Looking without seeing, isn't looking at all…

Welcome to Our Photography Group

We're a group of photographers who meet in Liverpool and Birkenhead, UK. Often, we work together on themes. These include thinking about the City, the nature of memory, and the nature of images themselves which go towards making memory and are in turn influenced by memory. We hope you enjoy looking at the pictures, and that the comments inspire you to reflect.


Assessment Work

Moving toward a more structured program of learning, the group have been making use of skills developed to date, in order to approach their first 8 week evaluated course.  Working on session content that will span 3 levels of difficulty, the group have recently completed Level One of their Digital Photography training. The aim is to introduce group members to the process of applying technical ability, to dedicated assignments and within a set time frame.

The possibility of attaining accreditation in lieu of a nationally recognised qualification, is something that the group would welcome, especially given the variety of talent and skill that has been expressed to date.  Most have attended sessions for quite a time and the revelation of existing subject knowledge, that has come alongside set assignment work, has given the group cause for a much greater and renewed enthusiasm.

Visit the groups page over on the Photo School site & take a look at some of the work that the group has produced during the sessions for Level One – Topics have included, the correct use of  Flash, Aperture & Shutter, Depth of Field & white balance settings.

Levels two & Three, will introduce group members to the more focused methodology required in order to become artists with the ability to pre-plan and pre-visualise their work.  If the hassle of camera mode, exposure setting/compensation, has been addressed, then they will soon realise the creative freedom to concentrate upon creative composition, for example.

Celebration – Park View 10th Anniversary @ the Palm House

Hello all !  Just a quick update on the Photography Groups  transition & metamorphosis into the ART & SOUL Photographic Group.  We will endeavour to keep you posted with further developments, but for now – here’s a pic of our intrepid reporters Steve & Ian, on duty as Event photographers …

Who are you looking at ? ...

Who are you looking at ? …


The Group is expanding & following the transition into ART & SOUL, we will be exploring many different & exciting new projects.  There will also be scope for more advanced Group Members to get involved with other Session Groups. The plan is to have a dedicated team, working on projects such as Zona, the project magazine, as well as other assignments such as film, promotion & publicity work for the Drama Group, Website, Blog & Facebook pages etc …


Looking for the best shot ... across two formats !

Looking for the best shot … across two formats !


Happy New Year !

Hello to all !

Back and looking forward to a creative 2013, the group have been catching up with work begun before the new year.  Working separately on themed and individual pieces, they have been exploring the basics of image restoration, as well as, imagining themselves in possession of super powers ?

These subjects will be expanded upon throughout the year and we will also be exhibiting new works upon completion of exhibition timetables etc.


Image Restoration Techniques

Maureen Restoration 1

Maureen Restoration 1


Super Powers


Asked to imagine the ownership of supernatural or special abilities, the group have begun exploring how we might illustrate these powers in either a realistic or ‘Comic Book’ style.

We will revisit this theme soon, so please keep visiting to see our progress …

moleman and sprite

moleman and sprite



split screen & celsius

split screen & celsius


Everything Leads To This


Group member Michael has resurrected his passion for music & set about putting together a compilation of songs on C.D.  Helped by the Photo Group, he has produced this disc using images captured by the group exploring Commercial Photography as well as Design & Packaging techniques.  Michael allowed the group to use personal family images and was keen that the disc image included a photo of his GrandFather taken when a young man in New York.  Like the tracks, this helped get over the timeless feel that Michael was looking for. A young man, possibly starting a new journey on an as yet untraveled path.  The future looking bright and the road behind a distant memory …


singer (2) Blog UploadUntitled-1


Everythign Leads To This

Everything Leads To This


Identity – continued …

Simply by including the flag in the background of this image, we can flavour the way in which our eyes taste the image ? Does this image leave a good or bad taste in your mind ? Who do you see ?

Please CLICK HERE to visit our partner Blog at Hope Street Peeps for more Identity based Street Portraiture …

Continuing with our exploration of the themes of Identity and Personality, we have been creating some simple self portraits.  Discussing the many ways in which our likeness is used in order that we simply be able to navigate our daily lives, we looked into how the word ‘identity’ has taken on an often negative meaning.   Images taken of ourselves can be used to mark our progress through the world and life in general holidays, birthdays, academic events, parties, religious occasions etc.  However prevalent via Social Networking Sites or hidden away in Mum’s old albums and shoeboxes under beds the world over, how do these images convey any personal, intellectual or spiritual growth ?  How well do they illustrate the multifaceted, changeable beings that lay behind those glossy stares, blurred shapes and false smiles ?

