Macula (Pronounced - MACK-YOU-LA) is a collective of young photographers based in the South West of England.
Macula Collective was founded by Robert Darch in 2012. The aim of Macula was to create a relaxed but engaging environment where young photographers could learn, explore, and share work with like minded individuals. Macula has continually evolved since its creation, with the members now taking an active role in the direction and development of the Collective. Macula accepts external commissions and also develops self initiated projects as a Collective under the guidance of Rob, Martyn Windsor, (Photographer & Curator) and Tom Coleman (Photographer & Curator)
Although primarily a photographic collective, many of the members passions also extend to writing, fine art, film and performance. This blend of interests creates a diverse and eclectic group, allowing for cross medium influences. Within the collective, there is also a varied range of photographic interests and abilities. For the last few years the collective has developed a core group of members who have helped shape and develop the direction and ethos of Macula.
'Every Tuesday we would look at each other's work or go out into the countryside to take pictures. I was still shooting loads of film of my friends getting drunk so Macula gave me a kind of constructive space to think about the work I wanted to make.
Rob's work was developing too as he had just started doing an MA at Plymouth University. His pictures always heightened the places we had seen into a dream-like state. I have just got back from Wales, having photographed the beginnings of a new long term project. There are hints of Rob's work in all of my images, I've learnt to read light through his camera more than mine.
I turn twenty-one in exactly two weeks. In the last four years I founded and ran Unveil'd alongside Martyn, producing three photography festivals with the next set to take place in 2019 and planned to be the biggest yet. I have curated a number of exhibitions and had my work shown in three different countries. I have had the chance to meet some of my personal heroes and raised the funding to fly my favourite photographers into the UK to give talks as part of Unveil'd. Sitting next to your heroes is humbling and petrifying at the same time, more so when you are physically exhausted after pulling everything together last minute and trying to find the last bit of energy to make sure they are looked after.
I think it's funny the way things have worked out, I've ended up doing what I always said I wouldn't, just with a very strict set of rules about how to do it and what matters to me personally. I owe the next three years of (University) life and probably everything that comes after them, to Rob and the collective. I have an inkling they might be pretty good.' Tom Coleman
'Being in the collective from the start, I’ve got to see it evolve drastically. We’ve become self-aware of our work as a group; by mapping out ideas for growth, we’ve created a website, a blog, a documentary, a logo, exhibitions and perhaps most excitingly of all: Macula stickers. We’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing local art institutions and most recently, Tom and Martyn curated an incredible photography festival in Exeter, Unveil'd.
I never would have imagined at the start of the group that we would be showing work along with hundreds of brilliant photographers, or that me and Jazz would give a talk to the public, (alongside artists whose work we admire ourselves). Bare brick walls, rows of people sat on benches in the dark, a pool of light where speakers stood: it was all a little terrifying - especially being second to last. But as usual, doing it together made it all okay. It sounds cheesy, but sharing the talk with Jazz made it fun, more comfortable, and diverse as we spoke to and fro, racing to summarise three years of Macula and our work. It was challenging and exciting, kind of a microcosm for the past three years.' Daniella Golden
'The collective is something I hold very close to my heart, as corny as it sounds. Besides getting the chance to exhibit numerous times, working with other practicing photographers and meeting some amazing people, doing some amazing things; my time with Macula has changed the way I perceive photography. Without the influence from people such as Rob my images would never have matured the way they did. I learned to look at images in a different way. Aesthetics are important, but the concepts that run through the core of a project or series is what stands them apart. Without this guidance maybe I would of continued to produce trashy photographs, but thankfully fate was kinder. I would like to thank every member of the Collective for the past two years. Moving to London doesn’t mean that I won’t continue working as part of Macula or lose contact with the friends I have made here. However it does mark a new point in which my involvement is considerably lessened, which is sad. However I will continue supporting the members of the collective in any way I can, as I know they will continue supporting me.' Peter Butterworth
'I joined the collective when I first started college. I was taking a photography A-Level and without the help of these guys I’m pretty sure I would have failed it. My confidence was low and I didn’t think that I was good enough to pass but the encouragement and the compliments that you get from one another will spur you on and boost your ego when you need it the most. I’m now in my second year of university and Tuesday nights just aren’t the same without the photography gang. Whenever I go back to my beautiful Devon home I can’t wait to meet with Macula too. I can honestly say with my hand on my heart that Macula has helped me with not only my photography, but with every aspect of my life in one way or another. If I wasn’t made to go to that first meeting with Macula, who knows what I would be doing now.' Reanne Kingdon
'I have encountered so much being part of the collective and I feel like I have been one of the luckiest participating in the early days, when we had no idea that the group would get to this stage as Macula Collective. I first came across the collective when my best friend, Catriona found it on the Exeter Phoenix Website. She knew I also had an interest in photography, so we went along. We were quiet and timid, but as clichéd as it sounds, we grew into our shells soon enough. I never realised how easy it was to find your place within the group, with so many diverse individuals. It’s amazing how close we all are, with people leaving and newbie’s joining, it’s one big Macula family, and I couldn’t be happier in it.' Jazz Moffatt