IPSE Exhibition: 2007

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Introduction by Paul Hill

When IPSE, the brainchild of the redoubtable Jill Staples, began in 1991 there were few digital cameras, and a Photoshop was where you got your films and bromide paper from. The recent image capture and print making revolution - and that is what it truly is - has forced photographic companies into bankruptcy (or to reinvent themselves), made everyone capable of producing presentable pictures through clever technology, and demanded that those committed to the medium review their practices arid aesthetic decisions. But the more the lens-based world has changed, the more the important things have stayed the same. And there is no better place to see this than in this exhibition, and in groupings like IPSE, where the underpinning ethos is that the camera should be used to 'say' something of personal relevance rather than purely ape the pros, or satisfy the dated prejudices of camera club judges. Revelations rather than replications.

There is no 'house style' here, just images that reflect the makers' individual vision and obsessions. In fact, the submissions are significantly different from each other despite often exploring the same genre. It is good to see the large number of finely-crafted black and white images in an era when colour appears so omnipotent, and judging from some metropolitan gallery shows, so inflated physically, conceptually and monetarily.

The success of groups like IPSE demonstrates how productive the outcomes can be when collaboration rather than competition is the preferred pathway_ By making us view the world and photography through their eyes, these image-makers enrich our lives and their own.

Paul Hill MBE FRPS
Professor of Photography
De Montfort University, Leicester