportive reactions to their work
  • photography in itself, and in the service of a wider project, is a developmental and explorative
  • process which can benefit from partnership with others
  • experimental work that has no formal platform for presentation benefits from a sympathetic forum

It is open to

  • all members of London Independent Photography
  • all students, researchers and staff of CUCR
  • all those who have been associated with CUCR and who seek a point of contact for continued practical involvement

Events Archive

Crossing Lines: Wednesday 4 May

Professor Stuart Hall Building, Room 3.05, 6-8 pm

The May meeting of The Crossing Lines Group will follow up matters that arose from Gill Golding’s presentation in April on Greenwich Millennium Village & the dilution of the aspirations of that enterprise. Reference will be made to Richard Rogers & ‘The New Architecture’ of the late 1990’s & Cities for a Small Planet. The trope of ‘culture-led’ cities & city environments will also be considered.

Gill Golding will open the proceedings & reference her work on the eastern end of the Greenwich Peninsular.

Peter Luck will be contributing an archive selection & offer reflection on the changes along the Western approaches with historical work created from 2005 onward.

Carol Kenna will present ‘Create Streets’. She poses the question: “Can you create sufficient new homes and maintain street patterns without resorting to high rise flats?" She indicates how this philosophy builds on the thinking behind the Bycker experiment in the 1970s. The loss of our vistas and horizons is a key theme for Carol.

Supporting interventions from the archive will come from John Levett & Allan Grainger.

The October meeting of The Crossing Lines Group will be devoted to the work of Rob Horsley at the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark.

The Aylesbury was the site of Tony Blair’s first public speech after his New Labour General Election victory in 1997. At that moment he said:

"I have chosen this housing estate … for a very simple reason. For 18 years the poorest people have been forgotten by government…There will be no forgotten people in the Britain I want to build."

The future turned out to be less uplifting.

Rob Horsley will be presenting his film of the Aylesbury & will take part in the discussions arising from the viewing.

The past, present & [imagined] future of public housing will form part of the discussion as will the role of documentary in both social debate & social action.

This session promises to be a valuable opportunity to suggest innovative approaches to both documenting accelerating urban movement [e.g.The Transition Group] & modes of resistance [e.g. The Elephant’s Journey Group; Arte Util; The Walking-Reading Group].

The September meeting of The Crossing Lines Group will take on a different format to usual...

The evening will be given over to discussions relating to the in-progress Workshop on Sensory Photography entitled Re-imaging :: Critical Urban Practice.

The workshop is part of London Independent Photography’s contribution to CUCR’s 2015 Urban Photo Fest.

The first part of the workshop was held on Saturday 1st August & this session of Crossing Lines will be an interim opportunity, for those members of the workshop who so wish, to present & discuss work-in-progress as well as different levels of ‘stickiness’ or ‘stuckness’.

Currently the workshop discussants will be: Gordana Johnson, Steve Jones, Carol Kenna, Melita Matovic Fliger, Jennifer Roberts, Norman Smith & John Warren.

Any PUC or LIP members who would like to participate in the evening's discussions will be greatly welcomed.

James Wakefield

James Wakefield will present work from his Masters final project; exploring how Erno Goldfinger's Balfron Tower in East London started out as a Communist inspired social housing block, quickly turned into a 'concrete monstrosity' and is about to be swallowed up into the London property market, to be reimagined as an prestigious and expensive private development.  What are the implications of this on the building's true 'place brand' and more importantly the local wider community?  James invites feedback on his experimental approach to the visual aspect of the project, which is due for examiner submission in a few weeks.

Andy Day writes

FORMER documents a series of deliberately apolitical yet provocative interventions into forgotten and unforgotten World War II, communist-era monuments scattered across Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia. Through collaboration with parkour practitioners from the region, these sites were discovered and playfully explored, challenging notions of historicity, memory, memorialisation and monumentalism using the intervention of bodies that are radically out of context.

Chris Burke writes

I was interested at that time in northern European perceptions of Spain e.g. Richard Ford, Theophile Gautier. My wife Jackie & I managed to survive giving private English lessons. The speculators were moving in fast and I think the journalists slowed down the pace of the demolitions of well known buildings and areas. Chris has put together a selection of photos from the regional El ABC together with a selection of his drawings and water colour sketches of that moment. Chris spent a number of years in Spain, including residence in Seville from 1974 to1978, at the beginning of the transition from the Franco era.

