Local photography, social change: A conversation between Wandsworth Photo Co-op and ArtLacuna

Wandsworth Art hosts a conversation with key members from Wandsworth Photo Co-op and ArtLacuna, two self-organised artists’ groups and spaces that have contributed significantly to the borough’s cultural lifeblood for over 40 years. 

Wandsworth Photo Co-op began in 1979 as a small group of amateurs passionate about using photography to support community groups, raise awareness of wider social issues, and give ordinary people a chance to speak. As they collected more members, projects and causes, they secured funding and by 1983 the Co-op had developed into a photography resource centre and picture library.

In 1984 they moved to an office premises in Webbs Road in Battersea, setting up a darkroom there. In 1991 the Co-op received funding to set up a bigger photography centre in Brixton, and was renamed Photofusion, which still continues its work today. 

Here, Chris Boot, Gina Glover and Geof Rayner, three members of the former Wandsworth Photo Co-op, speak to Alex Duncan, co-Director of ArtLacuna, about the local photography movement and how photography can empower communities to represent themselves.

After his time at the Co-op, Chris Boot moved on to run the pioneering international photography co-operative Magnum, before starting his own publishing enterprise. He was Executive Director of Aperture, New York until his return to South London earlier this year.

Gina Glover continues to explore photography’s potential to further social and environmental causes, with a particular focus on healthcare environments. She has exhibited internationally and in 2014 collaborated with her partner Geof and their daughter on a publication that addresses the way in which the world’s landscapes have been fundamentally altered by our use of energy. 

Dr Geof Rayner is a social scientist working in public health and ecology and a former consultant to the World Health Organisation and European Commission

Beyond his work at ArtLacuna, Battersea-based Alexander Duncan is also an artist and lecturer in Fine Art and Contextual Studies at Swansea College of Art. ArtLacuna is a not–for-profit artist-led space located on Falcon Road, Clapham Junction. Established in 2013, it accommodates artist studios, a new photographic darkroom, an exhibition space, and a programme of projects and events. ArtLacuna commissions new work and supports research and experimentation by emerging and lesser-represented artists. To this end, it provides affordable studios, a project space for visiting artists, and forums for discussion and conversation. Find out more about Alexander’s work with ArtLacuna in his Wandsworth Creatives film, a short video commissioned as part of a series to support young people learn about creative careers.

Discover more from the Wandsworth Photo Co-op Archive here.