This was when we were able to do fun things, mingle, to breathe on each other and stay over. I was c h e e s e f a c e happy and excited to go on my first real British National Holiday Mystery Tour with other three friends. I was excited about the mystery location, about the grannies on the coach, about eating crisps on the coach and, most importantly, wonder around new cities, soak up new culture and relax. We even had a little betting game of where we will go. If I correctly remember I was the closest one to guess with putting Coventry in line and I won a pint of beer. Lichfield and Derby on the day 2 were our mystery locations, and, although not really tropical and exotic at first thought, it was a pretty good. We actually got soaked more than normal in August, and it was rather nippy for the time of the year, but we survived that too.
Since the current states is a bit plain in my line of work, I’m finally getting time to edit and revisit old personal and semi personal imagery/content.
The best thing about the concept of mystery trip is the unknown. No pre planning was that little freedom. We just set ourselves to a random direction and strolled through beautiful town centre through Lichfield Cathedral
It goes without saying that the cathedral was gorgeous and it had little exhibits [including a children’s play area with a coffin as a centrepiece].
It resembled Hull Minster and how these incredible buildings can be used not just to pray, but also bring communities and people together with art flare in the middle.
The cathedral is enormous and takes time to walk around, but the view up is stunning.
Lichfield was welcoming and friendly, good vibes and all that was enhanced by an accidental farmers market with something for everyone – alpaca meat, apple moonshine and ice lolly artworks.
It was actually funny visit to a museum/art gallery with three grown ups with different interests in life. We laughed, learned stuff and were fascinated by the collection of bugs and creepy crawlers. Skeletons, drawing stuff, assembling horse and escaping hunger with weird sausage rolls.
I loved the intense red at the Bare Bones. From seeing so many exhibitions over the years valued its great ability to educate and amaze at the same time.
But it was beautifully set out and organised teaching me all about British Isles wildlife.
And there was there rest of the museum and gallery – again, very good and educational with not many yawns.
It was a shame that the rain spoiled seeing the city, but we probably wouldn’t have seen these beauties, so all good and forgiven. We did had Derby sausage rolls and saw the giant sheep. Plus visited the entertainment centre and played some indoor games.
Fun times, fun times. All being well we might be able to repeat that in 2025. Maybe. But for now we listen to Boris, say thank you for good health and plan our future dream destinations.
Well, this is not really about both festivals going against each other – Humber Street Sesh and Freedom Festival share similar qualities, but are completely different. Both share a common quality – it gives Hull the heartbeat once a year and we all look forward to the August and September.
This year I wasn’t fully employed or involved for neither. And it isn’t good or bad, it is just a fact. But I still made small contributions to both festivals and now it is the perfect time to celebrate and say goodbye to crop tops, cold cider in the sunshine and busy streets in the city.
Coming to the dark and wet months is fine, but we all need a bit of sunshine and at least 20 happy minutes each day. Luckily I have made peace with summer passing and autumn is all welcome. Hull Fair, Bonfire Night, Halloween, Christmas…so many things to look forward to.
I have been delaying this blog post for a while due to personal reasons, and I always thought that the next day will be better than the present one. I learned the hard way that waiting around for the better day is foolish, instead I will make this day better and more suitable for writing RIGHT NOW!
There was also a decision if to separately share Humber Street Sesh and Freedom Festival images – this year neither of them were on my top list for various reasons, but somehow I got a little snipped of both. And my 15% contribution was amazing. Great moments deserve their own spotlight, right?
When the directions that you are heading to are blurry and not distinct, it is OK to detour slightly. In my case just randomly turn up at the Turner Price XL Food&Drink Show at Bonus Arena. It really was a random choice and I giggle thinking about how it may look – photographer walking around the food and drink stalls, juggling camera, piece of cake, flyers and goody bags. Sure I looked like I am there for freebies, but that wasn’t the story. I literally had no idea what the show will be like and for sure I didn’t prepare myself to taste so many things, get my hand kissed and get totally excited about Harrogate water bottles, oh! and was asked if the Fentimans display has enough botanical references [like I know a thing about display building].
The highlight was probably the unexpected rage of products for caterers, hotels and cafes, in my case education, and attendance. It was packed full with people representing a business, and of course people who love a freebie. The variety was from actual buyers to browsers, tasters to players.
And this brings me to the main point – I have totally missed an opportunity to shoot some Dench and Parr style shots. Really gutted. Instead I was fact recording, mainly looking at food [of course].
