Friday, March 21, 2014

Chris Schwarz: Every Picture Tells a Story

Chris Schwarz (1948-2007) was a remarkable photographer who documented everyday life in SE London and historical events (such as the 1977 'Battle of Lewisham'). Later in life his photos of the remains of Jewish presence in Poland- ruined synagogues etc - prompted him to sell his flat to finance setting up the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow. This weekend sees the first in a series of events and exhibitions built around his work:

'An exhibition of photographs by acclaimed photographer Chris Schwarz opens at three Lewisham venues - The Albany, Lewisham Library and Lewisham College– in March 2014. The images record Lewisham and Deptford in the 1970s and 1980s and the work of The Combination Theatre Company and were taken by Chris when he was photographer in residence at The Albany. They provide a fascinating legacy of the changing faces of Deptford over a 15 year period.

The photographs form an invaluable record of life in North Lewisham in the 1970s and 1980s and show children, young people and their families participating in cultural and creative activities. Highlights include images of totters, Millwall Football Club fans, adults at work and performances by the Albany’s resident theatre company The Combination. They include images of the old Albany that was located at the junction of Creek Road and Deptford Church Street, the New Albany in Douglas Way and its opening by the late Princess Diana in 1980.

Chris Schwarz was a professional photographer who worked for the Guardian, Time Out and many other publications. His work was exhibited at the Photographers Gallery in London and overseas, and his work was published in several books. He also founded the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, Poland. Chris died in 2007 and bequeathed his vast collection of over 8,000 photographs to The Art of Regeneration, a creative regeneration project that was at one time based at the Albany.

There will be special storytelling performances at each venue by members of The Deptford Stories Theatre Company, who will interpret selected photographs. Their performances will be based on oral history interviews that have been conducted between 2011 and the present. The performances take place on:

The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford, SE8 4AG
Performances: Saturday 22 March at 12.45 and 13.45 (performances last approximately 30 mins)
Exhibition: Saturday 22 March until 31 March

Lewisham Library, 199 – 201 Lewisham High Street, SE13 6LG
Performances: Tuesday 25 March at 19.00 (performances last approximately 30 mins)
Exhibition: Monday 24 March until Friday 28 March

LeSoCo Lewisham and Southwark College , Breakspears Building, Breakspears Road, SE4 1UT
Performance and exhibition: Thursday 27 March at 19.00

The exhibition and performances are free of charge.

After the exhibition the photographs, along with the rest of the vast collection of Chris Schwarz Deptford and Lewisham work will be stored by the London Metropolitan Archives and will be available to the public to download.

Ballard House, Thames Street, Greenwich
The Deptford Stories Theatre Company was founded by director, John Turner and Jenny Harris. Jenny was the creative producer and after a lifetime of creative production in theatre, education and community arts development including the Combination at the Albany, The Education department at the National Theatre and the Art of Regeneration, Every Picture Tells a Story was Jenny’s last production for the Art of Regeneration and the Deptford Stories Company. Jenny herself died before she could see Every Picture Tells A Story or hear the stories the Deptford Stories Company will tell; this is a chance for the public to witness her final production.

The Every Picture Tells a Story project has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and includes the exhibition, performances and digitisation of the photographs as a permanent public record'.

Chris Schwarz obituary in the Guardian

Reflections on Chris Schwarz

Facebook event details

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Thanks for posting his story here. I believe artists like him deserve to be given great recognition. His exhibit is bound to be highly interesting as it showcases both historical events and daily ordinary life in SE London.

I'll surely inform more people about this upcoming exhibit. Hopefully this post will encourage more to recognize talented artists of different sorts, not just after they have passed away but better while they are alive.