29 Nov 2010

102 photos: unique exhibition deserves national attention

A remarkable photographic exhibition has opened in Stroud and I still haven't got to it. I am hearing from many people about how powerful the exhibition is so will get to it this week!!

I first heard about it in the summer and even helped find a couple of the people to be photographed (see earlier post here) - the idea seems to have touched many people and already photographers from many other towns are interested in doing something similar while Stroud Museum is looking to have it there for a while next year.

So what is it all about? Well here is the press release:

The inspiration of local photography enthusiasts Caroline Denny and Pete Blythe, the exhibition features 102 portraits, taken in May and June this year, of people who live in the Stroud district. There is one photograph for every year of age from 0 to 102. Each portrait is displayed with the name and age of the subject and a few personal words by or on behalf of each person.

It truly is a snapshot of the Stroud community from birth, through childhood, middle age and the elderly. Stroud being the place it is there are some national celebrities featured but all the subjects have the same A3 sized portrait in order of age. Three of the people have died since their portraits were taken. Alison James, 46 years old who lost her battle with cancer, Stella Longhurst who was 77 and Ernie Matthews who was 95.

The project was open to everyone and hundreds of photographs were submitted. In this final selection the work of 49 different photographers is featured. Milly Blythe is the youngest at 11 who photographed her class mate Zuza. Alastair Hignell, the former BBC reporter and winner of the Helen Rollason award at the 2008 BBC Sports Personality of the year officially opens the exhibition and features at 54. His photograph was taken by Sylvain Guenot a local professional photographer. There are 57 women and 46 men featured.

This exhibition is more than a series of photographs because the words written by each person are often very poignant. The 17 year old ‘This was not my idea’; The well endowed lady with the shiny red shoes who is ‘Having a Dorothy moment’; the young lady in the wheelchair ‘I didn’t die’. The older people are equally inspiring ‘Keep right on to the end of the road’……………. ‘I eat spinach every day’……’I survived, to the memory of my friends’.

The exhibition runs until Dec 4th 2010 at The Subscription Rooms, Stroud and is open on Tuesdays 12noon-5pm, Wednesdays to Saturdays 10am -5pm. There is an evening opening Friday Dec 3rd till 9pm which coincides with Stroud Goodwill Evening. The exhibition is closed Wednesday Dec. 1st.

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