Hopefully next year I will be much wiser and embrace the opportunity, because this year I learnt that attendees are too busy browsing, so I will have all the opportunities to shoot some great shots. Maybe that should be my new thing to attend events of this type and create narratives around each?
Speaking of things I have definitely fallen in to a dry period and each day starts with a prayer not too loose everything I worked so hard for.
Hence why these past few months have been so empty with tumbleweed dancing through my creative and professional practice.
When I found out about the annual RSPCA Bike Show, I thought bringing camera can’t do any harm – I never know who will I meet, what will happen at the fundraiser.
Pride is something that was seeping through every moment. People were the leather with pride, ride the beasts with pride, respect each other, RSPCA workers did their duties with pride, and even the local pear tree thrives with pride. Sweet and positive gathering that more people should talk about.
Another good and vital attendance was the Climate Strike in Hull. The strike in Hull was a small piece of a global puzzle. Tens of thousands of people across the globe united to speak about the climate change issues, shout at the government, raise their concerns and show initiative that we are all ready to change. I silently hate the system, I hate that I am part of the consumerism society, I hate the greed and ego that runs the parade. At the same time I know I am just a small particle in the big space and the anger is only driving myself crazy. I felt a little power running through my vanes at the strike, through the lens I joined the energetic young people, wise activists and general public. I believe that the strike was organised by Youth Strike 4 Action Hull, working together with Animal Rebellion Hull, Friends of the Earth Hull, Extinction Rebellion Hull + big thanks to Lauren Saunders for inviting me.
Last, but not least was the visit to Woodmansey Garden Centre [famous for its sexy fish tanks and range of ocean fish, corals] market. That Sunday was dull as ever and I really needed a reason to get out of the house. And my new fave gin company Hotham’s Gin promoted their tasty gin, new orange vodka and Gin School under the greenhouse roof. The twitter post was inviting, showing off the tropical vibes of the place. Hotham’s Gin are run by two really interesting, lovely and hardworking people [Emma and Simon], so it was a pleasure to have a natter and see that things are moving great for them.
I mean, it’s not the culture that I would usually blog about, but there is some culture in local brews and others drinks, so it counts. Another perfect excuse was that the market happens every so often and local craft makers, artists and small business sell their work, promote themselves under palm trees and tropical blooms. So here you go – cracking culture there.
I will have to try much harder in the following months to keep some value in my work, I know. By the looks of my diary there will be some exciting clients, work up until Christmas and that will be the fuel for culture hauls.
Not really knowing how to start this blog post … so I am just going to welcome you and say “HAPPY BANK HOLIDAY”!
Firstly, the decision to write a periodical culture reviews in Hull was a big mistake. Four months have passed very quickly and despite having a very mellow involvement with culture and the city, a lot has happened.
2019 started with a positive outlook on upcoming life and work events and I really didn’t want to skip the commitment to the city and its culture/arts scene. I gave myself a relaxed task to share periodical cultural experiences, making it less of a chore.
And here I am – slightly regretful, unsure and of course still happy to have an archive of four months worth of culture.
To be able to deliver this, I really need to travel back in time.
From what I remember – it was a simple, minimalist experience that didn’t really had a wow factor. But I appreciated the tones, simplicity and shapes.
The thing about Hull, camera and me is that in my head I have various visions of specific locations and potential images. So I sometimes plan a random journey, hoping to discover something unseen or not photographed previously.
The next selection is one of those. I wanted to travel down to one of my favourite streets in Hull Boulevard for the mural that has been there for a while.
Moments before I drove past Hull Marina and recorded the beautiful morning light – this pretty much sums up my January.
During the exhibition I held various activities – photo booth, talk about my HOME GLORY series and COME AS YOU ARE photo project.
Free photo booth was a lovely way how to invite people into the gallery and do what I do best – take a photograph.
The talk about my HOME GLORY series was a an interesting experience to have – it turned out to be an intimate talk with small group of people about my heritage, photographic journey and stories I am trying to tell. I didn’t need crowds to feel the support and I am thankful to those who came.
COME AS YOU ARE was a thing I wanted to do for a while and I was lucky to get a small platform where to test out the idea.
I asked a question to people – what do you carry with you every day and what role does that “thing” play in your life. It all came from the question of why I photograph Latvia and the mundane everyday whilst I am there, family and country.
Again – the attendance was mild, but I felt very lucky to see the people who came. Quality over quantity.
This year I missed the deadline to apply, but it happened for a reason. I didn’t feel like there was anything to exhibit and previous year proved that if you don’t feel it in your gut, don’t submit.
However, to visit the exhibition was a pleasure.
