Months ago I had a feeling that this week will be the best week of the Hull City Of Culture 2017 photographic challenge and IT WAS F***** AMAZING.

With the sad notes on Tuesday I thought that there is not much that can lift the broken spirits, but it turns out that the unity, togetherness and community spirit will defeat the evil.


On Wednesday I went to the BBC Radio 1’s Academy  to see Bastille for a special Live Lounge.
My reasons for the excitement about BBC Radio 1 being in Hull is simple – that is my radio, my ear-family, my wake up call and I love all the DJ’s, they make me feel like home. Even when I am not in the UK.

Clara Amfo was hosting the Live Lounge and the Q&A with the band.

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I was actually really surprised that I was allowed my “professional gear” in both. Usually I would be told off, but this time it was rather lovely.  For the Q&A I was in the front row because I made good friends with few BBC members. Big “cheer” to BBC staff, security and organisers – really welcoming and helpful.

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And I am like “OMG I HAVE A PHOTOGRAPH OF BASTILLE, CLARA AMFO” and I have every right to be over the mooooooon.

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After the splendid time with Bastille I rushed to have a nosy at the actual Academy so I can milk it as much as my time allows.
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Plus I got to speak with to extremely talented photographers Thomas Arran and Shoot J Moore. These two guys I follow religiously on social media streams, they are an inspiration and honestly – motivation. Both have equally a lot of talent, still being different.
I apologise that I behaved like groupie – I think I am one. sorry.

Also a SHOUT OUT TO ALAN RAW – the father of BBC Introducing Humberside, creative director behind the HIP Gallery and other great stuff. He got a shout-out on Mr. Jam’s show the other week and I was really happy getting the broadcast UK wide.

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The new arrival in Hull  Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition down Princess Dock Street was an interest to me. Just cos the Wild Life Photographer of the Year exhibition in Beverly was so incredible, I thought this is right up that level.

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The content is fantastic, the display alright and I spotted a few favourites. The space was lacking “the interests” and at that time in the morning, people rushed to work, so I really had to be patient.
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This is not my usual content – politics. But this year I am going to use my vote. On Saturday I went down to Humber Street where an event organised by Anna Bean and the “crew” took place.  We Love Arts and Culture in Support of Labour #GE2017 was the title and because I am trying to understand which labour candidate I would like to vote for, the event was the perfect place for lazy.
I asked a  question of why so many artists choose to vote Labour and I was sold.
Here is some info if you are interested: Arts Policy Lounch from Jeremy Corbin

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People there supported Emma Hardy. And I can see why, her presence is very likable, she seems honest and she understands people and their needs. She was there to speak to people, hear them out. Unfortunately I can’t vote for her, but you can if you live in West Hull or Hessle.

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THE LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST – for some obvious reasons I had a quick look in to Kingston Art Group Gallery and got introduced with

WITCHE’S KNICKERS [slang/British] plastic bags snagged in trees and bushes – an exhibition that contains paintings and clothes.
Really liked the paintings and absolutely loved the clothes.
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The festival photos will be on the blog within the next week – I shot three rolls of 35 mm film. Really excited to see what will come out.


Like every other week in 2017 – I had to get some culture into my system.

Sure, life takes over, work gets piled up and some reflections from last week about the impact of Hull City Of Culture 2017 were things that effected my involvement…

The week consisted of two main missions – re visit Skin: Freud, Mueck and Tunick exhibition with friends/family cos I thought not seeing Mueck at the Ferens Art Gallery is rude.

Off course no photographs allowed, so …..

Also we went down the HIP Gallery to have a fresh view of the newest exhibition – The Ragman’s Son

“George Norris is “The Ragman’s Son”. He grow up in the Hessle Road area of Hull trolling the streets and 10 foots with his horse and cart collecting scrap metal. Let George share with you his life, his family and memories caught on camera. The exhibition will be Curated by HIP Gallery’s own Alan Raw, who has a particular interest in George’s work as he is himself the great grandson of a West Hull scrap merchant and a Norris family customer.”

NOTE: According to some unofficial sources, Alan Raw did not get any financial help from Hull City Of Culture 2017 so he took the initiative and organised this himself. So this exhibition can’t be found on the Hull City Of Culture 2017 website and isn’t part of the event list.
I find it bit sad and controversial – as this is supposed to be the celebration of Hull and what can be more Hull that The Ragman’s Son.
Really good image content and lovely to see the rawness of the subject.

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7 Alleys  was something that I wanted to see through the lens – I knew the potential image content could blew the socks off so on Saturday, after a very long day, I dressed warm and headed to East Park.

I was greeted [not really] by a grumpy security officer who told me that unless I am from press, I can’t take photos. BECAUSE IN THE DARK WE USE FLASH.

Only the small-minded in photography can’t get their heads around ISO and the upcoming light will require zero flash light. BAM!!!

It was quite interesting to be part of something that is a bit of a secret until you experience it. People really mad for it in a good way, so there was a lot of pushing, running, squeezing and apologising. But I got there, I took some amazing photos and fully experienced the light/sound/firework/human magic.

It was very tiring and physical work, really difficult to deal with crowds whilst focusing on the perfect image. But heey – who said it is easy.

Here is a full-ish gallery of the amazing stunts, lights, fireworks and action. It is never the same through the lens, but this will be a good reminder of what went on.

There was a lot of WOW – moments, so I hope that The Land Of Green Ginger will have something along those lines soon…

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Week 11 of my challenge being involved in Hull City Of Culture 2017 started off with a little panic – the work load glued me to the computer screen during the days, so how can I go out and be part of the celebration??
Also, the sudden reminder that The Blade is moving on Sunday, made me realise that the unfinished Slinkachu project must be executed this week.