Why so serious ?

The Group are exploring the many different ways in which we can by choice, or have our identity changed for us.  We have begun by looking at the fact that some of us will always rebel against this and all following apparent attempts at control and how some of us are either happy to go along with the flow – or oblivious in any case ?

Exploring the various stages that our collective and individual Identities can go through, the Group had fun remembering the early stages of being introduced to the idea of conforming, conforming to ‘NORMAL’ patterns of behaviour – to the idea of ‘fitting in’.  When we move up to the ‘big school’, are we gaining independence, or merely being prepared for the start line of the Rat Race ?

The Group alsoexplored the concept of including  the remote shuter release in the images that they took of themselves.  This serves to illustrate the fact that they havetaken ownership and control over the image.  After all, it is this type of image that adorns most kinds of ID such as Passports etc.  These images often contain no another aspect of our individuality, other than for our facial features – do these convey anything of our personality, beliefs or aspirations ? Click here for image gallery >>>


Below are some of the finished Identity pieces, created by the Photography Groups on both sides of the River …

I am a true Liverpool fan and since the return of King Kenny, I have been delighted that he has come back to the City and the Club. A Liverpool Legend ! The Carling Cup, our first Cup in so many years _ I hope we can do the double by winning the FA CuP ? We haven’t really done that well since winning 5 trophies during the 2001 season and then the Champions League in Istanbul in 2005.

This image represents all of the things that were never said. My Mum has passed away and my Sister and I do not speak any more. All of the objects in the photo, belong to my Mum and are very precious to me ! The writing is in Latin and was my Mum’s favourite song – The wind beneath my wings ….

Looking back at 10 years old, young, fresh & innocent. Looking back at 18 yeras old, young, mature and teeaged – I felt ok. Looking back now at 50, I hate looking in the mirror, hate the look of lines and wrinkles.

This image represents one generation of my family, my children. I hope to recreate one of the next generation, with my grand children.

We all hide behind different masks, sometimes when it suits ! But, what is really behind this face – you tell me ? You may think looking at this, that I’m a Squaddie, BNP member or just a man facing his future. Life and death, its all just a fine line. The truth is, I’m really a nice guy !

Many places yet to go, yet to know ! They seek me here, they seek me there, they serve to seek me everywhere !

Self portrait with Siebe Gorman Divers Helmet. My Dad was a saturation diver for Comet diving. Before that, he was an AB Seaman. I have worked on the Docks and Ship yards in Liverpool, Ireland and in Rotterdam. I now work offshore as a Rigger. I’m getting married in August in San Diego – which has a large Naval Port. When I was working on the Docks and in the Ship Yards, As the ships would leave, I always wondered what it might ne like where they were going ? I would alwyays ask the Crews, I always wanted to go. It seems there’s no getting away from the Sea !

I can leave my ID, but can never leve me ! The items in my bag, at any given time, are known as my ID. These items are such as my driving license which depicts a Blonde of some 10 years ago ! This however, is still legally accepted as proof of who I am ? My bus pass shows a Brunette,overweight ! But, allows me to travel on the local buses. Other items include my Angel, given to me by my Mother, to be with e everywhere I go. My make up is also a part of me as I feel drab without any. However, NONE of this is ME ! Who am I ? i’m a Daughter, a Mother, an Aunt, a Sister, a Neighbour, a Friend – I am Karen ! As I say, my ID is held in a bag and I can always walk away from that, but I can never walk away from ME !

Stroboscopic Photography

Further to our experimenting with light, the Wirral Group have also been looking into using strobe flash to create multiple exposures.  Setting the camera to ‘manual’ mode – selecting a fairly small aperture ( around f8 ) and an exposure time of between 1 and 2 seconds, the trick is to  work out how many flashes we’ll get in that time.  Setting the flash to ‘manual’ mode and placing it on a separate stand with wireless slave attached, the power output was reduced to 1/16th of full power and between 3 and 5 hz.  The self timer was set so as to allow the subject to get into position.  Focussing was done with the lights on and then the autofocus was switched off – this is so that, once in the dark, the camera will not ‘hunt’ back and forth attempting to refocus the subject.  We played around with our settings until we settled on an exposure of 2 seconds and a cycle of around 5 -6 flashes each time.  Much fun and giggling ensued …

Lets face it ...

