LOOK Photo Biennial 2019

Open Eye heads to China for LOOK Photo Biennial 2019

The first show in the run up to LOOK Photo Biennial 2019 takes place in China this week.

Open Eye Gallery’s Distinctly will be showing at the Pingyao International Photography Festival 2018 from September 19 to 25.

Distinctly is part of an extensive programme, both in the UK and China, in the run up to LOOK Photo Biennial 2019 next autumn.

The exhibition takes a unique approach to the depiction of Britain.

Distinct landscapes, industries, social and economic changes, cultural traditions, traits and events are seen through the eyes of 12 of the most significant photographers working in Britain over the last six decades.

Distinctly looks at the gentle, the humorous, the stark, the beautiful and the reality experienced by the photographers living and working in Britain.

Martin Parr and Chris Killip

Parr’s Bad Weather takes a charming approach to the depiction of British people going about their lives in bad weather – a recognised national obsession and focus of conversation.

The pictures are some of the rare black and white images Parr has shot over his lengthy career.

Killip’s award-winning book In Flagrante depicts the communities that bore the brunt of industrial decline in North East England during the 1970s and early 1980s.

One of the most important works in British photography it captures British life at its harshest. In particular, the depictions of children making a life in the unforgiving and stark industrial landscape rapidly choking around them.

LOOK Photo Biennial 2019
© John Myers

Daniel Meadows and John Myers

Meadows’ Retrospective includes pictures taken during the 1970s and 1980s as he travelled around Britain on a double decker bus.

These portraits of families and friends across England highlight the beauty and the safety of family, friendships and social connections to British people.

The working-class streets and homes captured in these gentle and respectful pictures are, in many cases, no longer there.

Meadows’ work tenderly depicts the era in a way which is beautiful but honest.

Myers’ Portraits has a uniquely British feel to it, depicting people at work, in their homes, shopping and in the routines of British life.

The series takes a walk through the quirkiness of Myers’ eye as he views British people in their distinctly British daily routines.

Marketa Luskačová and Tish Murtha

Luskačová’s London Street Musicians deeply and beautifully depicts daily life around London’s markets.

The pictures illustrate the diversity of London life in its varied instruments and captured playing styles.

Luskacova’s Czech background inspires her to silently depict the music of Brixton, Spitalfields and Portobello road during the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

Murtha’s Youth Unemployment tackles the harsh depiction of life as a young person in 1970’s Britain.

Like Killip, she depicts young people attempting to acquire normality in a period of unemployment in England.

The photographs are gently shot but with an edge illustrating the stark realities of life in the 1970s.

Ken Grant and Paul Seawright

Grant’s work photographing Liverpool, particularly the city’s football and fans has made an him an international name in British photography.

A Topical Times for These Times looks at the humour and beauty of football and the routines and habits of its fans on their weekly outings to the games of Everton Football Club and Liverpool Football Club.

Seawright’s Belfast focuses on the unique landscape and city scape pictures of post conflict Northern Ireland.

It emphasises the uniqueness of Belfast’s landscape in an era of change and ceasefire values.

The work avoids depiction of the conflict itself or its obvious aftermath. Instead, it captures the distinctiveness of Belfast as it built itself back up to be a ‘normal’ British city.

LOOK Photo Biennial 2019
© Robert Darch

Robert Darch and Niall McDiarmid

Darch’s Durlescombe depicts rural living in modern England and the traditions and culture of rural and farming life.

England is known for its rolling hills, its farming landscape and its traditional Hardy-esque rural traditions.

These pictures quietly capture that in its modern context.

McDiarmid’s Town to Town captures the amusing and often colourful manner of those who shop throughout the towns of Britain.

Shopping is often considered a national pastime with town centres awash with those who frequent the ever-growing generic and identical franchises.

McDiarmid captures the routine habits of town centre shopping across modern Britain with distinctive style, colour and manner.

Kirsty MacKay and Elaine Constantine

MacKay grew up in Glasgow in the 1980s and 90s.

The Fish That Swam Away explores the Glasgow of the tenement, the city scape and its residents in modern times.

Constantine became renowned in the 1990s for her colourful portrayals of British youth culture.

As a pioneer of the vibrant, documentary-inspired approach to fashion photography she was a regular contributor to The Face.

LOOK Photo Biennial 2019

Distinctly is part of a programme of events scheduled to run in the UK and China between now and LOOK Photo Biennial 2019.

The main festival will run in autumn 2019.

Keep up to date with the latest news at openeye.org.uk.

Open Eye Gallery will be taking over the Spectrum Photographic Instagram account from September 17 to 21.

Main image: © Kirsty MacKay

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