Happy Humanists Exhibition

Happy Humanists Logo1

I’ve been referring to a secret project for a while now, and I can finally talk about it: my Happy Humanists project is being exhibited at a hall in London. It was actually hung a couple of weeks ago, but we’ve been arranging a viewing for everybody who took part, and I didn’t want to mention it until they knew. But that’s all done now, so I can squee publicly. SQUEEEE. Ahem. Sorry, I should probably be all dignified, shouldn’t I? SQUUEEEEEEEEE. Damn it. Here’s the description we sent out:

Humanists have a reputation for grumpiness. If you believe the media, we’re all curmudgeonly Dementors who feed on the disillusionment of passing toddlers. This is baffling to anybody in the community, as we know that humanists are regular folk, with regular passions. Some are irascible, others perpetually joyful. And of course we only harvest misery in emergencies, or on Thursdays. So, to help redress the balance, we’ve put together an exhibition: Happy Humanists.

We spent last year photographing cheerful, smiley freethinkers from all walks of life, and asking them one question: what are you happy about? The answers are as varied and contrary as the humanists themselves, and demonstrate the wellspring of optimism and enchantment that humanism can inspire. We’re not saying humanism and happiness are bedfellows, but they flirt, and we hope our show reflects that. Do come by – it’d be lovely to see you.

It’s up at Conway Hall in Holborn, and will be for at least another three weeks. It’s in their Brockway Room, which is regularly hired out for meetings etc. – but when it’s not in use people are generally fine to wander around, which is nice. It’s all in conjunction with South Place Ethical Society, who own the hall. They’ve been amazingly helpful and friendly, and had the ideal attitude throughout: I didn’t want it to be too precious and all about art, or me – I just wanted a happy, fun little show. I hope that’s what we’ve ended up with.

I can’t post the project online, unfortunately. People were willing to be photographed for a university project, and don’t mind being up in a public exhibition, but posting their portraits on the internet is another matter, and I don’t have everyone’s explicit permission. I’ve taken some photos of the exhibition itself, though, and I think that should be ok – the individual portraits will be very small. I’ll put them up after the viewing.

I’m still expecting to blink all this away. It’s the first time I’ve had any photos displayed in public, and is a pretty big deal in terms of my CV. Planning the design, and figuring out how to print, mount and hang ~60 photos + quotes, was great experience too2. I’m SQUEEE ahem very pleased about it all.

  1. Thanks to the awesome Graham Nunn for the logo design, and for letting me mess around with it for different uses []
  2. this was going to be worryingly expensive, until I realised I could hand-mount them at home, with dry-mount tissue and an iron []