Painting with Light

The Wirral Photography Group, have been having fun lately.  They have been experimenting in darkened rooms, bumping about and tracing colourful trails in mid-air !  Using simple objects, they have experimented with exposure times between 2 and 30 seconds, to produce images illuminated via various light emitting tools – such as LED key rings, novelty toys and laser pointers of varying colours.  The trick mis to keep the light source moving, at first painting the scene with one colour ( such as green ) and then accentuating this using the smaller pin point light sources ( in red etc ) to create the swirls and trails.

Spider Wirral Photography Group - Painting with Light - Brain Storm.


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Now will soon be Then …

Looking into what makes a good story & further, who decides what makes a good story – the Group have been exploring different techniques, such as black & white.  Discussing how we might tell a story using a single image, we set about finding a simple narrative with which to convey a happening or occurrence such as a family routine for example …

Exhibition Flyer

We also explored the reasoning behind which stories are chosen to merit archival for the future ?  Visiting local exhibitions and looking at the work of other Photographers, we enjoyed the prospect of creating an exhibition of images that tell selected random stories, mini insights into the lives of Group Members – how they see the world and what interests and matters to them …

Hope Street Peeps

Working on our Documentary technique, we have begun exploring street photography with our Hope Street Peeps project.  Hoping to continue our aim to meet as meany people as possible, we are in the process of creating a simple but important visual archive of everyday stories & everyday people – for the future…

Hope Street Peeps- Why not stop & tell us your story ?

Please visit http//hopestreetpeeps.wordpress.com

Sharp Waters Soft Visions

We are all used to seeing the landmarks and well-known areas of our Towns and Cities, we are also well aware of how these places can appear in snapshot form, inside corporate brochures or in Tourist Information.  What if we are asked to think about these places when away from them ?  If you could draw a picture inside your mind – on the back of your eyelids – what would you scribble.  Would this image cut through, pin sharp and precise or would it slowly emerge, a fuzzy and unprocessed negative ?

We may pass the same streets everyday, either on our way to and from work or just whilst going about our daily routines.  We will time precisely, the paths we take, knowing that if the bus is running on time, that the view of the River will be perfectly framed as we pass the top of a particular street.  We may even sit in the same seat, so as to allow for this synchronous enjoyment each day.

 When recreating these images in our minds eye, do we find that often, we begin to mix up familiar features from other scenes ?  Do we find ourselves trawling the data banks of the aforementioned “Touristy” pictures that we have on file ?  Is this just another form of visual apathy ?  Is there still scope for filling these aesthetic gaps with images that make us feel, as well as merely recognise a particular place ?

Please see Gareth’s Gallery here

Who put the id in ID ?

The face that launched a thousand ifs

Exploring the everyday images we see of ourselves, we discussed the interesting fact, that when photographed by someone else, we are often more at ease than if asked to produce a self-portrait.  When photographed by someone else, we can always force a grimace, whether we manage to blink or not. No one wants to be the one ruining the group photo with a face like a wet weekend !   If  in complete control of when the shutter is released and so how we choose to pose, why the deep, churning fear ?  When in control of the self-portrait process, why do we feel as though we have none ?  Is it because when captured by somebody else, we can hide behind the visage that we believe they see, the projected identity or avatar version of the person we think the world sees ?

The innumerable experiences from childhood to adulthood, that shape and form the encoded neural responses, learned and rehearsed over and again.  Do we settle for the programming, or are we capable of unlearning the set responses that our faces project ?  Muscle memory can be used to rehabilitate people who have suffered trauma, what about people who haven’t ?  What if we’ve become so used to the masks we all wear, that we may be in danger of  forgetting the inner self ? Is there such a thing ?

We are well aware of the subject of identity theft, it’s just one more item on the “Fear List”.  The concept expects us to accept that all we are is a number – doesn’t it ?  However, if we don’t accept this, don’t want ID cards as well as to be monitored 24 / 7, everywhere we go –  why do we fear it ?  If everything about us as individuals is condensed into an unnatractive, clinical out of date picture and a string of letters and digits, then what is it that is in danger of being stolen ?

The prevalence of Social Networking, video game character avatars, augmented and virtual reality technologies, it could be argued, could lead to a collective undoing of individuality.  We are already interacting via animated versions of ourselves in dimly, monitor lit rooms.  Judging each other based upon personality profiles, status updates and similarly imagined lists of numerically significant “friends”.

Are any of our fears unfounded ?  Is it just the natural evolution of communication and language ?  One generation just coming to terms with its age, technologically forgotten and unsure of how to feel about this ?

Watch the birdie and say, ” cheese” …….                                                                                                                                                  Please see full Gallery