There’s still room for community and physical exercise in today’s fast-moving cosmopolitan world. At least, that’s what the photographs of Daniel Rogers are telling us.
Hadrian’s Challenge, the first major exhibition from the 25-year-old Newcastle College student, follows 14 members of the North Tyneside-based group St Edward’s Fellwalkers as they complete the exhibition’s eponymous challenge: a 25-mile walk along the Roman emperor’s wall.
The series – on display in Newcastle City Library’s Berwick Hall from 10am until 4pm on Saturday - documents the event while capturing the emotion of participants on the day.
“The main reason for photographing the Hadrian’s challenge event was because it was a bit of a different event for the walking club involved than normal,” explains Daniel, who is specialising in photography within the art and design course.
“I wanted to use the event to capture the social ethos of community groups.”
A walker himself, Daniel became aware of the event via a friend who is a member of the club.
“They said they were looking for someone to take some photographs and I saw it as a great opportunity to explore some of the themes I was interested in.”
As well as get some exercise of course. Sort of.
“I did have my car,” he admits. “I took it because I wanted to be able to catch up with all the walkers along the route. I was walking back and forwards to different meeting points. I reckoned up at the end of the day and I think I did around 10 miles.”
The 23 photographs which will be on display at Saturday’s exhibit include the kinds of landscapes we have come to expect from the Northumberland World Heritage Site.
Meanwhile the more intimate portraits of the walkers themselves range from two female walkers laughing as they enjoy bacon sandwiches at a refreshment stop to a man receiving first aid for a blister.
“I feel the images I chose really told the story that I wanted to tell,” says Daniel. “They portrayed all the different elements of the day.”
Daniel, who has previously led a Scout Group based in his home town of Whitley Bay and worked with local community theatre groups, hopes his series of photographs will illustrate for many the benefits of getting involved with activities available in their local area.
“I think at a time when a lot of people struggle for money, community groups particularly are hit hard,” he says.
“It’s important to realise how beneficial these groups are to the wider society and how much we should make use of the positive benefits that they bring us as individuals.”
Daniel organised the exhibition in conjunction with the agency somewhereto_, which helps 16 to 25-year-olds find creative spaces to show their work, and is hoping this will be the first of many.
“Particularly social documentary photography,” he says. “I find that interesting.”
“Hadrian’s Challenge will be displayed in Newcastle City Library’s Berwick Hall on Saturday from 10am to 4pm. For more information, visit www.danielrogers.org.uk/hadrian . For more information on the St Edward’s Fellwalkers, visit www.stedwardsfellwalkers.co.uk