CURRENT PROJECTS: An exhibition partnership with IED MADRID, curated by Moritz Neumüller

02 02 2015

5 PLUS 5

The Photographers’ Wall

Exhibition: 25th February 2015 – 29th April 2015

5 PLUS 5 showcases the work of ten emerging photographic artists; Five photographers who are based in the Midlands and five who are based in Madrid.

The selected artists are; David Sheperd, Dean O’Brien, Lauren Spencer, Nicola Onions and Oscar Parasiego, and from Madrid; Angela Losa, Anna Fawcus, Eoin Moylan, Inge Trienekens, and Juan Pablo Fassi.

The projects shown in this exhibition orbit around themes such as memory, identity, space, the human condition and eternal subjects in the field of photographic creation. All the emerging practitioners selected to take part in this exhibition exchange use highly contemporary language and represent a new generation of globally connected artists that use the camera as one of many technological tools for image creation.

Moritz Neumüller (Linz, Austria, 1972) is a curator, educator and writer in the field of Photography and New Media. He holds a Masters Degree in Art History and a PhD degree in Information Management and has worked for several important art institutions, such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, PhotoEspaña in Madrid and LOOP in Barcelona. Neumüller is currently working as Festival Curator at PhotoIreland in Dublin, and directing a study program called European Master of Fine Art Photography for the Istituto di Design in Madrid. In 2009, Moritz Neumüller founded ArteConTacto, a project aimed at exploring art through all the senses, in order to provide access for all visitors, including the visually impaired. Since 2010, he runs the The Curator Ship, a platform that provides useful information for visual artists.

As a curator, Moritz is interested in contemporary work made by photographers and media artists from around the world, especially documentary, social and conceptual work.

5 plus 5 was exhibited at the Altamira Palace Gallery, IED Madrid in November 2014 and at will feature on The Photographers’ Wall, Library of Birmingham in Spring 2015 (25th February – 29th April 2015)

Credit: © Oscar Parasiego 2014


9:30 am – 17:30 pm – Meeting Room 104, Floor 1, Library of Birmingham

The State of Photography event will explore, debate and review how photographers and photography practice develops, responds and thrives in the current challenging times. During the Symposium we will hear from the perspective of the photographer, curator, festival director, agent and publisher. With a focus on innovation and sustainability speakers will convey what it takes to not only survive but to expand and thrive. The day will explore and celebrate self-initiated projects and entrepreneurialism by hearing from a range of photographic projects that are current and at the cutting edge of photography now.

The State of Photography Symposium will form the culmination of 2 years of the GRAIN project and will bring together practitioners and professionals from the sector to talk about the artform and current climate, to present questions and challenging new ideas, as well as offering advice and talking about positive approaches to influence change, encourage leadership and growth.

Speakers include:

  • Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin
  • David Birkitt
  • Tim Clark
  • Ángel Luis González
  • Louise Clements
  • Uncertain States Magazine
  • Lara Ratnaraja
  • Karen Newman
  • Paul Herrmann
  • Faye Claridge
  • Peta Murphy-Burke


  • Early Bird Concession: £15
  • Early Bird Standard: £18
  • Concession: £18
  • Standard: £22

Early Bird available until 31st December 2014.

Click here for tickets.

*Please note prices include tea/coffee in breaks but do not include lunch.

Image Credit: by Martin Parr, at DMB and Magnum Photos.

I Sell the Shadow to Save the Substance new work by Lucy Hutchinson is exhibited on The Photographers’ Wall from 2nd December 2014 – 22nd February 2015.

The body of work is the result of a residency undertaken by the artist at The Library of Birmingham, awarded by Turning Point West Midlands.

The work is a response to the study of Carte-de-Visite images from the library’s nationally and internationally significant photography collection. The Carte-de-Visite images, taken in Birmingham Studios, document the Victorian middle class dressed up in their finery. Staged against opulent backdrops and scenery the images often contrasted the subjects’ social status by using props as a representation of position and wealth.

In response to these historical images, the artist has developed three female identities. The characters and sets created are representations of women of British middle class heritage who have lived in Hong Kong for a number of years. Using the conventions of classical portrait structure, the presentation of these characters explores how these subjects, who no longer relate to either culture, attempt to remain quintessentially British.

Through combining contemporary and historical status symbols directly associated with ‘Britishness’, ranging from influential designers to ideas of moral hierarchy which are present in the British middle class, the artist has explored how these characters present their status and questions the importance of authenticity in images.

