Three Exhibitions by Laura Ward

Shutter Hub Open, part of Photomonth East London
It’s difficult to put into words how brilliant the Shutter Hub Open was to work on. 220 images from 150 photographers from all over the world - that’s many hours of organising, publicising, and hanging work - at the Truman Brewery off Brick Lane in London. It was also wonderful to meet so many great photographers and listen to the stories behind the photographs. My image was of Emma Watson on the London tube as she was #waitingforthecall. An exhausting but incredible week.

Shutter Hub Open

Out of the Ordinary, Bridewell Theatre
It was straight from Truman Brewery to Bridewell Theatre in the blink of an eye. Karen at Shutter Hub asked me to curate a Shutter Hub show, from concept to selection. I was grateful and thrilled to be asked. The selection process wasn’t easy, with photographers Christopher Bird, Phillipa Bloom, Matt Dever, Mieke Douglas, Anna Harrison, Pippa Healy, Simon Isaac, Ray Knox, Janet Lees, Anneleen Lindsay, Ioana Marinca, Lisa Mitchell, Natalie Paetzold, Clare Park, Ann Petruckevitch, Tina Reid, Barry Reid, Jo Stapleton, Marianne van Loo, Stephen Williams making the cut. The installation of the show went smoothly with a busy (Monday!) opening that evening.

Out of the Ordinary

Staff Art Show, British Museum
My next show is in gallery 5 of the British Museum. I cannot wait to see the selection and installation. Pictures to follow.


A Tuscan adventure by Laura Ward

Recently I was on a train bound for a northern city in Italy . People were boarding like they were on a Ryan Air flight, desperate to cram their suitcases into whatever space they could. They stood in the aisles and muttered to one another in tense and tired tones. At one stage the train stopped inside a long, dark tunnel and the lights went out. Heat began to rise and I forced myself to take deeper, slower breathes. The train would start moving again and the lights would come on soon, surely.

By this point I’d been in Italy for 6 days. It may have been September but the heat was still pounding the low 30s and I’d been bitten by mosquitos almost 50 times. On day 3 I had started to sleep more soundly than I had for a while. It was probably all the cycling I’d been doing through Tuscany. It was as idylic as it sounds and worth every mosquito bite.

 5 minutes away by bike

5 minutes away by bike

I’d been out of sorts for a few weeks. Books, music, gardening and walking were not really helping. During the tense, dark moment on the train I had just about enough time to have a stern word with myself. What was wrong with me? <edit a month later: I figured out what was wrong but that’s a whole other adventure>.

A year ago I decided I really wanted to go to Norway but for some reason found myself in Italy. This, of course, was no hardship. I casually discussed Italy with an Italian colleague and then found myself going to her neck of the Tuscan woods, doing photography work at an Air B&B in Torre del Lago. A later blog post on that will follow.

I don’t normally travel with my heavier camera gear but this gave me a good reason. I had a job to do. I could take as many pictures as I wanted of the apartment, Torre del Lago and the places I visited from that base including Lucca and Florence. I also traveled up to Como via Milan and then onto Zurich to celebrate another landmark birthday (and to photograph that too). This was a lot of travel so I packed lightly and made sure I could cycle with my camera gear.

All was well until I lost my Olympus Pen EE-2, gifted only two weeks before on my birthday. Foolishly it had dangled from my handlebar. Foolishly I had only shot one roll through it. I was so angry with myself and didn’t talk for hours.

 My lovely camera, now lost.

My lovely camera, now lost.

I took around 850 photographs on my trip. I was surprised to take so many. There are around a roll of film’s worth of photographs I’d like to keep, but the rest don’t really do very much for me. I found myself pining for film the entire time, wishing I’d packed differently and mourning the loss of my Olympus Pen EE-2 hard.

When I finally came back from my trip (with the mandatory flu caught on the plane home, which I still have 2 weeks later), I found myself back in waiting rooms with surgeons deciding what they’re going to do to me. There will be a bit more of that going on it seems. I am not fed up, nor do I have post-holiday blues, but it’s been an interesting time of reflection. A lot of clearing out.

There’s a lot of good stuff though. More writing, books through the post (thank you Hannah!), trees through the post (I love you CB), a friend on my doorstep with a plant and in need of a cuppa. And a staggering evening watching Kathryn Joseph. We hugged, chatted a little, she made me blush and wrote me a love note. A perfectly timed tonic.

There is also the fact I am helping out and taking part with the Shutter Hub Open at Truman Brewery for East London International Photography Festival which is going to be brilliant. I’m exhibiting at the British Museum staff art show and I am curating something for Shutter Hub at Bridewell Theatre. I am ridiculously excited about that. More posts about this soon.