The Knife Angel left me slightly speechless and amazed. The travelling National Monument against Violence and Aggression gathered people from all over the region and in a way united us once more. It felt like short period of time, but it definitely left a mark in 2019.
By mid March my life was starting to take a bitter turn and my health got in the way of everything. There was a fantastic opportunity to photograph the last Heads Up Festival, Creative ENRG came to a closure and I was part of the Creative Juice event at C4DI.
Plus I went to a very random gig at Union Mashup and stumbled across an exhibition by Lauren Saunders, Rebbeca Addinell and Sinitta Beadle at Hull Central Library.
Creative Juice @C4DI was a farewell event to the amazing journey we all had with Creative ENRG – there was a book launch, great food and very interesting programme all thanks to brilliant event organisation by Eskimosoup
Being at the event reminded me of the friendships made and the amazing photo opportunities I created for myself by getting involved with the Creative ENRG
Heads Up Festival 2019 was so special this year, it was my third and probably the last as it was announced to take a break for a bit.
The exhibition space at the library is very well lit and clean from distractions. And the work suited the space well [or the other way round]. I am pleased that Lauren Saunders is getting out there and pursuing her goals.
Make Noise Birthday Bash @Union Mash Up was a very random visit thanks to my friend Oliver. Make Noise Collective describe themselves as “Hull gal collective, working to improve safety at gigs and visibility for women in the local scene”
One girl really did stand out – Jodie Langford with her spoken word performances. The ultimate highlight of the night.
April brought Bankside Gallery event at the Preston Road derelict housing estate, Alec Gill’s Hessle Roaders at Hull Truck and new art space in Hull – Prospect Gallery [it is very new and at the moment the gallery don’t have any online presence].
Bankside Gallery was a pleasure to visit despite the weather and my moody mood. A lot of new works created in a very unique gallery.
Hessle Roaders by Alec Gill has been an ongoing journey for many people in past year or so and Alec has made sure that his work don’t just sit in the shelves in folders hidden away. Hull Truck hosted another extension to the work and I as promised to Alec I went to see it.
I first heard of Prospect Gallery was at the Queens House Showcase at one of the events. It was mentioned and it soon became the place to visit in my [imaginary] list.
I also got an amazing offer to have my portrait drawn and I agreed. Since then it happened twice and it as an experience to experience. It is a strange task to sit and find a point of interest that becomes your world for an hour or so. And the end result gives you a sight that you never see yourself.
The space has got a lot of potential and it could become one of the hot spots to visit in Hull.
CUT is a a residency project exploring themes of social expression and the acts of self-care centred around their practice of hairdressing. The project takes form of a sculptural installation and events programme where haircuts and client interviews are gathered to create sound and sculptural artworks.
There was more adventures and exciting work things throughout the four months, but I think I have covered the highlights. And learned a lesson to be more consistent. And discovered that Hull is still breathing culture.
Well, well. 31st of December and with a great pleasure I am writing a finale post of the year.
Of course the culture wonders gradually went downhill, but I still kept a good housekeeping throughout the year.
Last month also brought new perspectives on City Of Culture with the Illuminate Project Legacy event at Artlink in support from Redeye: The Photography Network in the early days of December. The legacy and its future is under a question mark, many creatives left feeling disappointed and I found out things about how the system was run throughout 2017.
I still take my own experience as valuable and I remain grateful. I very much enjoy being part of the Illuminate Project: Legacy and my wonderful experience and work created lifts up my spirit.
Another wonderful moment in December was to see film A Northern Soul by Sean McAllister
The description of the film briefly tells the story of Steve aka Redeye Feenix and his journey:
“Steve is a warehouse worker by day, hip-hop artist by night. He represents a forgotten generation whose dreams haven’t been met. But Steve is also a deeply community-driven optimist, who has also been trying to find a way to bring creativity and culture to the disadvantaged kids of the city. Kids like he once was – kids whose opportunities to build a better life are restricted by the world around them. Music has been his dream for 30 years and he saw the opportunity in the City of Culture year to start a project: the ‘Beats Bus’, using a bus donated by his company and converted into a sound studio, allowing him to visit some of Hull’s poorest schools and give kids a voice through music training and performance – a chance he never had.”
My own reflections of the film however are much more deeper – first of all, I think that the film was the best documentary I have seen in a long time and secondly it made me feel inspired. I have seen Steve’s and Beats Bus journey in 2017 and 2018, taking photographs of them at Hull’s festivals. They were so engaging with the public and youngsters seem to have loads of confidence. And the film showed how much Steve had to invest, how he shared his passion and energy and that the kids got their inspiration and strength from Steve. He is an inspiring local artist and we have more common that I would ever imagine. I am sending my love and best wishes to Steve and Beats Bus.
