John Walmsley Surrey, United Kingdom
I've worked as a freelance documentary photographer since leaving Art School in 1968. My final year project on A.S. Neill and his democratic school, Summerhill, was published as a Penguin Education Special in 1969. My work is in the Permanent Collections of the National Portrait Gallery, London, and la Bibliothèque national de France, Paris.
I particularly like photographing people, ordinary people, doing what they do. Most of the sets of pictures which have 'lasted' were ones I self-started and self-financed. They can all be seen on my Flickr site.
I'd like to have more work in exhibitions so I'm very happy to have found Curator Space. I've exhibited work at the National Portrait Gallery twice and at the Bluecoat, Liverpool, but also like to show in smaller, less obvious places. When the Charing Cross Hospital, London, was opened, I put up a temporary exhibition there which was great for all the people with time on their hands. It brightened their day.
At the end of summer terms, I used to work with school kids, often the less academic but, I always thought, more enthusiastic and entrepreneurial spirits, and we'd spend the week on a project of their choice.
I now have a motto: 'Artists should be paid, too'. It seems to me that people do not think they should have to pay for art. "It's there on the web so I can use it, right?" I give talks to artists, actors, photographers about what to do when someone uses your expensively produced work and refuses to pay for it. On this subject, I'm amazed that one artist will copy the work of another or incorporate it into their 'new work', without even asking or giving any credit to the riginal artist. I've suffered from this and it makes me very cross. Please do not do it. It's nice to ask.
With social media, I'm a lone voice in the forest. I've read their T+Cs and read about the people who own and run those sites and the way they treat young people. I don't want anything to do with them so I don't 'Do' social media. Many artists, on the other hand, find it works for them. But, it all looks too dangerous to me. Flickr and LinkedIn are OK, though.
'Falling Walls', mail art exhibition.
01/11/2019 to 16/11/2019
'Falling Walls' exhibition, part of the 'Berliner Zeitgeist' project at the Stroud Valleys Artspace, Stroud, Gloucestershire. This was an exhibition of Mail Art to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall.
|Stroud Valleys Artspace., Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK.||Details|
Anna Scher Children's Theatre, 1972.
In 1972, I spent many happy evenings photographing the Anna Scher Childen's Theatre in Islington. As with my other projects, I did it because it was interesting, fascinating, and was great for these local kids. This publication is one of the six of my work published by Café Royal Books: www.caferoyalbooks.com. The lad on the cover is a...[Read more]
'Finding Our Voice'
26/05/2018 to 08/07/2018
In 1968, I was a student at the Guildford School of Art. We were unhappy at the quality of teaching and structure of the courses so the students and concerned staff met to discuss what could be done and then asked to talk with the governors. They refused again and again so we began a sit-in which became the longest ever at a UK educational...[Read more]
|Guildford House Gallery, Guildford||Details|
Protest and standing up for yourself.
Liverpool John Moore's University held a four day festival called, 'Time Tunnel', and invited me to talk to, mainly, Fine Art students about protest, after my involvement with the long sit-in at the Guildford School of Art in 1968. I'm concerned that students these days are not given enough real life advice for a very demanding business...[Read more]
|Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool||Details|
Liverpool Free School exhibition
20/07/2017 to 01/10/2017
In 1971 I had photographed the Liverpool Free School. In 2017 the photos were exhibited at the Bluecoat in Liverpool as part of the 'Abacus' exhibition. Also known as the Scotland Road or Scottie Road Free School it was founded and run as an alternative to normal school by two teachers, John Ord and Bill Murphy, who worked with the kids and...[Read more]
|Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, UK||Details|
Postcards, lots of postcards.
I've always liked postcards. Even well-printed, they're still cheap enough for anyone to buy. I've produced 46 of them and most are available to buy through Etsy: http://bit.ly/PostcardsByWalmsley
Exhibition of my early B&W work.
Exhibition of my early B&W work, much of it shot in Guildford, from the 60s and 70s, at Guildford Museum. The space was limited (25 framed prints) so I bought a flatscreen TV and put the other 300 on there. We put out a couple of chairs and people would sit and chat together about the years gone by in the town. Several times people returned...[Read more]
|Guildford Museum., Guildford, Surrey.||Details|
'Faces of the Century', a major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.
22/10/1999 to 30/01/2000
An exhibition to celebrate the millenium. Ten well-known people each selected ten photographs which represented the period to them. Helena Kennedy included my photo of Vanessa Redgrave & Tariq Ali leading the ant-Vietnam war protest march to the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square where there was a violent confrontation with the police. A...[Read more]
|National Portrait Gallery, London||Details|
AIR at Wester Hailes, Edinburgh
The Wester Hailes Education Centre (the WHEC) was Scotland's largest purpose-built Community High School. It was open all day, every day to all ages, including adults. I was given a house locally and was attached to the school for 3 weeks working with the kids as well as shooting the neighbourhood. It produced a booklet and an exhibition. ...[Read more]
|Wester Hailes Education Centre, Edinburgh, Scotland.||Details|
Exhibition for patients and visitors
The present Charing Cross Hospital opened in 1973. It seemed to me a hospital was a great venue for a photographic exhibition so I proposed one of my work. Two weeks later it was up. I don't remember the exact date so it might have been 1973 or 1974 and I have no photos of it. Kodak kindly lent the free-standing boards and delivered them to...[Read more]
|Charing Cross Hospital, Fulham, West London.||Details|
AIRs at Digswell Arts Centre.
Between 1972 and 1976, I was one of the Artists in Residence at Digswell House, Welwyn. We each had somewhere to live and work and would do projects which brought the community into the building. Liz Fritsch, ceramicist, was another of the artists and lived just along the corridor from me. This photo shows her pots on her grand piano (she...[Read more]
|Digswell Arts Centre, Welwyn, Herts.||Details|
Exhibition at Foto Galerie die Brucke, Vienna.
Exhibition of my Summerhill photos in Vienna, 1971-72.
|Foto Galerie die Brucke., Vienna, Austria||Details|
'Neill & Summerhill: a man and his work', a Penguin Education Special by John Walmsley with a text by Leila Berg, 1969.
In my last year at art school, I heard of A.S.Neill's democratic school, 'Summerhill'. Neill allowed me to come and take photos so I made three trips and immediately felt at home there. Penguins published the book of my photos with a text by Leila Berg. Leila and I then worked together for 35 years on numerous books for or about childhood...[Read more]