Photofusion Member | Tom Leighton

“In a city where we are so crushed together we can barely breathe I often find it bizarre that we don’t take the time to look up from our i-phones and chat to the people in the bus queue (If you’re stuck for material there’s always the weather to moan about) or even the people on our doorstep. Photographer Tom Leighton’s new exhibition ‘Picture the Block’ endeavours to break the neighbour silence by getting to know his own and using them as models for his latest project.” (South London Art Map).

© Tom Leighton, from the project “Picture the Block”

Picture the block is a series about my neighbours. It is a photography project and series of workshops based on the residents of the D’Eynsford Estate. The long corridors of the block where I live are both the studio and the gallery for the exhibition.

It offers an opportunity for neighbours to be fully involved in a photography project that shows off and celebrates living in this great little corner of Camberwell.

There were 5 or 6 photography sessions held over the course of a few weeks. I always allow my subjects the final choice of photo to be used in the exhibition. I find this helps them to relax and feel more comfortable about being photographed.

Personally, the whole project brought me even closer to my neighbours and introduced me to new friends. It is not just the actual photography session, but also the whole process of photography workshops; organising the exhibition and photography sessions; and curating the gallery when it was open to the public. I couldn’t do that alone, and the help I got from neighbours and the time spent with them was extremely rewarding.

The first photos were displayed during the Camberwell Arts Festival in June 2013, but the 30 photos only filled out half of the corridor. In the New Year I want to do a second round of photos with more neighbours to fill the entire corridor. The photos will then be back for a new, improved exhibition, hopefully with more workshops for the residents on photography.

Tom Leighton Tom Leighton Tom Leighton Tom Leighton Tom Leighton