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Growing out of the commitment by the Durham Photographic Society to work with the local community, Portraits from the North East photographers initially worked on a project to photograph 100 people of significance in the region; these included the opera singer and Chancellor of Durham University Sir Thomas Allen, The Duchess of Northumberland, the athlete Steve Cramm, and many others. This was the first project they attempted, and the fact that it resulted in a successful touring exhibition, gave added impetus to what followed. The group felt able to photograph World War Two veterans, this collection to be exhibited during the 2015 Royal British Legion Royal festival of Remembrance held in Newcastle's Anglican Cathedral.
The second major project followed along the same lines, this time featuring crafts people living and working on the region. This was very much in line with the group's aim, to celebrate the region. In early 2016 the first of the crafts people were photographed, and by the autumn of that year the group had gathered a portfolio of around 50. The practice of the photographers was to engage the craft person in conversation, to help them relax and photograph them at their place of work.
The range of crafts illustrated was wide and spectacular: from the glass-blowing of Jane Charles to the dry stone walling of James Mason from Crook; the jewellery-making of Andrew Croft to the magical book-maker Sarah Morpeth. These people who shared their time with photographers and allowed them into their lives were/are a generous and talented group, and it is hoped this joy in their work shines through in this exhibition, now at Ushaw.