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Welcome to
Four Corners Archive


Four Corners Archive explores and documents the film and photographic heritage of Four Corners, Half Moon Photography Workshop, and Camerawork Magazine, from 1972-1987.

Four Corners and Half Moon Photography Workshop (later Camerawork) were two innovative cultural organisations, based in East London. Their early work played a major role in the development of the radical film and photographic practice characteristic of the 1970s and early 1980s.

The project brings these unique archival resources into the public realm, making this important contribution to British cultural history widely accessible for the first time.

Four Corners Archive is made possible through the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.







The politics of the Half Moon Photography Workshop

Half Moon/Camerawork
Mathilde Bertrand, 2018

In May 1975, Jo Spence and Terry Dennett formed Photography Workshop in Islington, ‘an independent educational, research, publishing and resource project’ designed to examine historical and contemporary uses of photography. Spence and Dennett were critical of contemporary photographic practices, particularly the professionalization of the sector and its growth within a competitive market. To them, these developments undermined alternative conceptions of the medium, with historical roots in the Labour movement of the 1930s.

The workshop grew out of our dissatisfaction with current trends in British photography and our desire to contribute, as photographers, to social change. – Photography Workshop, 1975

For them, the ‘amateur’, or non-professional photographer could act as an agent of democratic change. They saw a need to “demystify” photography, to break its association with an expert and exclusive form of knowledge, to resist its absorption in fine arts spheres, and to preserve it as a technology accessible to all.



Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 13.26.52

Community Photography in the 1970s

Community Photography in the 1970s

Thursday, 27 September, 2018

6.30 – 8.30pm, Four Corners Gallery


Our central concern in photography is not ‘Is it art?’ but, ‘Who is it for?’

Jo Spence, ‘The Politics of Photography’, Camerawork Issue 1 (1976)

In her famous 1976 article first published in Camerawork magazine, Jo Spence articulated an emerging concept: community photography. Working against the power relations inherent in the medium, community photographers sought to provide an alternative to stereotyped, mass-produced images, fed to consumers by a small elite. Photography could instead be used as a tool for social change, enabling people to gain autonomy in the representation of their own lives.

But how did community photography work in practice?

Join us for a lively discussion with Judy Harrison, Janine Wiedel and Philip Wolmouth, three documentary photographers whose work engages with issues of community and representation.


Judy Harrison is a photographic artist, writer, curator and lecturer. Her work is held in collections including the V & A, London and West Midlands Arts. She was Founder and Director of Mount Pleasant Photography Workshop, Southampton, a significant community photography organisation, from 1977 - 1992. She was a leading member of FORMAT Women’s Picture Agency, London from 1984 - 2003 and has been a contributing member of Photofusion Picture Library, London since 2003. She is a Principal Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, and is currently working on projects around areas of migration, journeys and personal histories within photography.

Janine Wiedel is an American documentary photographer and visual anthropologist based in London who has been covering issues of social concern since the late 1960s. Her career has mainly focused on groups struggling to survive on the edges of mainstream society. These projects have become major studies, books and exhibitions, and have fed into Wiedel’s extensive archive and  photolibrary which contains a unique collection of stock images covering a wide range of social issues including: education, protest, youth, alternative lifestyles, multicultural communities, drugs and social exclusion.

Philip Wolmuth is a photojournalist and writer. He has reported extensively on social, economic and political issues in Britain and abroad. In 1976 he set up Photoworks Westminster (formerly North Paddington Community Darkroom), a pioneering community photography project.  The project was influential in the community photography movement of the 1970s which saw a convergence of political and artistic concerns whilst drawing on the economic and political upheavals of the decade.

Places are free but booking is essential. Register here. 



This project is dedicated to the fond memory of Ed Barber (1949-2017), an important early member of the Half Moon Photography Workshop and Camerawork magazine, whose energy and enthusiasm helped create this project.