Another moment was a special Monday when I had to find a spot where to be interviewed for Creative ENRG annual report. Of course, I don’t have an amazing office space, just my boring home office and there was no chance to nail an interesting client to shoot on early Monday morning so I decided to go somewhere appropriate for my work – Preston Road derelict housing estate “decorated” with graffiti.
Friends on Every Street slowly are creating amazing legacy with their work and are the key elements on previously visited Bankside Gallery and this too.
Here is me and my boyfriend spreading the love for the Peter levy and Look North Mate!
The end of 2018 is also bringing me to a closure to another year of culture blogging and I have a big question of what is next. Do I continue or do I move on with my life and career?
I need to dive in January and see how enthusiastic and faithful I feel to continue. I need time to reflect and revalue my input on the culture legacy in Hull.
Last but not least was my magical Christmas visit home and I really want to share few moments of picturesque snow. I am so grateful to my family for time spent together and white Christmas just topped it all and made it so special.
On the last festive note I want to wish everyone Happy New Year! I hope it brings love, success and you all have the energy to make your big and small dreams to come true. Lots of love from me to everyone who follows me and my life/career journeys!
Fashionably late on the 6th of November with great pleasure I am writing this. October’s quote would be “you get what you give” or what you put in, so not much. All feelings from annoyed to sad, including the feeling that I have missed all the good, run through my mind today.
I guess that at this stage of my career the reality hits hard and I shouldn’t really be sad that my photography is going so well that I don’t have spare time to wonder around galleries and events. But I can’t help to feel disappointed in myself.
This little exhibition space is one of the hidden gems in the city centre and I always want for the space to be filled with culture lovers. Because it is always worth the visit.
This was the second Artist Takeover showcasing local talents in various mediums.
Artist links below, but photos[sorry] not in the right order most likely.
Having been part of the Creative and Cultural and HIP Gallery in the past, I have a bit of a love for them. But going on the last day didn’t show the festival at its best. Couple of spaces were closed and a chance to see David Morris talk about his work promised, but not delivered.
On the bright side – I saw the latest work of Peter Dench [I LOVE PETER DENCH] and have a good old chat with the volunteers was pleasant too.
Peter Dench has taken on the BREXIT and it was like that comfort food on a rainy day.
Brian Griffin usual [from previous e exhibitions] black&white mixed with amazing colourful photographs that made me stop and look twice. Brilliant!
Both Open Exhibitions not really to my taste, but I celebrate the fact that local photographers are given the opportunity to showcase their work.
Last both not least – Buckingham Street monkey business mural that I absolutely love.
November promises to be just as manic as October, so I have serious concerns about spare time and culture wonders.
Summer is the busiest time of the year for me and I feel like in August I haven’t really engaged with culture in Hull. But then I forget that my photographers job is very cultural and Hull based, so actually I have been in a very centre of culture this month. YAAS QUEEN.
STUDIO ELEVEN is a small space with big potential always having high quality art displayed. Due to its opening times, I don’t often pop in, but this exhibition was worth making effort to come in. John Crreighton is witty and detailed prints draws my eye close in. Marie Lofthouse in contrast to that offers bold, clean shapes that to my culture-experienced eye [sorry, couldn’t resist] remind me of arms reaching up.
This art space/shop/workshop space is a beautiful celebration of Hull talent in art/crafts and general sustainability of local talented people. To my surprise, the space is loaded with a wide range of gifts, bits’ n’ bobs, framed artwork, postcards…plus it hosts many workshops across the year. Some are tempting to be part of, some interesting to view. I was welcomed with opened arms, the staff is super lovely and friendly.
Special shout out to Atom Beers. Your brews are delicious across the board.
DOMINOES HULL by Station House Opera was one of those where you really see the sense of the community. The city centre was packed with people, everyone keen to see the long waited fall of the dominoes. Laughs, smiles, cheers and all the good vibes.
I was kind of following the trail of dominoes, but looking at the promo video, I missed quite a bit.
Massive shout out to Absolutely Cultured volunteers. You are the most important element of most all the celebrations, you are hard workers and often feels like you are the glue that holds together the whole thing. Thank you.
