A resource about photographing the everyday, highlighting how photography can tell and share personal stories that are often overlooked.

Part of England’s New Lenses


Photographing everyday life provides insight and fresh perspectives on 21st century living, sharing untold stories can challenge the past, record the present and change the future.

Explore your heritage through photography – your roots, identity, family history or culture. Your stories shape our world. Capture the things that are important to you – home, people, places, personal experiences and interests, climate change, unemployment, inequality or anti-racist movements.

Document the heritage of your own life – family history (from your immediate family to ancestry and cultural traditions) or explore the untold heritage of your local communities (work, industries, places of significance, movements, etc.).

Capture the heritage that you feel is overlooked. Make the hidden visible. Make new history.

Words Into Photography

What personal story do you want to tell? Create a list of words. As many as you can. Are there connections or themes that emerge? Use these words as prompts to inspire your photography. Or try picking just five words from your list and take a photograph that represents each one.

© Courtesy of Annis Joslin and Alejandra Carles-Tolra
Slow Photography

Look at the things around you. Take a moment to notice. Observe your everyday – the glasses you drink from, pictures on your walls, the spaces you hang out. What is familiar and ordinary to you, may not be to others?Photography is all about seeing things differently. Slow down and take time to notice what’s unique.

Walk slowly around your home, just looking. Don’t take any photos at first. Walk the same route again and see if you begin to notice more – interesting patterns, shapes, colours. Think about light. Does sunlight hit an object in an interesting way?On the third walkthrough begin to take some photographs.

Finally, review your photographs – you could create a triptych (series of three images), sequence or photo-collage.

© Courtesy of Annis Joslin and Alejandra Carles-Tolra
Re-Working Photography

Choose one of your own photographs to work with. Select one that features people and a place that is (or has been) important to you. Use a reprint of the image if you want to keep the original safe.

Ask some ‘who, what, where, when’ questions:Who is in the image?What is happening?Where is this taking place?When did this happen?

Note down answers and identify people, objects or parts of the photo that represent some of these things.

Use marker-pens, paint, biros or simply scratch into the surface to highlight what’s important to you. Try adding stickers, tape or collage. Experiment with cutting or tearing. Add text if you like.Complete the artwork by scanning or re-photographing it.

Spotlight On Your Heritage

Shine a light on the places that are important to you. It could be your own home or a place you visit regularly. What happens here? Is it a special event, or somewhere you go all the time? Whatever it is, put it in the spotlight and record it. Photograph it from different angles and points of view.Think about the people, objects and atmosphere that define this place or event. Take as many images you can. Review your photographs and select the ones that define it best.

© Courtesy of Annis Joslin and Alejandra Carles-Tolra
Poetry and Image

Choose one of your own photographs to work with. Select one that captures a moment that is important to you.

Fold a piece of A4 paper so it creates 4 small rectangles.In each rectangle write one of these words: see, hear, touch, smell.Look at your photograph and imagine you are there inside the image. Then write as many words in each rectangle as you can that relate to the different senses.

What do you see? Look close up as well as far away to the distance.What sounds can you hear?If you reached out to touch something, what would you feel?What can you smell?

© Courtesy of Annis Joslin and Alejandra Carles-Tolra

In the centre of the page write a word or words that describe the atmosphere of the photograph, or a feeling you get.

Using as many of the words from your list as you can, write your own poem. You could write it as a list, or just use some of the words and expand on them.

Bring the text and image together. Write out your text and connect it with your photograph in any way you choose. Re-photograph your work.

Alternatively you could do this digitally.

© Courtesy of Annis Joslin and Alejandra Carles-Tolra
Who Are You? A Self Portrait

We absorb and create heritage through our sense of identity, traditions and values. What defines you and makes you who you are?

Create a self-portrait in your own home in a location that has personal significance, with objects that are important to you. Consider how you pose, and what you wear. Have you got a favourite outfit? Have you had a skill passed to you by a family member or friend? This could be a song, or a favourite recipe. Are there objects, furniture or materials in your house that have been passed down through generations?

Set everything up. Use a tripod and self-timer if you have one, or just ask someone to take your photo. You could also get your friends or family involved in the image.

© Courtesy of Annis Joslin and Alejandra Carles-Tolra
Inspiring Artists
About the Contributors

Annis Joslin’s practice seeks to explore lived experience through a participatory and reflective process. Working in diverse contexts she uses different approaches to generate material, including drawing, animation, photography, video and story-telling to create lens-based digital artwork for galleries, museums, community situations and online.

Her work has exhibited and screened internationally with commissions and projects with organisations including People United, Photoworks, The British Museum, Sussex Partnership NHS Trust, The Royal College of Physicians, The National Trust, The Women’s Library, Project Art Works and The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. Annis is also co-director of Corridor, a social arts organisation that connects artists, people and places through collaborative lens-based visual arts projects.

Alejandra Carles-Tolra is a visual artist and photography facilitator from Barcelona, currently based in London, UK.

She received a BA in Sociology from the University of Barcelona and a Photography MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Alejandra’s work has been published and exhibited internationally, most recently at Vice, The Huffington Post, Gup Magazine, World Photography Organization, The Independent, Circulation(s) Festival in Paris, and Getty Images Gallery in London. She has taught photography at The University of New Hampshire and Massachusetts College of Art and Design, among other institutions. Alejandra currently collaborates with non-profit organizations as an art workshop facilitator using art and education to empower vulnerable communities.

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