End of an era or what?
The past few months my life has been a shit show, but there has been so many great photo moments that I am excited to shout about it on the last day of 2019.
Yes, 2019 I really want to slap you, but despite all the things that went bad, I had amazing work and culture opportunities, another bunch of great people in my life and rememberable image stock.
October brought HIP PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL and this year the festival did shine a bit more than last year. The festival celebrated its 6th year and brought to Hull Peter Dench, Rhiannon Adam, Claire Armitage and Lomography. There was also a vast selection of local talent on display.
My favourite of course was Peter Dench with Trans-Siberian World Cup series. I also very much loved the Rhiannon Adam’s Pitcairn series shot in Britain’s last Pacific Overseas Territory. Photographs are stunning, even breath taking I dare to say. Her photographs with voyeuristic edge and true moments of intimacy masquerading as casual snapshots, but holds loneliness, isolation and portrayal of a broken society shrouded in mistrust.
Peter Dench never disappoints. Never. This time he tackled a culture that is quite familiar to myself as me being from post Soviet Union country. I thoroughly loved the photographs.
As one of the unexpected surprises was the exhibition COHERE.
The exhibition was a collection resulted from various workshops where photographers worked with writers and performers from refugee backgrounds to create an exhibition that creates, challenges, disrupts and charms. The result is pretty amazing. Films, visual installations and photographic works of art that gives an experience that in a strange way tailors to your won life experience. It worked for me on different levels – I admired the visual with textures, playful colours with disrupted lines, the touch-and-feel experience. On the emotional level I felt inspired and touched by the imagery. The exhibition COHERE was on the top as one of the favourites.
The festival offered plenty of work that meets the demand for different subjects.
There were others that I really liked – The Launderette one on the ground floor of the Princess Quay, Homer Sykes and others. It was a great festival and I am glad I made the effort to make it part of my culture wonders.
For the first time in long time I also had the joy of re-visiting old places through the viewfinder. It sounds simple, but for me that sparkle was long gone, so to be in the mood for such was a great feeling. The long waited pedestrian bridge played a small roll in that too.
Whilst wondering around Marina I popped down to Humber Street Gallery to see the exhibitions on display. Nenna Kalu Wrapping and Aniara Omann Equanipolis.
Nenna Kalu Wrapping [above] raised my eyebrows even though the the basis or the work are great. Nenna Kalu works with ActionSpace, a London based visual arts organisation that supports artists with learning disabilities. In the current exhibition she used various materials like plastic tubing, newspapers, foam, fabric ect.
The work is very tricky to judge appropriately in such exhibition space, as usually we get some high end art.
The other two floors were Aniara Omann and Equanipolis. The artist evokes and questions different aspects of the human body with sculptures that at once resemble and mutate the human form, as well as our relation to ecology through her choice of material.
From summer until end of October there was a little Hull Fishing Industries treasure display at Hull Maritime Museum. The heritage and tradition of women working in the fishing community was celebrated through imagery. In this exhibition, award-winning photographer, Craig Easton, well known for his landscape work and intimate portraits of real lives, explores the past and present. It will bring together the three strands of the fisherwomen’s story: their heritage, their journey and contemporary portraits, including exciting new commissions of Hull’s own fisherwomen.
Fisherwomen celebrates the tradition and importance of women in the fishing industry by following the traditional route of the herring trade from Shetland down the east coast, via Hull to Great Yarmouth.
The exhibition highlighted the central role of women in the fishing industry today, even though their work is now almost entirely done behind closed doors in processing factories, sheds and smokehouses.
The sad thing was that I missed the exhibition and just saw the “remains” that are on display currently.
On a sunny weekday I strolled into city centre for business, and was a pleasure to see Hull lit by sunlight. Autumn can be dull, and it is dull mostly, so I was lucky to have camera on me to record the rare scenes for that time of the year.
“Michelangelo – A Different View” at Hull Minster was the thing that everyone raved about, and I had to see the Sistine Chapel’s iconic scenes with my own eyes.
The first thing that caught my eyes was the odd phones and the quite an elderly generation. The combination reminded me of a tourist group from Germany and that made me chuckle.
The exhibition was quite a piece – the atmosphere in Minster definitely was the correct recipe for a success.
I found myself in a bizarre situation – instead of grasping for breath after being stunned by Michelangelo, I was amused by other people and their reactions.
