A call to be photographed as part of Preston Guild history

PUBLISHED: 16:38 12 October 2012 | UPDATED: 22:04 20 February 2013

Jamaica National Association and Friends, Preston Guild Community Procession, September 2012 - Photo by Jan Chlebik

Jamaica National Association and Friends, Preston Guild Community Procession, September 2012 - Photo by Jan Chlebik

An ambitious project which aims to take 100 panoramic photos of Preston groups, communities and organisations as a social and artistic record of Preston in Guild year 2012 needs your help

Arts and cultural organisation Dovetail is offering a once in a life time opportunity to the people of Preston - to be part of their own Panorama, which will then be entered into a major exhibition at the Museum of Lancashire from February to June next year.

Dovetail is working with award winning photographer Jan Chlebik in an Arts Council funded project which aims to take 100 panoramic photos of Preston groups, communities and organisations as a social and artistic record of Preston in Guild year 2012. This project is also supported by Preston Guild, and started its life as one of their early projects.

Panoramic photography is something of a forgotten art form. Once popular as a way of capturing large groups of school children, work colleagues and landscapes it is a method of presenting familiar people and settings in an epic, and often dramatic and visually arresting scale. Jan is planning to take 100 such shots, and the overall impact, involving tens of thousands of Preston groups and landmarks, will undoubtedly have an extraordinary impact when shown together at the final exhibition.

Jan Chlebik says: I have been obsessed with panoramas for years. I have a wonderful collection of historic panoramas including a circus from the 1900s, aerospace machinery from the first world war, and a breathtakingly beautiful woodland landscape. Each one tells its own story, and the scope is so great that a range of mini scenes can be represented in each shot.

The other thing is that actually taking a panoramic shot is an event in itself. It's quite technical in terms of getting the proportion and positions right, and it's possible to get several hundred people in one shot. Each panorama takes a bit of organisation, but its very enjoyable and there's a real feeling that we're capturing a bit of history.

The narrative for the exhibition will be led by poet and playwright Lemn Sissay. Lemn, who has an international reputation, is associate artist at Europe's largest arts complex - Southbank Centre - and was the first poet to be commissioned for London 2012 Olympics. He grew up in the North West, also took part in the Conversations in Creativity with Dave Haslam for the Preston Guild, as well as writing the Guild Anthem.

A number of local Preston writers, academics and community historians will also contribute to the creative writing narrative including, we hope, a creative collaboration with Lancashire Writers Hub.

Stella Hall, Preston Guild Festival Director, said: We are delighted to support this ambitious and an original project which had its roots in the Guild. It has a real creative vision at its heart and we are delighted to support it. Its scale gives it the potential to draw in thousands of people - giving them the opportunity to be part of a major exhibition as well as being a real part of history in the making.

Dovetail is now on the lookout for a wide range of Preston based groups and organisations to be featured in the panoramas, from social clubs to schools, ramblers to runners, bakers to bikers.

Dovetail Director, Frankie Mullen said: Whether the group has 10, 20 or 100 members - young or old whoever you are - it doesn't have to be exotic; ordinary and everyday will do, in fact whatever your interests we want to hear from you! We've done some fantastic shots already Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, One Voice Community Choir, Preston Pride, Jamaica National Association and local businesses, such as, Plumbs Ltd. Give us a call or drop us an email and we'll start organising your panorama.

The project may sound familiar to some as Dovetail also delivered an exhibition of panoramas taken by young people from Preston entitled Me and My Panorama which is currently on display at Museum of Lancashire until the end of October.

If you would like to be involved in the project and/or have suggestions for Preston based groups, please email: info@dovetailtogether.co.uk or call 0161 236 6662.

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