Forming an artist's collective has been a traditional way to nurture support and critique from fellow artists. For some it can mean the sharing of resources such as equipment and studio space, for others it can be an umbrella name to give more clout for showing and publishing work. As a curator or editor, it can be more rewarding to keep tabs on a collective, as their output is likely to exceed that of an individual artist, given that at least one is bound to be producing work at any given time.
As part of a new series of interviews on collectives, Source asked Rory O'Toole from the Cork Analogue Photographers, ten questions:
1. Can you fill us in on your background?
Cork Analogue Photographers left Crawford College in 2008 and we set up the group after a meeting in a pub. Within a year we were part of 3 exhibitions and generated more than 100 web posts about our work and the photography we like. We continue to host group shows all have very active portfolio websites.
2. What are your ambitions as a group?
Our ambition is to continue working as a group of artistic photographers using the medium of film. Film has become ever more difficult to find and expensive to buy, while lab facilities and darkroom facilities are becoming rarer. There is a beautiful craft to shooting film and printing from film, particularly in black and white, that we feel should not be lost. Although film has died out in the mainstream, we do feel that it is a medium that artists will continue to use, and we want to be part of that.
We would like to become well known in Ireland as an artistic group expressing their vision via film-based photography. We would also like to be known locally in Cork as a community-based group, and work within own local community
3. What resources do you share?
Film, paper, chemicals - purchased via members subs. Cameras are all owned by individual members, but a bit of sharing goes on there occasionally!
4. How regularly do you meet as a whole group and as smaller groups?
Some members based in Cork city might meet a few times a week, otherwise the regular monthly meetings and any planned projects
5. How do you fund your group?
Currently self funding via subscription. We have had some arts council funding in the past to help fund a project and exhibition in Gallerie Nautique in Cork.
6. Where have you exhibited most recently?
We have exhibited collaboratively in Dublin with the Guerilla Exhibition group as a part of PhotoIreland festival.
7. What are your common interests?
Art, photography. We're not 'gear heads', and don't generally bring cameras to meetings, but if somebody has acquired some interesting old camera, we're always happy to take a look!
8. How do you join the Cork Analogue Photographers group?
Just contact us, come to a meeting. We're a small friendly group, and happy to meet fellow photographers!
9. What advice would you give someone about to start a collective?
Think about why you are setting up the collective, and what you want to get out of it. Lay out your plans or goals in a structured way, and on paper. You probably won't follow this as it's originally conceived, but it helps to guide your vision. Meet regularly and define roles for core members. Most importantly, if there is money involved or funding is needed, get this straight.
10. What problems might a new collective face?
Money is the most likely cause of all serious rows in a group or collective! Define how much members will need to contribute, keep records of money coming in and money spent.