Amber is a film & photography collective in the U.K. incorporating Amber Films, Side Gallery and Side Cinema…The work is rooted in social documentary, built around long term engagements with working class and marginalized communities in the North of England. Through the gallery and cinema programs and at festivals and screenings, the group makes connections with inspirational production in the wider world. There is an integrated approach to production (which includes documentaries, dramas and photographic projects), publication (including exhibitions, books, DVDs and works created specially for the web) and distribution (though the odds sometimes seem to be stacked against it).
The approach is celebratory, even when the marginalization of lives and landscapes makes this more difficult. Production grows out of the relationships with these communities, and our creativity is inseparable from that of the people with whom Amber works. In any project, the first commitments are to individual lives, a particular landscape, or a set of concerns. The stories always emerge, opening up more ambiguities and possibilities than you can shake a stick at.
Rooted in practical craft skills (camera work, direction, editing, sound, etc), there is an egalitarian, collective approach to the film making. Technological innovation has made the different processes ever more democratically accessible, and Amber has taken advantage of this to extend its on-going experiment in collective creativity. Photography is necessarily about individual vision, and this can provide a healthy tension within the work, but Amber importantly provides a context for photographers, whether they are members of the collective or commissioned by the group. Everybody has a voice in all of the group’s activities, from the gallery and cinema programmers to the menus in the café, from the film projects to the photographic production. At the same time, the group abides by the dictum: Whoever paints the wall chooses the colour.
Amber’s approaches and concerns are best explored, looking at the work it continues to produce, commission and collect. The website is a constantly expanding educational resource, aimed at allowing you to explore the connections between the different strands.