Photography, The Art House and Google Maps.


Photography, The Art House and Google Maps

Meet Philip Metcalfe, a St Mary’s and Art House regular who agreed to talk to us about how spending time at these sites lead to him embracing a new project of helping Google map the city and the unique community focus he brings to the work.

“I originally spent a lot of time attending Access Space in Sheffield and a lot of the regulars there also attended St Mary’s community events. To begin with, they tempted me with the promise of great food and I went along.”

The food was indeed great, but Phil says that what impressed him most was how well organised and supportive the environment there was. Having attended art college and then spent a life time in industrial and graphic design Phil wanted to find a way to use his skills and knowledge in a way to benefit himself and others.

“I knew there was a desire for a creative group that enabled people to socialise and get out whilst learning a new skill. These were always my most important considerations, but I wanted to use a ‘hook’ to get participants interest.”

It was from these ideas that Phil’s “Photography for Wellbeing” group was founded which ran for a number of years and could often be seen taking photos and learning camera skills around the city, visiting many venues practising camera skills.

As the idea of building a community art centre grew and turned into what is now The Art House, Phil watched it become the venue that it is today – an inclusive centre with an exhibition space, creative classes and welcoming café.

“From my time leading Photography for Wellbeing I know how important creative spaces in the heart of a city can be, so I supported it from the very beginning. I use the café and I’ve had some of my photos on show here.”

And graphic designer, Phil, now uses the café (and free wi-fi) to explore his own artistic pursuits.

“As I spend my time at work drawing, I missed doing creative photography, but I dislike all the Instagram mindset of ‘likes’ and comments. I wanted to find a way that used photography as a positive tool that helped the community.

“Someone told me that Sheffield was under represented on Google Maps where Google encourage people to add images of venues and named locations to help people navigate the city. Just before the New Year I uploaded a couple of images – including one of The Art House. I didn’t really expect too much and on Jan 1st those images had only had 11 views.”

Fast forward to April and these images – along with numerous others that Phil has uploaded, have registered over two million views. He often sorts and uploads from The Art House café.

“It’s great to think that so many people have seen my photos but what motivates me is trying to combine artistry with offering people helpful information about a location. I try to not only take images of the building but things like access points that people can sometimes struggle to find elsewhere.”

“The Art House and the supportive environment it provides helps to motivate me to continue. I’m proud that some of the images on the Google Map page of the Art House are mine and I hope they encourage people to visit to experience all that it has to offer.”

(Phil is currently ranked as a Master Photographer on Google Maps.)

Why not check out the Art House images currently on the Google Map page here.

Maybe even upload your own? All your reviews and feedback helps us to spread the word about who we are and what we do.