Tbe work is exhibited on The Photographers’ Wall, The Library of Birmingham.

Image Credit: © Lucy Hutchinson

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The City of Six Towns is an exhibition of new work by Mark Power made in response to a commission in Stoke-on-Trent.  The exhibition is in the public realm, located in the new Albion Square in the city centre from 18 November 2014 – 20 February 2015.

Power is a Magnum photographer and a Professor of Photography who has investigated and depicted landscapes and visual stories from all over the globe.

The new commission and exhibition, entitled The City of Six Towns, will feature 50 new works from Power and will be distinctive, illustrating the city as he finds it. Like visual stories or postcards from the city the work created will be personal and a narrative in pictures, telling the unique story of life in Stoke-on-Trent today. The work will be presented in Albion Square, the large new public square in the city centre, and will feature landscapes, people, interiors, street photography and more as Mark Power builds his picture of life in Stoke.

Power began his photography career in 1983 in the editorial and charity fields. In 1992 he moved into teaching where he is currently Professor of Photography at the University of Brighton. Power has published six books: The Shipping Forecast (1996), a poetic response to the esoteric language of daily maritime weather reports; Superstructure (2000), a documentation of the construction of London’s Millennium Dome; The Treasury Project (2002), about the restoration of a nineteenth-century historical monument: 26 Different Endings (2007), which depicts those landscapes unlucky enough to fall just off the edge of the London A-Z, a map which could be said to define the boundaries of the British capital; The Sound of Two Songs (2010), the culmination of his five year project set in contemporary Poland following her accession to the European Union; and Mass (2013), an investigation into the power and wealth of the Polish Catholic church.

Image credit: © Mark Power

GRAIN has run a season of professional development and professional practice events to support emerging talent, provide advice and opportunities for development, engagement and sharing of ideas.  We will be doing more next year.

In the mean time we would like to thank our partners in this area who include Birmingham City University, Redeye, Wolverhampton University, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Magnum Photos  and Coventry University.

We will have more on offer in 2014 so please keep your eye on our listings and/or join our mailing list for more information.

For more details of our next Portfolio Development Day in Coventry on Saturday 29th November click here.

For more details about our upcoming Magnum Photos Symposium click here.


Saturday 22nd November 2014, 10am – 6pm @ Library of Birmingham

The Magnum Photos Symposium is an intensive one day event designed to inspire, guide and advise emerging photographers in the development of their practice. The day is aimed at photographers who are currently working on a long term, personal photographic project.

Magnum Photos is an agency synonymous with integrity, curiosity and ‘concerned’ photography. For over sixty years, Magnum’s international photographers have chronicled the world; interpreting its environment, people and events and helping to shape documentary photography as a modern form of artistic expression.

In the tradition of Magnum’s commitment to emerging photographers, this symposium will give limited participants an opportunity to inspire and refine their personal approaches. The day will include;

  • Inspirational presentations from Magnum photographer Olivia Arthur and Sophie Wright
  • Portfolio critiques and sharing peer to peer
  • Panel discussion and informal question time

Portfolio reviews will be conducted by Magnum photographer Olivia Arthur, Magnum Print Room Director Sophie Wright and two guest reviewers in intimate groups of 6. Each participant will be offered a minimum 20 minute session in which to communicate projects and show work. By working within groups the experience will encourage confidence building skills, the ability to successfully articulate projects, and learning to both provide and receive constructive criticism from both contemporaries and mentors. There will be ample time for questions and to discuss specific aspects of photography and the industry.

Participation will be based on a competitive process.

Please apply with a short Statement (max 1 side A4) explaining why you would like to attend and with an example of images from recent projects (maximum of 5 images as low res jpegs).

Please send to:

Deadline is 14 November 2014 at 12 noon.

Applicants will be chosen on the strength of submitted proposals and the perceived benefit to the photographer’s career.

Price: £60 full price / £45 concessions

The event will take place at: Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Birmingham B1 2ND Saturday 22nd November 10am – 6pm

Images © Olivia Arthur

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Andrew Lacon and Stuart Whipps are interested in the relationships between the new libraries of Guangzhou and Birmingham. Both cities have recently built iconic new libraries and have an official Memorandum of Understanding.

