Monday, 23 August 2010

The Roads Were Closed, The Exhibition Open

On the day my Hull exhibition was to open, a fatal car accident. The roads were closed. No one could cross the bridge to the other side of the city, and the main road in front of the venue, the ARC building, was silent. Sarah and I walked to lunch, into the stillness of an abandoned city. How strange, I thought, that as we presented an exhibition on the relationship between the people and the city, the city itself was - in reality - empty of people. The roads had, for a moment, rejected their inhabitants and refused passage.

This exhibition was for these streets of Hull. These rivers and estuaries, these mills and factories and all the people inside and outside them. All my images and captions were designed for those who would recognise the locations and names. I didn't want to have to explain it to anyone else. I wanted just enough information for the local to recognise, but the visitor to have to ask questions. The gallery opened, and I was happy to hear people identifying the streets and locations of these photographs.

Sheila, whom I have never met, offered this quote to accompany my writing and images. From the British seascape artist J.S. Lowry, they express perfectly my fascination with this city:

"It's the battle of life - the turbulence of the sea...I have been fond of the sea all my life, how wonderful it is, yet how terrible it is. But I often think...what if it suddenly changed its mind and didn't turn the tide? And it came straight on? If it didn't stay and came on and on and on...That would be the end of it all."

You can see the full final selection of 15 images here.

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