People, Places, Portraits

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Irina Popescu


I was using the children’s centre – as a parent – and they told us about the photography workshops with bait. Photography’s been something that I’ve always been interested in, but just like anyone else: you go to a nice place and you start taking pictures. I was interested in doing something more with it and learning a bit more, so I attended the workshops.

For the first workshop we had an exhibition called Common Ground, which was displayed at Woodhorn and later on at The Baltic. And then the second one we did, which was with a different photographer, we had pictures exhibited in the Children’s Centre. I’ve learned a little bit more about photography and decided to upgrade my camera. I now have a DSLR and am just learning how to use manual mode. I guess that’s the biggest leap – I didn’t realise that it’s actually that complicated!

Soon after the first workshops, bait advertised for Creative Connectors, which was a programme to get people in the area involved in the arts, teach them a bit about community arts in particular, and give them tools and skills. So I applied for the programme and was accepted. I’ve been working on different projects since.

One project, which is ongoing at the moment, is called The Wonderfolk. I’ve contacted communities and asked them to get involved.  Because I’m interested in photography I’ve put across the idea to the groups to go out and find the wonderfolk – that’s the basis of this experience: finding the wonderfolk – so we went round Woodhorn just taking pictures of everything that looked mystical or out of the ordinary.

When I started the photography workshops I saw myself – well I still see myself – as an amateur, but I didn’t have any confidence whatsoever. If you asked me last year that this time this year would I be leading groups to go take pictures? I’d be like, no, me? No way! So it’s done quite a lot for my confidence.

I would like to keep learning, about photography and taking better pictures, and just see what comes up. I’ll just keep taking pictures and see where it leads me.

Photo: Stephen King