Open Eye finds A Place of Our Own
Open Eye Gallery is staging a new group exhibition which brings together local stories of people across Walton, Prescot and Chester.
A Place of Our Own runs from September 29 to December 23.
The three separate parts of the show are connected by a pride in people’s memories and associations as well as the acknowledgement of redevelopment and regeneration needed in each area.
Photographer Lucy Hunter spent a year working with the Walton community for Our Home, Our Place, Our Space, exploring the area on walks and trying different camera techniques.
The project, which was assisted by photographers Sarah Weights and Tricia Grant-Hanlon, also fits in to a broader programme in the area – Next Generation Neighbourhoods Project – by Culture Liverpool.
Hunter said: “Working on this residency has been such a fulfilling experience. There’s a strong community in Walton and all who I’ve encountered during my time have been keen to help, support and show enthusiasm for the project.
“The young people and staff at Walton Youth and Community Project are such an inspiration and it’s been a privilege to spend the last year working alongside them.
“I feel that the imagery that the young people have made shares a whole new perspective, full of heart and authenticity.
"I’ve been so impressed by the groups’ talent and commitment to trying new things, pushing themselves and carving out their own individual styles. Their ability to capture little moments of magic and seek out the unexpected has been a joy to witness.”
Above: Walton by Lucy Hunter. Top: Lou's Cafe, Prescot by Tony Mallon
Meanwhile Tony Mallon started working with Prescot residents in the summer of 2021, and the result is A Portrait of the High Street, part of the town’s High Streets Heritage Action Zone Project.
Mallon invited people to set up a local photography group to reimagine the town’s high street and create a contemporary portrait of the area.
He said: “The weekly photography walks have revealed for many Prescot’s rich and hidden history. The participants have highlighted that the ‘High Street’ should still be the beating heart of our town centres and have been enthusiastic about capturing a slice of social history – photographing shoppers, shop/business owners and their staff and the buildings/spaces they frequent most days to shop and socialise.
“I’m so proud by the quality of work that has been produced and how the participants have embraced capturing their town centre. This collaboration and co-produced work has shown how the ‘High Street’ has evolved yet still gives a sense of identity and pride. A place that was, still is and should be for future generations it’s beating heart.”
And Suzanne St Clair has spent more than two years working with businesses working in Chester’s historic Rows, creating images and videos which document their daily lives and stories.
A Place of Our Own is at the Open Eye Gallery from September 29 to December 23.