Carlo Navato writes

Carlo Navato will present some work that may or may not already exist. Either way it will probably continue his exploration of the sublime in contemporary urban landscapes, but on the other hand it may not. He tells us that his " photographic studies aim to question and explore our relationship with environment, both urban and rural, and are characterised by a fascination with the  linear progression of their past, present and possible future uses” so no doubt he’ll find something mildly interesting to share with us.

Barry Cole writes

I’ve a possible item for the meeting,   It’s not fully formed yet, and may never be, but…  I'll call it “In Passing”: many communities exist within the urban setting, in close proximity but rarely taking notice of each other and possibly living lives unimaginable to each other.

Mike Seaborne follows-up the talk he gave last year on 'Re-photography’.

Mike writes: Taking classic re-photography (as originally developed by Mark Klett, et all) as my starting point, I have been revisiting places in London I photographed 20-30 years ago in order to make new images to go alongside the originals with the aim of trying to convey a heightened sense of how new economic and social forces have reshaped the city. Rather than simply taking new photographs to make 'then & now' comparisons with the old ones, I have been seeking to use the capabilities of digital imaging to construct image pairs which inflect as well as reflect change.

John Levett will be be in Stuart Hall Building Room 3.05 from 6 to 8pm & available for discussion, evaluation, critique, speculation of current work-in-progress should anyone wish to take up the opportunity for an informal dialogue.

Peter Luck writes of

A Long Walk Across London or a very slow progress from the concrete barges at Rainham towards the Great Barn at Harmondsworth. Maybe eventually it will show something of the structure of London. In the meantime, I've not yet crossed Barking Creek. A sort of progress report and a meditation on how to present it.

If time allows, Peter’s presentation will be followed by a consideration of the recent publication by Alberto Toscano & Jeff Kinkle Cartographies of the Absolute

There may also be an opportunity to consider how political perceptions/preferences might influence how we apprehend the urban sphere (this in relation to Czech philosopher Jan Patocka’s ideas of ‘Post-Europe')

John Levett will be be in Stuart Hall Building Room 3.05 from 6 to 8pm & available for discussion, evaluation, critique, speculation of current work-in-progress should anyone wish to take up the opportunity for an informal dialogue.

Carol Kenna 

Carol Kenna writes of a previous session: During Trevor Crone’s presentation someone suggested that photos always need a narrative to explain their purpose. He didn’t expand on this to say whether a visual or prose narrative. If he was suggesting it be a prose narrative I am not sure that is necessarily so. The images had their own narrative through their structure and geographic flow. Carol will explore the matter of narrative in photographic representation.

Carlo Navato 

Carlo Navato writes: I’m interested in the juxtaposition between the human-made and the natural, in urban, sub-urban and exo-urban environments. Notions of ‘duration’ and ‘transition’ within the context of urban space play very well to my fascination with liminal spaces, particularly those that “appear” abandoned. What potentialities exist here, where the human and nature collide and suffuse, to find the sublime? This line of enquiry considers the linear progression of past, present and possible future uses of space, and a fascination with the aesthetic qualities of our surroundings. These are physical environments that suggest contestation. They offer possibilities.

If time permits John Levett will comment briefly upon Dan Budnik’s 1965 Selma March images and Marco Caterini’s most recent work The Generic City; Marco's new photographic project exploring the formation of new urban phenomena in South East Asia and currently at Palazzo Casali, Piazza Signorelli Cortona (AR), Italy until 15th of March.

Bas Losekoot is fresh to the Group and will share work from his current focus: The Urban Millennium Project. Links to his work are to be found here: CNN & The Urban Millennium.

The topographic in urban and locational photography hasn’t had an outing for sometime. We will consider its current status, the variety of interpretations and the intrusion of idealisations. Trevor Crone will present work alongside Peter Luck.

Hamish Stewart is fresh to the Group and will share the project: An Elevated View – a commuter’s view of London

Hamish writes:This project has been through several iterations over the past three to four years and comprises a commuter’s view of how we might see London constrained from the bus window.

Alongside Hamish’s presentation we will consider Tom Wood’s late-70s/early-80s work All Zones Off Peak

Peter Luck recently mailed me the following & contributions towards an answer will be floated & maybe catch the wind:

I'm really not sure about this but one question which came out of the Urban Encounters sessions was:

"As the continually remade city is always and inevitably on the threshold of a future, does it not make sense for photography to concern itself with that future?
Now is this barking up a phantom tree, or is there a real question, is it essentially political or isn't it and how does one go about it?"

John Levett will give an update on the latest manifestations of The Elephant’s Journey collaboration; the online site of which is here: The Elephant’s Journey.