I mean, yes, it was quite alright, but I guess I’m not the “type”. As long as it created an excitement and buzz amongst people, I am happy to approve.
What I approve and celebrate myself, is the little things and the little snaps of people in the right place and the right time for a great photograph. Hull Minster is a treasure in its own right and to see any kind of exhibition hosted there is a privilege.
In 2017 I created few images to acknowledge Whitefrigate’s empty shops and how the shop windows were used as canvas for marketing or art. I decided to revisit this in 2019 – and see the change. Baring in mind all the regeneration plans, it was a curiosity more than need for culture images.
November brought another good festival – Hull Comedy Festival 2019. 2019 was another year where the work commitments and health issues made me unavailable for 90% of the festival, but it was a great, great feeling to fill the old boots for 10%.
I happened to see a gig that was hosted by Jed Salisnbury at Princess Quay, and although on a small scale, it was filled with laughter and good humor.
Ross Brierley with Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left Of Them?
I have known Ross as a comedian from the early days, I have had then pleasure to shoot NOT SO LATE NIGHT SHOW WITH ROSS AND JOSH and I have had belly cramps from laughter from previous festivals. Ross still holds the same amount of charm, fun and entertainment.
Stevie Gray: Arctic Monkeys’ Midlife Crisis
Stevie Gray was a “fresh” act on my list and OH MY. He was totally hilarious. He did good and even better – when he’s guitar lost a string he cracked on as normal and made his repertoire even funnier without music.
End of November and beginning of the December was that time of year when I started to come out of my hiding spots. I had to face the fact that Christmas is coming and there will be no hiding from happy. I had plenty of work upcoming that was festive and so I had to embrace it.
One of the proud moments was the tough decision to grab a tripod and travel to Hull City Centre for the Christmas decorations and tree.
Funny though that I picked the windiest night of all times and all the efforts to have steady images on slow shutter went in a bin.
I don’t think that it is visible with a naked eye, so MISSION COMPLETE.
The main spectacular was lacking wow factor. Yes.
Another interesting work opportunity was through The Herd Theatre Company in Barnsley – Slime. It was more of a work opportunity than culture haul, but it was inspiring, sweet and full of culture.
It was a great honour to be asked to capture the pre show promo’s and I had a great time.
2019 was the year where I had to make an extra effort to gather images for the blog. But those moments when I was out with camera, proved that there will never be enough of Hull for me. The city remains vibrant and full of solid gold people and places.
The last job of the year was probably my highlight of the festive period. Good Things Market Winter Edition at Fruit Market.
It was everything Hull could want just before Christmas. A collection of talented local artists, craftmakers and genius in on place – offering great food, stunning gifts and Hull merchandise.
Whilst there I also had an exclusive insight into behind the scenes for the Enchanted Wonderland created by Bluebeany aka Anna Bean. The show featuring performances by Ruth Getz, Zoe Hughes, Michelle Dee, Caroline Ullyart and Joshua Barton. Described as.. “if the Mighty Boosh made a Panto”
Anna is just amazing! Her talent, her personality and the drive to succeed is inspiring. I am lucky to have been thought by Anna and work with her.
Her shows are becoming iconic to the city and could be something that Hull is known for widely across the country.
Her stamp is all over.
The last but not least was the casual walks around the Humber Street that cheered me up. Little festive preparations, decorations and Hull sense of humor are things that help people to get into festive spirit, including myself.
This blog post is a bit of a cheat – it was supposed to see the daylight on the last day of the year, but family circumstances and other factors caused days delay. We can just pretend that we waved goodbye to 2019 yesterday and are looking forward to a bright and shiny new decade.
My year has been a struggle in personal life and so I am thankful for what I still have, of what I managed to achieve and how many people stud by my side when I needed support.
2020 will be a new era for my work and business, I want to expand, change and evolve. I want to once again feel in control of my own life, decisions and career.
This time of year has brought sadness to my family. My grandfather past away on the 30th December and I had to suck up the reality and commit to write the last blog post of 2019 whilst in Latvia. Despite the loss, we as a family are staying grateful and thankful. To be able to take away gratitude from this darkness is a gift. My grandad was a strong character and living to the age of ninety is not a surprise. He was tough. strong, honest and humble. To even think that I could make it to that age with my head held up high like he did…
For the future of this culture blog I will continue to explore and celebrate culture scene in the city, as we still have another year before Coventry officially takes away the glory.
Happy New Year, monkeys.