An exciting new exhibition exploring portrait photography is coming to Bradford Industrial Museum. The exhibition will look at the relationship between the photographer, the viewer and the subject and how now, in the era of the mobile phone camera and the selfie, the photographer is often all three.
Using collections from Bradford Council’s Museums and Galleries photographic archive, this exhibition will study themes of identity and how different generations have used photography to represent themselves.
It will also look at portrait photography during the Victorian era, especially focusing on photographs taken of Bradford ‘worthies’. Using photographs of Bradford characters it will investigate aspects of ‘worthiness’ and traditional Victorian ideas around portraiture.
In advance of the exhibition, opening in December, curators are inviting members of the public to take part in two photography projects that could see their photos becoming part of the exhibition.
People are being invited to get their family or friends together to recreate a photograph which brings back happy memories. This could be a photo taken at a special event, like a wedding or birthday party, taken on a memorable holiday or day out or from their childhood. People are being invited to gather the same people together at the same location and try and recreate exactly the same photo.
They would also like people to take a selfie portraying ‘me and my Bradford’. This could include a favourite Bradford district place, landmark or bit of Bradford that means something special to them. This project is based on a display in the exhibition which features glass lantern slides of important figures in Bradford society in the late 1800s, who were considered to be worthies and how they portrayed themselves through photographs.
At the time these were nearly always men who were dignitaries, clergymen or businessmen. The curators of this new exhibition would like people to think about how people portray themselves in today’s society.
Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “Photographs tell a powerful story about people, their lives and the world at the time they were living in. The ‘Bradford Worthies’ images that we have in our collection tell the stories of the lives of these people living in Victorian Bradford. In preparation for this exhibition we want people to think about how people use selfies to portray their own lives in Bradford today.
“The other project we would like people to take part in is the recreation of a treasured photograph. We all have photographs that are special to us and hold such happy memories and we would love people to get involved in the project to recreate those special times.”
People can take part on social media using the hashtag #studio2selfie, search Bradford Museums on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
People can submit photos anytime until the exhibition finished in November 2019 but if they would like their photos to be included in the physical exhibition at Bradford Industrial Museum they would need to email them to email@example.com by 8 October 2018.
If you are recreating a photo please also include a copy of the original photo with the year that it was taken and the names of the people in the photograph along with a caption for the image. If are take part in the selfie project please include name(s) of those in the photo as well as details about how the photo represents the brief ‘me and my Bradford’.
The exhibition Studio to Selfie: An exploration of portrait photography opens on 1 December and runs until 10 November 2019.