Photography is essentially an empirical medium that is centred on what 'comes out'. This can rarely be accurately predicted, making it slippery and exciting at the same time because what 'comes out' may be more interesting than what was foreseen. Being open to, and recognising the possible merits of unpredicted outcomes, makes it a most formidable medium with infinite creative and expressive possibilities.
Coincidentally, we are all currently facing a situation that we cannot predict the end result of- in other words, what will 'come out'. The future is being defined by the present, and we do not know what it will be.
Attempts to critically evaluate a photograph can be complicated and frequently inconclusive, so I decided that my response to the images selected and laid out should be visceral rather than objective.
I am not reviewing these photographs from a genre perspective - even if that was a good thing anyway. It is more: how do I respond to these many wonderful images as descriptions of, and meditations on what we are all going through as individuals as well as citizens - as a society? Should I assess, or should I feel? We are all living through these strange and worrying times together, as well as isolated individuals.
As there are probably as many approaches as there are contributors, LIP Chronicles is almost certainly greater than the individual parts; resulting in a visual patchwork made up of windows of things happening 'out there' and mirrors reflecting the inner personal effects of the pandemic.
As a photographer you have to point your camera at things that actually exist. You therefore, have a marvellous opportunity to interpret the world for yourself rather than represent the ideas and prejudices of others. And this LIP project exemplifies this.
Almost every photograph we take is an historical document the second after it is made, whatever our skills or experience with the medium may be, so this collection takes on the significance for future generations of a kind of Bayeaux Tapestry.
From documentary to still-life, from multi-media to objets trouvés; it is all here. But the collection melds together beautifully. It feels inclusive. In no way is it overtly intellectual or self-indulgingly 'arty'. Some of the pieces may be challenging, but in an accessible way. The current mantra is: we are all in it together. And photographers all over the country are playing their part by collaborating in initiatives like LIP Chronicles.
London Independent Photography was conceived here in Derbyshire, primarily by two women, Janet Hall and Virginia Khuri with collaboration at its core - certainly not a camera club in the traditional form! Who would have thought then that this metropolitan based group would still be active 33 years later, and still made up of committed collaborators?
But then, who would have thought that the UK would have left Europe and be run by another Old Etonian......