JJ Waller

Your Town My Town

Sidmouth School of Art in association with Sidmouth Folk Festival welcomes JJ Waller, Artist Photographer in Residence, who will be creating a personalised "snapshot in time" during the Festival. Later on, photos taken by Sidmouth residents and visitors and JJ's work will feature in a new photographic installation for Sidmouth.

Your Town My Town aims to explore our sense of place, encourage people's curiosity, and inspire them to get creative with a camera."
David Shrigley OBE

Your Town My Town - a snapshot in time

Sidmouth School of Art are excited to be working in association with Sidmouth Folk Festival Your Town My Town

This project has a few moving parts...

It starts with JJ Waller - Artist Photographer in Residence during Sidmouth Folk Festival from 2-9 August. This is the Festival's 70th anniversary and we are thrilled to welcome JJ's inimitable style of street photography

During his stay, JJ will be capturing a set of images that conjure a sense of place - Your Town. He will be snapping individuals, festival goers and contributors, residents and visitors during to capture this moment in time.  

This is JJ's personalised snapshot in time - and it's only the start of the project.

Meet JJ Waller at the Arts Centre - Manor Pavilion 

Open to anyone with an interest in Sidmouth, photography or new perspectives, join us on 6 August at 2:30pm. JJ will be holding a Q&A session - a conversation about his approach, what inspires his work and how to find inspiration in your photography. 

My Town - Community Invitation to be photographed 

JJ would also love to photograph local groups, clubs, societies and families who would like to be part of this portrait. 

Email to get in touch if you would like to book in a shoot 1st to 5th August.  Let us know the date, time and location you would like to be photographed in e.g. where your activity takes place.

Your Town My Town... an exhibition in the making. 

Open Call Deadline: 5pm Friday 23rd August

An invitation to submit a single photograph to create a body of work for the Your Town My Town exhibition.

Anyone can submit an image to the project. From Sidmouth residents and Festival visitors of any age - we positively welcome younger generations to take part. No experience, expertise, or special camera equipment is required! A smartphone image will do just fine.

Here's the brief... an image taken during the Folk Festival 2024 that best describes Sidmouth, Your Town My Town.  

Open to your creative interpretation!

The deadline for submission of your image is two weeks after the festival to give you time to select your photo.

In the autumn, JJ will return to Sidmouth to review and select images for the exhibition.

A variety of sites will feature Your Town My Town images including bus shelters, telephone boxes and the Wallspace billboard by the Ham. A photo book will be created for the town as a legacy of the project.

Email your image via the button below including your name, age and contact details. Feel free to say where it is and why you chose the image.

Starting a new career in my 40s was hugely exciting and over time I have developed a working style that combines humour with my street encounters and observations.
JJ Waller

JJ Waller

Artist Photographer in Residence

About JJ Waller

JJ Waller is a celebrated British photographer known for his evocative street photography in Brighton and other seaside towns. Originally a performer, he transitioned to photography in the 1990s. His notable works include documenting Whitehawk Football Club, Brighton Pride, and the Sussex coast. Waller gained significant acclaim for his portraits during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, capturing residents through their windows. His book, "JJ Waller's Lockdown," edited by Martin Parr, is a poignant reflection of the pandemic. Parr commented, "When we look back at the spring and summer of 2020, I think this suite of images will be an iconic memory of this strange time we have all lived through."

Waller's journey began in performance art, winning an Edinburgh Perrier Award with Pookiesnackenburger, the originators of STOMP. He later joined the French circus Archaos, where he started his first photo documentation project. JJ Waller has produced over ten photography books and sold over 14,000 copies. He is currently working on a new book of his Benidorm work and will partner with Martin Parr on a major public show in May 2025.

The Royal Glen supports our local community’s art events. We believe that creativity in all its forms enriches us all, at any age, whether we are at school, work, retired or on holiday here.
Hilary Caldwell, Proprietor, The Royal Glen Hotel

Sidmouth Folk Festival

In association with Sidmouth Folk Festival

The Royal Glen Hotel

We are grateful to the Royal Glen Hotel for sponsoring the Your Town My Town project

Devon County Council

Thanks to Cllr. Stuart Hughes for supporting this project through Locality Funding