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The Northern Photography and Video Show 2018

Saturday 12 May – Sunday 13 May 10am-4pm, Rheged, Penrith

Rod Ireland

Rod Ireland is a full-time professional photographer and qualified mountain leader living in the Lake District. With a love for the outdoors, he runs photography workshops & holidays as well as exhibiting and selling his landscape work.


In late 2015, I was chatting with a friend I'd met at our local Camera Club (Penrith & District). Phil Newport, now Chair, was keen to encourage new membership and reach a broader audience of people to join the club. He'd an idea around getting clubs together to put on a joint exhibition to which the public would be invited. Phil asked if I'd like to get involved and after some deliberation, I took the plunge.

The Rheged exhibition centre on the fringe of the Lake District was identified as a good venue to hold the event and in early 2016, Phil and Steve Prior from the club, along with the Rheged team and myself discussed what might be developed. We soon recognised that to appeal to a wider audience, we'd need more than just a social get together for clubs. We'd need talks and other exhibitors to draw people in. It would need to be a photography show.

For better or worse, I undertook the role of curator, tasked with putting together a programme of speakers and identifying who might be interested in exhibiting. The Rheged team would work on the logistics around hosting the event, while Phil and Steve approached various camera clubs to see if they'd take part.

I managed to persuade Mark Littlejohn, another ex-Penrith camera club member, to do a talk for us. Still basking in the success of winning Landscape Photographer of the Year, having him on board would help raise awareness for our fledgeling event. (Mark has been incredibly generous in supporting the show. Appearing for three years now, he always delights the audience so a special thanks are due to him). As well as Mark, I'd do a talk along with other Lake District photographers such as John Gravett. The launch of 'The Cumbria Photography Show' was on for May 2016.
There was the worry the show might slip up and we'd be left with a large empty building and red faces. To our relief, the inaugural show had a strong turnout and really positive feedback. Talks went well; exhibitors were happy and most importantly, we'd provided a platform for over six hundred people with an interest in photography to gather together. Mistakes were made, but we had proof of concept and all involved wanted to take it forward the following year.

Now in year three, we've tweaked the name to 'The Northern Photography & Video Show', reflecting the growing regional audience and acknowledging a widening interest in video as lines between photographers and videographers continues to blur.

We've secured what I think is the strongest line-up of speakers yet, a reflection perhaps on the momentum that's been built over the past couple of years. There's a new programme of practical workshops and we've more exhibitors, with a mix of camera & gear providers as well as photographers selling their services and work. Ten Camera clubs are attending and exhibiting their images. Last year saw nearly 1,000 visitors and we're confident of a great turnout again.

As the show moves forward, we'll look to attract more exhibitors (visitor feedback highlights handling kit and seeing demo's as well valued). We're also committed to maintaining a programme of high quality talks as the cornerstone of the event. Most important though, is keeping the friendly, social aspect that has emerged. Absolute beginners, through to full time professionals able to network, learn and enjoy a relaxed event together. That's how it started and we're determined to keep that going.

Full details for the show can be found here
Saturday 12 May – Sunday 13 May 10am-4pm, Rheged, Penrith

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