The North and Wind of Change at White Cloth Gallery

Kieran at White Cloth Gallery
Kieran at White Cloth Gallery

Kieran reviews his first ever visit to a gallery to see The North & Wind of Change at White Cloth, An exhibition by photographer John Bulmer

I am currently studying for my Bronze Arts Award at Lifeforce Productions, and youth arts organisation in Leeds. As part of the Award I have been asked to share my feedback on an art exhibition. We have been looking at the work of different street photographers and been out to take our own photographs. Walking round the streets in Chapeltown we found loads of interesting and unexpected shots to take. We have also been learning how to edit and change our own images in Photoshop.

We went to visit the exhibition ‘The North and Wind of change’ by John Bulmer at the White Cloth Gallery. This is a small photography gallery just near the back of the train station in the centre of Leeds.

The whole exhibition told lots of different stories. The first room showed images from around the world whereas the second room showed images from Bulmer’s book ‘The North’. They all linked together by one theme. Most of the images were in black and white and showed a dark side to the North in the 1960’s. Looking at these pictures you can really see how tough life was for ordinary working class people in the 1960s although they might have looked a bit brighter if they had been taken on a sunny day or if he had chosen to take them in colour.

My favourite photograph in the second room was ‘Black Country 003’ showing a woman wearing all black walking through a graveyard with what looked like a stray cat by her feet. She looked sad and possibly crying as if she had been visiting someone’s grave or had just attended a funeral. The scene, however still managed to look peaceful. The image reminded me of old school horror films or a music video by the band ‘Cradle of Filth’. It made me think about where inspiration might come from when bands are making music videos.

In the first room showing images from around the world it was interesting to see lots of colour photographs. I had read before visiting the exhibition that Bulmer was one of the first photographers to use colour film. It made the images seem less bleak. There was one image titled ‘France 001, Nr tours’ that showed fields of grass and wheat. From far away it looked like a blanket but up close you could see tractors, hay bails and villages. It was good to see the images larger in the gallery than in the book and to notice the differences between seeing them from far away and close up.

This was my first visit to a gallery exhibition. I really enjoyed finding stories within the photographs, however I felt the layout of the exhibition was fairly boring. It would have been nice to see more variety in the size of the photographs. Some of them would have worked well larger so you could see more detail and feel as if you could step into the scene. I look forward to visiting more exhibitions around Leeds.