Dino Island and The Lake by Laura Ward

I blogged a little bit last year about how I found myself gravitating towards water, and in particular Crystal Palace lake which is a local London Victorian charm. The lake and the spaces around it served as an antidote to the noise and bustle of central London. I'm now showing some of these pictures alongside Nik Strangelove from February 23rd at The Douglas Fir in London.

Entitled Dino Island (Nik's bit) and The Lake (my bit), my photographs are from two separate series which explore the healing properties of water and the positive impact of nature during periods of personal metamorphosis. I met Nik through making these photographs. It was that classic tale of discovering someone on Instagram who is also interested in local landmarks.

Nik's work is a collection of photographs of the dinosaurs that live in Crystal Palace Park, that were created in 1854 as part of the Crystal Palace Exhibition. These prehistoric park dwelling friends are in danger of crumbling into extinction all over again. Working in partnership with the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs Nik gained exclusive access to Dino Island to photograph the dinosaurs, in a bid to help with fundraising efforts for their conservation. 

Come and join us this Friday. It's up for 6 weeks!


2017 photography review by Laura Ward

Like a lot of people, I love the turning of a year. I love the newness of January and how it feels like shedding a skin. 2017 on the whole has been pretty amazing, though December has been a beast. As we edge closer to January I thank my lucky stars that everyone I love is still alive.

I set out to push myself in 2017 to do things I hadn't done before. I gave a couple of talks which were well received. I played a small role in an appeal for homeless photographers. I wrote articles - something that doesn't come easily to me. I even blogged more which is a small miracle. I only exhibited once and that was at The Paxton Centre, but my work was published in Oh Comely and presented at the ICA thanks to Emma Watson.

I need to scale back a bit next year but I've just come back from a short meeting to discuss a small possible exhibition on my doorstep with a local photographer.  Effra FC also turns 10, so something had better mark that occasion.

Here are some of my favourites from the year shot on 35mm and digital.  Go here for 20162015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.

May and June by Laura Ward

Busy days roll into weeks and months. I'd be nothing without my calendars and planners. 

I exhibited for the month of May in a multi-media group show called View/Review in south east London. The Paxton Centre is a really beautiful creative space in Crystal Palace and just one of the many reasons I really love living where I do. 

I also helped to launch an appeal with Shutter Hub and Accumulate to get homeless photographers to keep taking photos. If you have an old camera you could donate to the appeal, we would love to hear from you. 

Just last weekend I ventured to Edinburgh’s Retina Festival with Shutter Hub to deliver the 2017 Shutter Hub OPEN . I also escaped for a weekend to the Norfolk coast with Karen Harvey, Jayne Lloyd and Rachel Wright (aka The Dream Team) to talk photography, eat chips and rescue trapped birds.

My little cohort of south London photographers Effra FC have recently been putting on a couple of great little events. Effra 'maintains' a pretty low social media presence but somehow we manage to pull things together. 

Somewhere in between all of that I had my annual jaunt into the peak district, got chased by a wild horse, documented my mother's high risk eye operation, tried really hard to study and went to a series of exquisite gigs. A true respite from the horrors of current affairs.

And I wonder why I’ve taken fewer photographs recently?



2016 photography review by Laura Ward

I had every intention to blog more in 2016. I prefer this space to wordpress even though very few venture here to read my words. That's OK. We're living in a world of likes and hearts and broadcasts via Twitter and Facebook these days.

I know it's been a difficult year for a lot of people, for countries, for the environment, for communities. The latter half of my own 2016 has been <insert very bad words>. I am not going to blog about that but I've found it incredibly easy to keep on taking photographs. 

There is plenty that I haven't blogged about which has been really, really, really exciting and good and cathartic and creative. Plenty of excursions - sometimes with only a tent, a camera and a willing companion. Exhibitions in Cambridge and London (one of which is due to head to Tel Aviv next year thanks to the force for good which is Shutterhub and Karen Harvey). There have been photography shows and conversations I can't stop thinking about. I've collaborated with Margaret Clift McNulty on a small project that I want to share in the new year.  Effra FC hosted its inaugural 'in conversation with..' event which was so inspiring. I'm looking forward to it being my turn in early 2017 where I'll be in conversation with David Viramati Sampson. I'm grateful for the support and warm words of so many people. Am I gushing? Maybe. These are darker days and it feels important to be grateful.

Here are my favourites (the ones I can share) from the year shot on film, digital and phone.  This is the first year I seem to have swapped musicians for trees.

Go here for 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.


Shutter Hub by Laura Ward


I am excited to be showing a bit of work in Cambridge next month with the awesome Shutter Hub. Not only has it felt really easy (they're so organised - I love them) but my prints look great and nearby family get to come along to the private view.

I'm grateful to them for showing me in two venues - Hot Numbers and Stir.

For more information on the full Shutter Hub Open programme, follow this link. Events, workshops, exhibitions, conversations etc.

<edit: I later won 2nd place for best in show. Thank you!>