Kent Creative, an arts collective based in Faversham, Kent, instigated a Project 365 in 2011 to encourage photography in the community and to record a collective memory, a historical, social and cultural record of life of towns throughout Kent. The aim was to collect a photo for each day of the year to be collated into a book and public exhibition. Folkestone was the choice for 2020.
Funding was found and photographers were allocated a week in which to capture their photos. But as the Covid-19 pandemic grew ever closer, funders dropped out, until finally in March, the whole country was locked down, launching a long and difficult period, just as blossom time began.
I and my husband Michael, as members of the Folkestone camera club had signed up to photograph several blocks of seven dates in different seasons. Initially, our photographic explorations were limited to our ‘hour of exercise.’ It was a challenge to find unique but interesting images, capturing Lockdown life of the town, all within walking distance of our nearby home in Sandgate. Sometimes it was hard to find inspiring subjects and we did venture out on our bikes to expand our area. Some images I made in my house, recording our own restricted life during Covid.
By 31st December 2020, photographers had submitted 1426 photographs, of which a jury panel selected one for each day of the year, thus completing a collection of 366 photographs. 365 Folkestone is, at present, just an online Gallery. There are no plans yet for an Exhibition or a book. Money is tight and funding for this not essential, but we are still hoping this important archive will eventually be published.
The project has been different to what we had originally envisaged, but like many others, we have walked miles, discovered fresh areas, back alleys, footpaths and open spaces unfamiliar to us as lifelong residents, always with a camera in the hand, more often than not, an iPhone. We both enjoyed the challenge and recently we were pleased to see some of our images flash up on the TV when the the South East BBC News did a report on the project.