Croydon’s photography club boosts members across the UK

One of Robin Barr’s photographs of Hackney. Pic: Robin Barr

Members of a Croydon photography group have spoken out about how it has helped forge community bonds during lockdown.

Lenses of Croydon moved their sessions on to Zoom during the first lockdown.

Robin Barr, 63, from Essex, said the digital move meant he could join meetings.

He told Eastlondonlines: “One thing which has been wonderful is discovering Lenses of Croydon and their virtual meetings. I’ve really been involved with them since the start of lockdown.

“It’s probably the most diverse group, I’ve ever been involved with. In terms of age, backgrounds and all sorts of other things. It’s such a pleasant group of people.”

 “It’s nice to be part of a family.”

Lee Townsend, who co-founded the group, said: “As a community, we pride ourselves in being welcoming and supportive of anyone who steps through the door into our safe space where race, class or level of skill have no bearing on the level of respect that each person is given.

“Our ethos is pretty simple, photography brings us together, but it’s the caring and concern that we share is what keeps us together.”

Lenses of Croydon have been running their sessions since 2012, moving to Zoom since the beginning of Lockdown because of the pandemic. For the Croydon photography group this allowed their reach to go further than East London

 For Barr, despite being already a well-connected photographer, the group has introduced him to people he might not have met otherwise.

“I’ve met a couple of them. [Prior to Lockdown]. One person, Beverley, she saw me, she liked the beard. And she saw me [said] “I want you to pose for me”, so I did a photo shoot with her.”

“It was mad, but really really good. She’s a real character and she likes me for some reason!”

Some members in the group take photos of people, or are interested in the development process, whereas Barr is more architecturally focused. 

But right now, because of Lockdown Barr had to swap his building-dense city landscape for the countryside. One of the photo’s Barr took during Lockdown was shortlisted by photographer, Rankin for his current SkyArt TV series, Rankin Presents. It might even be in his forthcoming book. 

Frosted glass work by Robin Barr. Pic: Robin Barr

For those who don’t know where to start, Barr has some tips, “Just [to] take photographs of what you see outside your window. It’s watching the seasons; we don’t know how long this is going to go on for. Everything you look at can be very, very different. The forms of life, the weather, what people wear and the change in face coverings”.

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