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I finished off the set, little worried of how I am going to get two fragile sets in town.

My aim was to photograph these sets of Slinkachu and Hull City Of Culture 2017 [home-made] flags near The Blade. I’ll explain my reasons later in the post.


On Thursday however, I had a meeting in town so to be efficient, I decided that I finally want to visit HIP Gallery in Princess Quay and Hullywood Icons exhibition. There has been a lot of excitement about the exhibition, so I had to see the execution of photographs by Quentin Budworth .

Also, I got Oliver Fisher [very wise man and my accountant/marketing adviser] cultured.

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I have mixed feelings about the exhibition. First, the idea is really good, I like that local “celebs” and “known” people are involved and have been turned into these fantastic characters. The project is about Hull, about the world around us.

But then, I am slightly disappointed about the photographic and editing quality. Photographs are lacking professional quality and post-production on few are quite dreadful [like the one above]. I understand that everything is about the content and we celebrate…but everything from the idea to the end result should be 100% quality.
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Why on earth would you edit this together, if it is a lot more easier to do in real life. It is funny and a bit sad at the same time.

The other problem I had was the information about how the final photographs come together.
Instead if Quentin coming up with the idea of the movie, theme, characters and location/props, he asks to do all this to the people wanting to be part of the project and he just turns up with the camera.

The hype around the artist made me think that the whole thing is set up by the artist, I guess I just have to read in between the lines next time…

Overall, 6 out of 10. Great to see people involved and the ideas in each photograph.

Whilst in the gallery, I had a quick chat with the Creative and Cultural Company volunteers about the upcoming events, exhibitions [need to be informed at all times].

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On our way to the exhibition I approached a familiar face of a Hull City Of Culture 2017 volunteer to make sure I know the exact date/time of The Blade leaving Queen Victoria Square.

It was lovely that she remembered me from another event I went to few weeks ago. When I asked if she could spare a smile, she was more than happy to have her picture taken.
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The same Thursday morning I walked down the  Whitefriargate and Preston Likely’s Amuse Agents – Hull’s Premier Inconvenience Store

I was there on the WEEK 1  of my challenge, but I wanted to have a second look during the day.
Sometimes exhibitions and other art events have to be seen twice to have a complete understanding.

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People still stop by and have a sneaky look. Maybe because some of the posters/photos/adverts are hard to believe or are too bizarre to be true.

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The installation is very much Hull and it feels comforting in a strange way. Sense of unity and a whole…

I don’t really walk through Whitefriargate that often, the shop windows have changed. Years ago it was busy shopping area, but now it is kind of dead.

There a lot of promises given, by the looks of it, so hopefully the area will get its charm back soon.

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There is more…as I was passing the Queen Victoria Square multiple times, I was lucky to see the Roots&Routes season POPPIES: WEEPING WINDOW installation being set up.

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I was trying to get the Hull Maritime Museum in the frame, I climbed on top of the men’s loos, near the monument just opposite the building. Being there for two minutes gives me an opportunity to watch people from above and ohh, there was a few characters.

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This guy was completely from 90’s with his sunglasses/glasses – the ones that you can flop. haha.


On Saturday I neatly packed my Slinkachu sets and headed in town.

I draw a lot of attention from the public and volunteers, as they wanted to know what is going on.

One of them kindly tried to help me with the execution.


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Sadly there was problems.
The first one was the equipment – 24-70 mm 2.8 and 85 mm 1.8 did not cope with the small set.
My phone camera [Huawei Leica] did a much better job.
I will have to get my hands on a macro lens to be able to photograph this properly. In the past I have tried Slinkachu technique, but with much bigger figures, so I was kind of expecting the failure, but hoped that I will find a compromise.

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The reason why I wanted to create this is to express how I feel around The Blade – I feel small and being put on a scale. The Blade is fascinating piece of structure [art now] and no one can pass it without feeling something.

I also struggled to position the set, so that it looks like real life [the whole idea behind Slinkachu], I was even on my knees in the square.

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The plan did not work, but I have kept the sets and will find a way how to make this work.
I also have another set for a attraction point in Hull, so keep your eyes out for that.




On Sunday I walked down to Humber Street Market. My purpose was to photograph a lovely family business BLOSSOM’S BAKERY stall and try their gluten free, vegan cakes and other sweet things.

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Such a lovely lady/family, everything made with love and I wish them the best luck in succeeding.

Off course, I spent a bit more time and money in the market.
But I have to say, that Hull now has a regular socialising place and if you are super bored at home, you have an opportunity to get out and do something.

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Last but not least, I visited the Female Gaze exhibition at the Kingston Art Group Gallery and spent QUALITY TIME with Anna Bean.
She got me and Melanie THE KID cultured, along with other artists featured in the exhibition. We chatted about the meaning of female gaze, about narcissism and how complicated art can be.

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As you can see I have been here, there and everywhere, bringing you the most random combination of Hull City Of Culture 2017 so far.

Until writing the finishing lines to this post, I did not realise how much I’ve managed to pack in this week.

I will see you next week with more exciting stuff.


Anete Sooda


Yesterday I attended Pinhole Camera Workshop in the HIP Gallery, as part of International Photography Festival.
It was run by Wayne Wolton, local photographer and film enthusiast, also creator of Elephant Camera.

Workshop was really good in many ways. I loved the fact that we went straight into basics of how photographs are made and one essential ingredient – light. Loved how new generation [kids from HIP Junior Club] took part and they know so much about photography…Plus I made my own pinhole camera [see the gallery] and succeeded at least one image[coming soon]. Some results where amazing, images came out original, special and unperfect. I am sure that you’ll be able to see results in one of the Galleries later on in the festival.