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Wolves PhotoFest 2018 - Black Country Type

Following Wolves PhotoFest 2017 I worked with 2017 exhibitor Black Country Type (Tom Hicks). 

I mentored Tom through 2 exhibitions in Birmingham before bringing his work back to the Black Country with an exhibition of his images and producing his debut photobook. I created a website for Tom's images and designed his postcards and business cards.

The book launched at the Light House on 13th September 2018 alongside an exhibition of his images.

In conjunction with the book launch we ran 2 photo walks together in Wolverhampton to encourage others to look at their surroundings in a different way. Images from these walks were then compiled into the first edition of a new zine - Black Country Walks - Chapter 1: Kenneth. This was made available to participants and visitors at the launch of Tom's book. A photography workshop was kindly donated by Jessops, which was awarded to Lynne Hewitt, for her image selected by Jessops Academy project leader Lee Rolfe. 

This year's event was again made possible thanks to an Open Access Award from Creative Black Country's Creative People & Places scheme.

Images from the walk can be found on Tom's website.

"Working with Sarah has been a fantastic experience for me. It is not and exaggeration when I say that she has helped me to develop in all areas of my photographic practice.

One of her key skills is patience and she was very supportive in these early stages. I’d developed rudimentary techniques, both in terms of managing my images but also in terms of storage methods and printing .

Sarah was also instrumental in helping me to stage my first solo exhibition. The images I had submitted to Wolves Photofest had caught the eye of a curator at the Birmingham & Midlands Institute and I was invited to stage a small exhibition in early 2017. By this stage I was comfortable with arranging for my work to be printed. However, mounting an entire exhibition was a first for me and I had no idea of how to approach designing and hanging the work.

Under Sarah’s guidance I was able to develop an exhibition design and she oversaw the hanging of the work. Sarah subsequently helped me to design an exhibition as part of the Birmingham Design Festival.

In July 2018 I was fortunate to be approached by Sarah with the proposal that she work as a mentor for me. This proved to be a transformative period for me. I began to consider so many aspects of photographic practice in a new light. During this period Sarah has successfully bid for funding to enable me to work on a public engagement project with an award
from Creative Black Country. This has enabled me to mount an exhibition at the Wolverhampton Lighthouse Centre. In addition to this, we also staged two photowalks for members of the public.

Part of the funding came from a crowd sourcing campaign that was driven entirely by Sarah. It’s a testament to her marketing and promotional skills that the book reached and exceeded its target. The first print run of the book was sold out by the opening of my exhibition.

Working with Sarah has been an absolute pleasure - and a privilege. I feel extremely lucky and grateful to have had the opportunity to work with her. She is passionate about photography, organised and is an excellent communicator. She has also demonstrated an innovative approach to producing a book and associated events on a limited budget. When  funding appeared limited, she developed new ideas to raise money. 

From a personal point of view, I feel Sarah inspires confidence. This year has been a breakthrough period in terms of my artistic development and Sarah was instrumental in this." - Tom Hicks

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