Project Preview: 'God's Acre'

God’s acre a moravian term for their burial ground. Fetter Lane moravian church is set just off the King’s Road, Chelsea in one acre of land. The Moravians initially owned a much larger plot with plans for a settlement. As a missionary church this would be a staging post for missions to the Americas.

As a past resident of the Manse on the site I have watched as visitors tentatively wander through its gates, unsure of its purpose or history. There is another group who pass through the gates to attend on a sunday. These are the members of the Fetter Lane congregation. 

This community has many links to the wider narrative of the Moravian church. A small congregation made up of many members originally from overseas (West Indies, Tanzania, USA and South Africa). It is these custodians who hold the key to understanding the heritage and ethos of this space.

Over the last year I have been photographing and interviewing members of the congregation, in order to understand their outlook, history and vision for moravian close. these interviews have provided the foundation of my enquiry, mindful of these as i photograph the space.

My aim is to produce a photographic book that will be distributed to the local community. Gifting its residents with a greater understanding of the place and an invitation to its community. 

I am currently seeking funding opportunities for production of the book.

Announcement: Portrait of Britain

I am delighted to announce that this portrait i took of Ronnie in Belfast earlier this year has made it into this years "Portrait of Britain" a showcase of faces of Modern Britain run by the British Journal of Photography.

In partnership with JCDecaux, Portrait of Britain will showcase the work  on a network of digital screens throughout the country, from rail stations and airports, to shopping malls and high streets.  

Great to see portrait photography being celebrated, some brilliant entries, well worth keeping an eye out on screens and checking out the online gallery.

Portrait of Britain

 

 

 

Ronnie, Belfast 2017

©Laurence Gibson

Film: Koudelka Shooting Holy Land

I was fascinated by Koudelka's work when i first saw an his work exhibited at Arles. An understated man he attended the showing of his film at the ICA saying but a few words . This film is a great insight into his practice as he returns to the same locations on multiple occasions, revisiting and revising past compositions. As photographers we can learn much from his steady perserververance. He returns until the there is nothing left for the place to give him. In a world of fast and transient imagery, Koudelka is a master of his craft. Handholding his beast of a Fuji GX17 camera is if nothing else a physical feat, as well as a testament to his skills developed over a lifetime. This film is full of humour, from a figure that is not seeking the limelight. We are invited into the intimacy of his practice; from sitting on the side of the wall loading film, to inching closer to border guards. This is a much watch for every photographer no matter your genre.

Thank you Gilad Baram for his film and Josef Koudelka for allowing us into your world.

“Try to survive, and good luck!”
— Koudelka at the premiere of his film in London

Sulphur Miners

As you can see from the image below, the miners have no special tools or equipment to protect them from the toxic fumes. Some can afford gas masks which filter out some of the gas. From personal experience I can tell you than when the wind changes direction, the gas is so noxious it causes your eyes to water your throat to burn and that is with a mask.

 
 

see below a miner at work, chipping away the solid sulphur while it is still soft from the condensing tubes and lifting it away in blocks

Return from Travel, New Year 2017

I am excited about 2017. A new year, full of possibilities. 

 The blue flames of sulphur burning in the crater of Mount Ijen, Java, Indonesia September 2016. ©Laurence Gibson

The blue flames of sulphur burning in the crater of Mount Ijen, Java, Indonesia September 2016. ©Laurence Gibson

2016 was a wonderful year of travel, I visited many different countries, which have provided me with a fresh outlook on my own. The image above was taken in East Java, Indonesia. This is one of the places which had the most impact in the last year. Here men work in toxic gases to collect solid sulphur to sell and make a living. When not mining they are farming; in both of these trades through necessity they life large weights across difficult terrain. But in spite of all this hardship. it is striking to witness their positive outlook. As Mount Ijen is becoming increasingly popular as a tourist attraction, the miners have now a new form of income, as one of the villagers has developed a home stay and tour business see here contracting the villagers to host tourists. Through this they have been able to lobby the government to get a metalled road into the village. It is amazing how the impact of one individual can impact a whole community.

I am now excited about 2017 with new opportunities to collaborate with individuals and organisations. My aim to continue to produce projects which shine light on the misunderstood and misrepresented.

 

To contact me about a project or for more information about my work drop me a line on email or social media