Waltham Forest Echo

Waltham Forest Echo

The art of going out

What will the future of nightlife be? Our engagement manager and resident photographer, Penny Dampier, explores the question in her E17 Art Trail [...]

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At-home disco (Credit: Penny Dampier)
By Waltham Forest Echo 08 July 2021

What will the future of nightlife be? Our engagement manager and resident photographer, Penny Dampier, explores the question in her E17 Art Trail exhibit…

Remember when we used to party like it was 2019? 

In the good old days, I was regularly taking photos professionally at parties, live gigs and events – often sweaty, crowded affairs with plenty of atmosphere. 

The pandemic has certainly changed things, but the theme of this year’s E17 Art Trail is Possible Futures. So, I thought it was interesting to explore the possible future of partying. Is staying in really the new going out? 

Lockdown has changed the way our social lives work, especially for those who live alone. Do endless video calls produce Zoom fatigue? And will mask-wearing and social distancing remain the norm, beyond the government restrictions? 

Ironically, I had to wait until various restrictions had been lifted before I could go and photograph people in their own homes. I had to recreate and reimagine their lockdown experience. 

I’ve explored some familiar themes – the living room disco, the Zoom party, the bedroom DJ, a festival for one, ‘masking up’, and that feeling of being all dressed up with nowhere to go. It’s a snapshot into the experiences of a few friends in local places or at home. 

Alongside this new work, I’ll be showing some of my images from live gigs and parties, with a particular focus on a couple of local bands. 

On the night of Thursday, 15th July, there’ll be a ‘party night’ – we’ll be sat down as per current Covid-19 guidelines, and you’ll need to book in advance, but local DJs Dom Mandrell of Soul Picnic, Pat Richmond of Raising the Funking Bar, and Neel Mookherjee will be playing. I’ll be projecting a slideshow of over 600 images from previous parties, live music gigs and festivals too. 

Our venue is the fantastic Signature Brew brewery, just off Blackhorse Lane. Signature Brew are known for their collaborations with musicians and festivals. They’ve brewed beers with brands such as Idles and Slaves! 

But they’re also part of the Blackhorse Beer Mile, a local collab of bars and breweries which runs from Blackhorse Road to Walthamstow Central tube stations, including Truman’s Social Club, Exale Brewery Taproom, Wildcard Brewery Taproom, Pillar’s Untraditional Pub and The Collab. 

It’s the perfect location to exhibit my party-themed photographs. 

P.S. I’m sharing the space with Helen Weighell, who is showing photographs of local landscapes. You don’t need to be a party animal to drop by… 

The Art Of Going Out is venue no. 4 on the Blackhorse Trail in this year’s E17 Art Trail, which runs from 1st to 18th July 

To learn more, visit Penny Dampier’s website, Signature Brew’s website and @wheelhelen on Instagram