The artists intend to interrogate the shared and divergent histories of the 2 cities, and will explore a series of complex relationships: The relationship between the materials of the former and current buildings, the similarities and differences that exist between the material housed in the two libraries, and the relationships between the people of the respective cities and their former and present libraries and collections.

The artists are currently researching and making a number of formal studies in the studio in the UK before they fly out to Guangzhou in November for an intense period of research and production. They will be making and exhibiting new work in Guangzhou Library throughout the duration of their stay.

This international Artists Exchange and Exhibition is supported by British Council, Arts Council England, Guangzhou Library and Library of Birmingham

01 10 2014

EMPIRE: Jon Tonks

Empire is a fascinating journey across the South Atlantic exploring life on four remote islands – the British Overseas Territories of Ascension Island, Tristan da Cunha, the Falkland Islands and St Helena – relics of the once formidable British Empire, all intertwined through their shared history.

Jon Tonks began the project in 2007, spending up to a month at a time in each territory, travelling 60,000 miles around the Atlantic via military outposts, low-lit airstrips and a long voyage aboard the last working Royal Mail Ship. Some 400 rolls of film, 24 flights and 32 days at sea later, the resulting work creates an insight into these distant places that resonate with a sense of Britishness which is remarkably recognisable yet inescapably strange. Jon photographed the people, the landscapes and the traces of the past embedded within each territory.

Since completing the project in 2013, he published the book ‘Empire’ through Dewi Lewis publishing. The book contains four chapters looking at each island visited. Through short texts that accompany the pictures, the book combines history and anecdote, telling the story of these remote and remarkable islands, with a curiosity about the lives of these distant lands that remain very firmly British.

As part of this touring exhibition the Library of Birmingham will be exhibiting works in vitrines that show the development of the project, from ephemera collected over the journeys around the Atlantic, to contact sheets from some of the 400 rolls of film shot, through to the 8-sheet prints of the book prior to its binding.

Photographs from the book are being exhibited at the Arena Gallery, mac Birmingham from October 18th 2014 until January 4th 2015.

The touring photography exhibition of Jon Tonks’ Empire was commissioned and co-produced by mac Birmingham, the Library of Birmingham, Ffotogallery, Cardiff and Impressions Gallery, Bradford.


17 09 2014


Plane Materials, curated by Nathaniel Pitt, is an exhibition featuring new work by Cornford & Cross and Andrew Lacon. In the exhibition the artists explore the dialogue between photography and sculpture. Lacon’s studio based practice draws on historical documents and photographs from the Library of Birmingham’s archive that are specifically concerned with Roman antiquity and the framing of photographs of Roman sculpture. Cornford & Cross work differently, a non-studio based practice, they create work through discussion and debate, positing different conceptual ideas.

A Photoworks, GRAIN and Library of Birmingham Co-commission for Brighton Photo Biennial 2014. The exhibition can be seen from the 4 October – 2 November at the University of Brighton Gallery, 58-67 Grand Parade, Brighton, BN2 0JY. For further information please click here.

Above image credit: Andrew Lacon – Studio Collage (Bernini) 2014′


Cornford & Cross – Afterimage (2012), C-type-print removed and destroyed, from aluminium substrate in aluminium tray

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Mat Collishaw has been commissioned to research and make work in response to the photography archive at the Library of Birmingham. Following a period of research he will create a new work as an edition that can be purchased.

Collishaw makes alluring, poetic and shocking work with a visual language that embraces diverse media. Themes and subjects from histories and religion are explored, often the darker side of nature and human character, and yet the work is beautiful and awe-inspiring.

He is interested in the history of photography, in its subjects, techniques and machinery and often references histories in his work, in particular the Victorian period. It is therefore apt that he has been invited to respond to the archive which is rich in photography from the earliest period.

Born in Nottingham (1966), Collishaw studied at Goldsmiths College of Art. He took part in the now legendary Freeze exhibition, curated by Damien Hirst, at Surrey Docks in London in 1988 exhibiting the celebrated Bullet Hole. He became known for brutal, confrontational and challenging work. Over the past decade, his work has been exhibited in numerous solo shows around the world, including; Cohen Gallery, New York, Camden Arts Centre, London, Freud Museum, London, Museum of Contemporary Art Warsaw, Pino Pascali Museum Foundation, Bari, Italy and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

A co-commission GRAIN, Library of Birmingham and The New Art Gallery Walsall.

Image Credit: The Poisoned Page, 2013 – C-type photograph

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