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Free Floating Birds take photographs in Blackpool

Jill Reidy is one of altblackpool’s own in-house photographers and prolific street photographers. Gaining a local reputation and enjoying what she does. I caught up with Jill to find out more about her…

Claire: Jill, tell us a bit about who you are and what your background is?

Jill: I gained a degree in Graphic Design from Leicester College of Art and Design in 1973. I then moved on to making novelty & celebration cakes and designed from 1978 – 1990 showing my wares at craft fairs and even dabbled in novelty cushions, rag rugs etc. I then took a course in leaded lights and made several windows for our house. Most recently I took a PGCE and taught at Claremont, Highfurlong and Marton Primary Schools until 2005 when I then took early retirement. I basically have always done creative stuff – making things, writing, design, photography. But photography really took off a year ago after a visit to Cuba and subsequent exhibition at La Piazza in Red Bank Road, Bispham (still ongoing). My prints have also been on display in Cafe Dolce and Blott Art Studio. Blott Art Studio have recently invited me to be part of their collective. On a personal side, I am a mum of three grown up kids and have three grandchildren.

C: What made you not pursue Graphics?

J: Ha! I realised that I didn’t like the restrictions, I then went on to work at Granthams for a year in 1977 and also had short time working for advertising agency in London which I really hated – as didn’t like being asked to advertise stuff, commercialism and the whole corporate attitude. I suppose I like to do my own thing, I am very possessive of my ideas and creations, and don’t really like relinquishing control which is why going into 2 Old Birds with Dawn Mander, another local photographer is a big step for me. But we work in a very similar way and respect each others’ work – hopefully it will be a great partnership.

C: What famous photographers do you admire, if any, and what is your inspiration?

J: When I started doing photography seriously a couple of years ago I really didn’t know any famous photographers (shameful I know), but I’d always just done my own thing. I’d heard of Henri Cartier Bresson and loved his work, and Vivian Maier, another personal favourite. Other than that I’d see pictures I liked by unknown people, then only a few months ago I went to the Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr exhibition in London and felt so excited by it, only then that I realised the name for the type of photography I loved, street photography! I had just always thought of it as journalistic photography, I didn’t realise there was a whole area of photography called street photography. I had never had any photography training or tuition and, in typical fashion, was just blundering away on my own, learning as I went.

C: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?

J: I don’t think I am qualified in any way to give advice to aspiring photographers, as I still think of myself as someone blundering about, hoping for the best – and expecting to be found out any time! What I can say is: always be true to yourself – take photos that make you excited. Never lose that feeling of excitement; don’t be afraid to experiment and make mistakes (lots); take yourself out of your comfort zone. I found it really difficult approaching people in the street, The Punk Festival 2012 was my first time doing this but I found it liberating. Speak to other photographers, especially those you like and admire; take advice but don’t get too tied up with technicalities. A person with a good eye and a poor camera will still get a better photo than someone with a bad eye and fantastic camera; enjoy it!

C: Now tell us about where we can find your exhibitions and photographs.

C: I have a ongoing exhibition at La Piazza, Red Bank Road, ‘Hanging Out In Havana’. I also have Blackpool photographic prints on display at Blott Artist Studio on King Street. Myself and Dawn Mander also have a exhibition of Blackpool photographs (2 Old Birds) on display at Revoe Library. Look out for my exhibition of “Hanging Out In Havana” going up in the lovely Solaris Centre in South Shore on 1st November for a month. Follow altblackpool for more of my photographs, visit my Red Snapper Facebook page or my 2 Old Birds Facebook page. ย 

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
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