Despite things looking rather hot[meaning busy] I want to share the culture love affair with Hull before the Humber Street Sesh 2018 madness starts tonight [EXCITED]
First – my friends Drunk Animal Creative Studio set up their Beach Stand in Queen Victoria Square for Hull University graduates to have a little feeling of summer and great photo opportunity. As I’ve seen it being built back in June, I was very proud to walk past it this time in Hull city centre and snap the goodness.
Hard to trace on the world wide web – amazing and talented textile designer Liz Knight was the residency artist at Queens House Showcase in July.
Delicate, sensitive, emotional and bright viewing experience “Seeds” run from the 21st – 20th July.
The space at Queens House Showcase run by Creative ENRG offers great opportunities to various artists display and showcase their work. The exhibition was one of my favourites seen there in the recent year and I felt great emotional bond with the works. Liz made the most of the space and created a landscape indoors [if that makes any sense].
Those rare and precious times I get my arse down Ground are my favourite. The gallery is unique and chilled out. At the time of my visit I saw an exhibition/community project by No Twaddle Theatre Company. HOME?
I will allow the images speak for themselves, as I don’t want to ruin the message.
And let me just mention how happy and proud I am to see Ground thriving and getting the recognition. Its an amazing space with great people running it. And the selection of zines available is just tempting to become a full time reader. Nice.
First – the cafe space at The Brain Jar is absolutely lovely. Both floors. And having had great coffee there upstairs, it was awesome to see the space used to showcase local artists and have a little art fair.
I am Latvian and for the first glimpse I gathered that Sessa Ceramics is not 100% British. There was a Northern feel to the ceramics. And I was right as Kjersti originally comes from Norway. Bang. Absolutely loved the ceramics and I hope to own some next time I see her.
Diane was super lovely and shared her story and techniques with me and my fellow culture lover and I thought that capturing Diane’s smile would be the perfect way to celebrate her talent and good heart.
Next one is something exciting, but I’ve not searched for current updates if the space is open to the public. I had a exclusive preview whilst the place was set up and I am looking forward to go back soon and see the changing walls and artist showcasing their talents.
As I missed Hull Pride in 2017, I was determined to photograph the most colourful event of the year in 2018. And I did. And I loved it.
Love, equality, acceptance, community spirit, peace, happiness and pride.
The Pride in Hull 2018 was so grand, that wrote a separate blog post to make sure I celebrate it fairly. Follow Anete Sooda Photo Pride in Hull 2018 for a full gallery. Thanks to everyone who said hello and gave me fantastic feedback.
Summer is always busy, but OH MIGHTY COW how summer of 2018 is turning out. I will be happy to be alive at the end of August, but I am hoping to be part of many culture wonders in August, so I can tell everyone how great I am and how awesome Hull is.
PRIDE IN HULL 2018 WAS SO GRAND AND AMAZING THAT IT DESERVES ITS OWN BLOG POST. INITIALLY I PLANNED TO INCLUDE PRIDE IN MY CULTURE REVIEW FOR JULY, BUT LOOKING AT THE SCALE OF THE EVENT – I NEED TO DO JUSTICE.
The feeling of love, unity, happiness, joy, equality, acceptance, celebration. And the colours. It is mad to think that decade ago this would be a forbidden parade. The Pride in Hull is far from in-your-face screaming for attention, it brings city and people together. And that is all we need.
It’s a bit an alien moment to type in the “MY CITY OF CULTURE…” as I feel like its been ages since I wrote about culture.
June was a month that barely existed in the means of culture engagement.
Half of it I worked my arse off and half of it I spent away in Latvia. There was very little time to get cultured. Plus, here we are again – late [3rd July]
There was two highlights, plus one that’s has no art culture, but still a social culture.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE is something very pleasant for the eye, but difficult at times to digest for the mind. Right – I don’t mind sarcasm, consumerism concerned slogans and taking the piss out of stupidity and our generation problems, but can we have something new for a change.
The displays are full of professional skill and technical abilities, beautiful light installations and textile masterpieces and clever use of space. But deep inside I wish there was art about dreams, aims, goals, unicorns and pink flamingos. I laugh at our century, our society is a bit of a mind fuck to understand, so can I have something that we all have hidden deep inside – hope that everything will be fine, hard work pays of kind of message, dream big-reach your goals kind of theme.
I seriously need some cheese in my life or a faith in humanity. So the experience of the exhibition is divided.
Just as the finishing touch for the June culture wonders. The street art/graffiti/mural culture that is peaking in recent year is really making me smile. I keep spotting cool wall art and noting down to take photos of those.
This one is located in Fruit Market area. I have few spotted down Holderness Road and Beverley Road which I need to visit this month.