Two collaborative exhibitions featuring the images of renowned photographer Tom Wood are on show now.
New Brighton Revisited and Tom Wood: Cammell Laird Shipyard 1993 – 1996: Photographs from the Documentary Photography Archive both celebrate Wood’s unique insight into the areas he photographed.
New Brighton Revisited
This group show brings together for the first time the New Brighton pictures of internationally renowned photographers Martin Parr, Ken Grant and Tom Wood.
Showing in the town from which the pictures stemmed, it records three decades of New Brighton through the eyes of three photographers living and working in the town.
Parr, Grant and Wood found themselves basing their early lives and careers within the New Brighton area.
All three discovered a fascination and beauty in the town – within its streets, seafront, visitors and residents.
Each photographer captured moments of the town’s life from the late 1970s to the end of the 1990s.
Parr is one of the world’s most iconic photographers.
His ability to capture the essence of ‘Britishness’ within contemporary photography is often considered unrivalled.
The series which first propelled him to success – The Last Resort – captures a period in New Brighton history. It acts as a time capsule of the working-class family holiday.
The pictures look at working class reality over three consecutive summers,capturing not only the chip shop wrappers and cigarettes but also the warmth and honesty of the area.
New Brighton Revisited combines work from The Last Resort but also Parr’s lesser known work in a series of beautifully captured black and white shots of the seafront.
Wood exhibited alongside Parr in the original Last Resort exhibition in Liverpool in 1985.
He lived in New Brighton between 1978 and 2003 and photographing at every opportunity was a daily routine for him.
Over time he became a recognisable figure on the streets, with the kids calling him ‘Photie-Man’.
Looking For Love his most famous work, and now regarded as a classic of the time, depicts the drinking, dancing, revelling crowds at the Chelsea Reach – a now-defunct nightspot in the town.
This show will revisit this famous series alongside his other works.
Grant’s photographs of New Brighton were taken in the 1980s and 1990s during his time living and working in the area.
They document the humdrum realities of everyday working-class life.
Having worked as a carpenter in his early days he understood the realities of the working-class world he was systematically capturing in New Brighton.
Instinctively and with empathy Grant photographs the ordinary of New Brighton in an extraordinary way and captures moments experienced in the town by his contemporaries.
This is the first time Grant’s work from New Brighton has been shown together.
Cammell Laird Shipyard 1993-1996
The second of this summer’s exhibitions showcasing the work of Tom Wood is on at the Williamson Art Gallery.
Tom Wood: Cammell Laird Shipyard 1993 – 1996: Photographs from the Documentary Photography Archive with Cian Quayle: Detours and Dislocations – Liverpool / Isle of Man / Vancouver: in the footsteps of Malcolm Lowry is on now.
Commissioned by the Documentary Photography Archive (DPA), Wood’s images were intended to mark an historic point in the region’s history, as the shipyard closed down after 170 years.
When the business re-opened as a repair yard, Wood was able to gain further access to document the next phase of the industry’s life.
This exhibition marks the first time photographs have been shown in Birkenhead.
The images, due to be published by Steidl later this year, are accompanied by archive material drawn from the Williamson collection and Wirral Archives.
Quayle’s photographs take their cue from the life and writing of acclaimed author Malcolm Lowry, who was born in New Brighton in 1909.
New photographic artworks investigate places and sites significant for Lowry’s writing in Liverpool, Vancouver and the Isle of Man.
In what was a love/hate relationship, Lowry described Liverpool as ‘that terrible city whose main street is the ocean’.
Wood and Quayle have worked together previously on Wood’s DPA exhibitions at Chester University in 2013.
Quayle is also the editor of Wood’s forthcoming publication.
Both photographers’ exhibitions represent the importance of the River Mersey and the sea for the local culture and economy.
New Brighton Revisited is part of Imagine Wirral and Liverpool Independents Biennial. Venue: The Sailing School, Marine Point, New Brighton, until August 25. An exhibition by Northern Narratives in partnership with Open Eye Gallery.
Tom Wood: Cammell Laird Shipyard 1993 – 1996: Photographs from the Documentary Photography Archive, until September 2. Continued and rehung from September 8 to October 14. For more information click here.
Cian Quayle: Detours and Dislocations – Liverpool/Isle of Man/Vancouver: In the footsteps of Malcolm Lowry until August 26. For more information click here. Venue: Williamson Art Gallery and Museum, Slatey Road, Birkenhead.
Tracy Marshall from Northern Narratives will be taking over the Spectrum Photographic Instagram account from August 6 to August 10.
Main image: From the Cammell Laird series © Tom Wood