An internationally renowned architectural photographer has joined a project aiming to breathe new life into Wisbech High Street – believing it will have a big impact on people’s perceptions of the town.
Matt Emmett, of Forgotten Heritage Photography and winner of the international Arcaid Images Architectural Photography Award 2016, has lent his support to the £1.9 million Heritage Lottery funded Wisbech High Street Project.
Specialising in capturing abandoned and at-risk heritage, Matt will be leading a new series of photography workshops which launch as part of the project in October.
The workshops will take place four times a year over three years (12 in total) to document the rich history of the High Street buildings as work to renovate them gets underway.
They will also offer local people the opportunity to learn more about their town while developing their photography skills, and build on Wisbech’s impressive legacy of pioneering photographers, such as Samuel Smith, Lilian Ream and Geoff Hastings, who used the town centre and High Street as the subject for many of their photographs.
“When I heard about the opportunity to lead a photography project around Wisbech High Street it was inevitable that I would apply,” said Matt, who also works as a graphic designer.
“These projects are a fantastic mix of gaining new skills and learning about your local area and history, both things I am personally a huge fan of.”
“I think the Wisbech High Street Project will have a big impact on people’s perception of the town,” he added. “With no preconceptions before I arrived, I discovered a town full of interest, a place that wears its history very visibly, and photography is a great way to bring that to people’s attention. I think the photography workshops will play a role in changing perceptions too, and maybe bring a few new visitors to the town as well.”
The deadline to apply for a place on the workshops is Monday, September 4, with the first workshop taking place on Saturday, October 7.
Supported by members of Wisbech and District Camera Club, the workshops will cover everything from basic camera skills, lens use and architectural photography skills to creating panoramic images, balancing light using brackets, digital processing skills, social media skills and much more.
Matt said: “People will learn as much about photography as they will about their town and with the camera club’s involvement there will be a lot of support for those taking part. For me photography is such a wonderful activity with so much to give and learn from, I’m sure the people involved will quickly discover just how much it has to offer.”
Councillor David Oliver, Cabinet member for Heritage at Fenland District Council, which is delivering the Wisbech High Street Project, said: “The project is just one initiative underway helping to regenerate Wisbech and address issues raised by local people. We are incredibly grateful for the £1.9 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the newly committed support from a renowned architectural photographer who truly appreciates the beauty of our town.
“The photos he takes will provide a valuable and insightful snapshot of how Wisbech looks now. But most importantly, his legacy will inspire local people to be creative and capture how the town will change over the next few years. The Wisbech 2020 Vision, of which the High Street Project is a part of, continues to attract investment and deliver a wide range of projects that deservedly makes the town the best place it can be.”
Anyone interested in applying for the workshops should write a short statement about themselves, their photography experience and what they would like to get from the workshops and email it to Taleyna Fletcher, Fenland District Council’s Townscape Heritage Officer, at email@example.com You can also apply through Wisbech High Street Project website at www.highstreetwisbech.org.uk or write to T.Fletcher, Room 59, Fenland Hall, March, Cambridgeshire, PE15 8NQ.