Sunday, 30 January 2011

there is beauty in the city : the conversation - #1

No. 1 in a series of conversations with Bilbao's Igor Calvo


Stuart is a car park attendant. This photograph was taken on the top floor of a 7 storey car park. There are 18 car parks in the centre of Stoke-on-Trent. Car parks are a predominant land-use in this post industrial city today. In order to photograph on the top floor of this car park, I had to persuade Stuart and his boss that I wasn't a terrorist. Once satisfied of my good intentions, Stuart made a special journey to retrieve the photograph he's holding, which depicts the city as it looked in 1934. It shows a landscape covered in bottle kilns, the tell-tale architectural structure of the region's ceramics industry.

Monday, 24 January 2011

it's good to talk beauty in 2011

2011 is in its infancy but already, exciting new developments are arising for the There is Beauty in the City project. If 2010 was the year of the exhibition, with cities such as Stoke and Bristol in the U.K. and Gij√≥n and Leiden abroad hosting shows, then 2011 is promising to be the year of the conversation. 

It's good to talk!


To start with, we have been forging links with an online gallery group in Bilbao, Spain. PhotoArte Komite consists of a group of artists committed to promoting new contemporary photography and they have expressed an interest in taking this project to Bilbao. Talks are underway to come up with a rounded plan for how that will happen and i'll keep you posted as to future developments. In the process of these discussions, Igor Calvo and I have decided to start a photographic conversation, with regular postings to our respective sites, based around our views, ideas and experiences of our respective cities.  

On the face of it, you couldn't get two more disparate cities. However, Stoke and Bilbao share some characteristics. They are a similar size in terms of population; share an industrial heritage vital to their country's prosperities and each boast football teams who not only play in red and white stripes but also have strikingly similar, pragmatic footballing ideologies.  

Over the next few months,  through the medium of the There is Beauty in the City magnet, Igor and I are going to explore the Beauty of our respective cities. Tune in to see where we end up.

But that's not all. Anna Francis and I see 2011 as the year we take to the city streets of Britain, armed with our magnets, to spread the Beautiful word. Once a month, we'll be visiting a different city looking to unearth and broadcast images of urban beauty and to get people noticing, talking about and flagging the beauty in their cities. 

So, watch out for us and our magnets, coming to a city near you soon.