Collective Photography (The Book + Photos + Audio)
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Collective Photography

How Pete Ashton became an artist by taking people on walks with cameras

About the Book

From the introduction

My name is Pete Ashton. I currently describe myself as an artist who works with photography. A year ago I would have reluctantly called myself a photographer and was thinking about what it meant to be an artist. 

To this end I took on a mentor who helped me apply for an Arts Council Grants For The Arts award, which, somewhat amazingly, I got in July 2013. I was suddenly officially "An Artist". Which was nice. 

The grant was to research and deliver and series of participatory photography walks in Digbeth, Birmingham, and in doing so develop my career and practice as an artist.

This book, Collective Photography, along with the extensive appendices, totals everything I've written on the subject over the last year and was produced in part to help me gather my thoughts for the evaluation report the Arts Council requires. 

It serves as documentation, evaluation and exhibition, amongst other things, and as such it is bitty and at times incoherent, but it should be of use for anyone hoping to undergo a similar experience. 

I am one of those artists who has not gone to art school, nor do I have any desire to. I believe that everyone has the capacity to be "an artist" if they chose to be and that, for all its many flaws, the Grants For The Arts scheme is a good way for non-graduates to achieve this.

As such the book is also about my figuring this stuff out. If Art is deliciously ill-defined, what does it mean for me, personally, to be an artist?

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About the Author

Pete Ashton
Pete Ashton

Pete Ashton is an artist, photography and teacher of photography from Birmingham, UK. Everything you need to know about him can be found on and via


The Book + Photos + Audio

The book plus all the hundreds of photos submitted by people who came on the walks in November 2013 (packaged in three PDFs) along with the audio recorded on the first walk and used on the third walk. Weighs in at 600 MB. Free or pay-what-you-like.

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  • English

With Membership
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The Book

Just the text with no pictures. Free or pay-what-you-like.

  • PDF

  • EPUB

  • WEB

  • English

With Membership
Suggested price

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
    • Timeline
  • Collective Photography
    • Slow Down
      • Flickrmeets
      • The same is not the same
      • Productising the photo meetup
      • Anatomy of a walk
    • Photo Walks As Art
      • Walking On
      • Tour Guide meets Collective Shoot
      • Drones, drones, drones.
    • Planning some new walks.
      • If Wet
      • Active Listening
      • Theories of Space
      • Bringing it together
    • The Walks.
      • Walk 1 - Guided Listening with Iain Armstrong of Soundkitchen.
      • Walk 2 - Micro-listening with Sam Underwood
      • Walk 3 - Soundtracked walk by Annie Mahtani of Soundkitchen.
    • Aftermath
      • A good audience is hard to find
      • The walk is the thing
    • The Next Six Months
      • Bees in a Tin
    • Post-walk walks
    • Ikonic Places
  • Appendix 1
    • Surveys
      • Pre-Walk Survey
      • Walk 2 Survey - Listening with Sam Underwood
      • Walk 3 Survey - Soundtracked with SoundKitchen
  • Appendix 2
    • Art Blog: July 2013 - March 2014
      • Performance Photography
      • The Act of Photography
      • Notes from If Wet 4
      • Notes on Psychogeography - Pocket Essentials
      • Notes on The London Perambulator
      • Notes from If Wet 5
      • Photography as a magical act of creative involvement
      • I went to Ars Electronica 2013 and here’s what I found
      • Thoughts from Still Walking
        • Subjective vs Objective
        • Senses
        • So what is place?
      • Working out the Walks
      • Further Working out of the Walks
      • Collaborating with Sonographers
      • Three posts on the Photo School blog
        • Photographing Sounds with SOUNDkitchen
        • Micro-Listening Photo Walk with Sam Underwood - a preview
        • Soundtracking Digbeth with SOUNDkitchen - a preview
      • Fear and Art
      • Speaking at Bees In A Tin
      • How my Walks are Art
      • New Art-Walks in Birmingham this Spring
    • Interviews
      • Viaduct transcript
      • Imperica interview
  • Appendix 3
    • The Grant for the Arts application
    • The Grant for the Arts budget
      • Income
      • Expenditure
    • The Grant for the Arts activity report and self-evaluation
      • Feedback from collaborating artists
  • Thanks

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