When I was growing up and it was summertime New Brighton was the day out you could realistically ask for. Right there across the water and reachable in those days by ferry, it couldn’t involve the preparations or paraphernalia that could often be used to torpedo the very idea of a day out in even Southport, never mind the holy grail of Blackpool. So I loved New Brighton then and love it now, possibly more so. The ferry’s long gone and the place has had its downs as well as ups. But it’s still right there across the water, ready and waiting for my day out with the Open Eye Gallery today.
Now obviously I’m well capable of getting myself to New Brighton all on my own. I’m big now and don’t have to wait and plead for anyone to take me there anymore. But after a busy day in George Henry Lee yesterday I was glad to wake up this morning and remember that someone else was taking care of arrangements today, and that all I had to do was turn up late in the morning at the Open Eye and they’d look after me from then on.
So walking over to James Street station, through a company of departing hen nighters, the small group of us set off for New Brighton.
We’re here for New Brighton Revisited:
A group show bringing together for the first time the New Brighton pictures of internationally renowned British photographers Martin Parr, Ken Grant and Tom Wood. Showing in the town from which the pictures stemmed, this innovative exhibition records 3 decades of New Brighton through the eyes of the 3 photographers as they lived and worked in the town.
Open Wednesday to Sunday.
We’re met and shown round by Tracey Neville the curator of the exhibition. It’s being held in The Sailing School on the waterfront here, a venue not previously used for exhibitions. But which turns out to be excellent, with good light and big windows so New Brighton is fully featured inside and outside of the exhibition.
It’s one room per photographer with one of them, Ken Grant, joining us part of the way round to talk about his own work.
And I’m not going to talk you round the photographs other than to observe how good it felt to walk around such a beautifully selected and displayed collection of observations and celebrations of us lot, the working people of Northern England and probably Wales on our days out.
Well worth coming and seeing it all for yourself in fact. Especially with New Brighton right there to be walked around when you’re done.
Chips were had and cups of tea. It was a proper day out.
Big thanks to Declan from Open Eye for bringing us and making sure none of us got lost. To Tracey and Ken for adding to our appreciation of all the photographs. And to my fellow explorers for the pleasure of your company. I had a lovely time.
‘New Brighton Revisited’ is on at The Sailing School, Marine Point until 25th August. Open Wednesday to Sunday.