Capturing the moment

Alice, a feature of the exhibition 'On The Cusp' (credit Penny Dampier)
Penny’s daughter Alice is a feature of the exhibition ‘On The Cusp’ (credit Penny Dampier)

A photography exhibition for E17 Art Trail features portraits of local children, writes Penny Dampier

There’s something unique about those moments in life when you are on the cusp of a new adventure.

A feeling of being caught in between saying goodbye to the past, a nostalgic look at what has been, and excitement and trepidation of what is to come. It is this snapshot of a very particular moment in time that I hope I have captured in my latest photographic portrait series for E17 Art Trail.

I often take my immediate surroundings as an influence in my work, and this show is no exception. My 11-year-old daughter is, at this very moment, about to leave the familiarity of primary school, where she has spent the last seven years, and enter the unknown and daunting world of secondary school.

I have chosen to photograph her and a small group of her immediate friends in their bedrooms, therefore suggesting something about their interests and personalities. I wonder if I took the same photo in three years time, if there would be a marked difference in surroundings and attitude?

Sharing the venue with me will be mixed media artist Frances Cowper Holzhausen. Her latest work uses the colour, pattern and shapes of discarded man-made materials and objects to help us look, and look again, at the reality of our colourful but shocking environment.

Frances explains: “The wonder of the complex vivacity and beauty of the natural world is in balance with the incredible ingenuity, research and engineering of man-made materials and objects.

“The exotic colour and ‘practical’ use of plastic packaging has invaded every corner of our planet and is destroying nature.”

Frances was a student at Walthamstow Art College from 1959, then later studied fashion at the Royal College of Art. Her world opened up to working across disciplines and countries with engineers, mechanics and textile designers, eventually writing and running a Bachelor of Arts in European Fashion at Rochester, Kent. Always at the heart of what she does is to look, engage and connect with the environment and people around us.

On the Cusp is displayed at Old Station Yard Cafe, 186 Wood Street, Walthamstow E17 3NA – venue 140 in the E17 Art Trail guide. A meet the artists night is being held on Thursday 6th June, 6-9pm. To see more of Penny’s photographs:
Instagram @pennydampier