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FROM sweep­ing ru­ral vis­tas to ur­ban por­trai­ture, a new pho­tog­ra­phy ex­hi­bi­tion cap­tur­ing north­ern life and land­scapes opens this week­end in Manch­ester.

Hit the North will fill Manch­ester Cen­tral Li­brary’s first floor ex­hi­bi­tion space with cap­ti­vat­ing work from eight pho­tog­ra­phers and artists from April 19 to June 30.

Among them is Daniel Mead­ows, who took over a dis­used bar­ber’s shop in Moss Side’s Greame Street while study­ing at Manch­ester Polytech­nic in 1972 and turned it into a makeshift pho­tog­ra­phy stu­dio.

Res­i­dents could come and have their por­traits taken for free, which were then dis­played in the shop win­dow and dis­trib­uted to peo­ple’s houses - but af­ter eight weeks he ran out of money and had to close it down.

Feel­ing guilty be­cause peo­ple could no longer see the pho­to­graphs, he laid them out on wooden boards which he nailed to a tree in the nearby park.

Only later did he re­alise this had been his first ex­hi­bi­tion.

Now recog­nised as one of the lead­ing British post-war pho­tog­ra­phers, Daniel’s work is held in many ma­jor col­lec­tions in­clud­ing The Hy­man Col­lec­tion, The British Li­brary, the Arts Coun­cil Eng­land Col­lec­tion, the Martin Parr Foun­da­tion and the Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum.

His work will be show­cased along­side more re­cent ur­ban por­trai­ture of lads from Sal­ford in 1994, cap­tured by Chris Har­ri­son.

Draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from the grand tra­di­tion of paint­ing, his Un­der the Hood series of por­traits em­ploys dra­matic light­ing and drap­ery that gen­tly jar with its down-to-earth sub­jects.

The ex­hi­bi­tion will also fea­ture work by re­cent Manch­ester Metropoli­tan Univer­sity grad­u­ate and ris­ing star Phoebe Kielty, from her forth­com­ing book They Were My Land­scape.

Fea­tur­ing gritty ur­ban de­tails and fleet­ing glimpses of peo­ple, her hand-printed ana­logue pho­tog­ra­phy finds the ex­tra­or­di­nary in ev­ery­day ob­ser­va­tions.

Since grad­u­at­ing in 2015, her work has al­ready been ex­hib­ited at Tate Modern in Lon­don and Open Eye in Liver­pool, and she has also been nom­i­nated for two pres­ti­gious prizes: the 2018 Paul Huf Award and the 2017 First Book Award.

Matthew Mur­ray’s visions of Sad­dle­worth will also sit within the eclec­tic col­lec­tion. His dark, metal­lic pho­to­graphs show ar­eas in­clud­ing Wessenden Moor and Chew Piece Plan­ta­tion in a cap­ti­vat­ing new light.

Paul Floyd Blake’s gen­tly hu­mor­ous por­traits of bill­board signs out­side churches across Eng­land; Ian Macdonald’s pho­to­graphs of the peo­ple, in­dus­try and land­scape of his na­tive ●● Cleve­land; Tessa Bun­ney’s series cel­e­brat­ing do­mes­tic flower grow­ers of north­ern Eng­land; and Liza Dracup’s pho­to­graphs of taxi­der­mied birds and mam­mals, com­plete the show­case. The ex­hi­bi­tion, cu­rated by Hobo Photo, is free to see and prints of all the work on dis­play will be avail­able to buy. Manch­ester Cen­tral Li­brary / hobophoto. / from now to June 30 (9am-8pm, Mon-Thurs; 9am-5pm, Fri-Sat) / Free ●● ●●

From Daniel Mead­ows’ free pho­to­graphic stu­dio at 79B Greame Street, Moss Side, Manch­ester, Fe­bru­ary-April 1972

Chris Har­ri­son

Phoebe Kiely

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