DCSIMG

Shedding light on unseen Sunderland

Photographer Andy Martin, right, with Dave Harper from Frankie and the Heartstrings hanging prints for his exhibition Tins of Town This is Sunderland in the band's Pop Recs shop on Fawcett Street.

Photographer Andy Martin, right, with Dave Harper from Frankie and the Heartstrings hanging prints for his exhibition Tins of Town This is Sunderland in the band's Pop Recs shop on Fawcett Street.

AN exhibition is shedding a new light on Wearside.

This is Sunderland, by Grangetown photographer Andy Martin, focuses on familiar places in the city at a time when they are not normally seen by the public.

On display at Pop Recs Ltd in Fawcett Street, the photos, which were taken in the middle of the night, highlight places including the Victoria Hall Disaster Memorial in Mowbray Park and Doxford shipyard.

They are shown alongside a second exhibition by Andy, Tins of Town, which uses Victorian wet plate photography techniques to create eerie portraits of Wearside faces.

Though Tins of Town featured in recent photography exhibition The Social, this is the first time the This is Sunderland images have gone on display on this scale.

Andy said: “Lots of people go out and photograph Penshaw Monument but I wanted to shed a light on places people don’t normally look at.

“I was often out at two or three in the morning to take the photos and they have exposures of two to three hours.”

Andy says the exhibition space at Pop Recs, which is also a record shop, gig venue and coffee shop, is a great way to highlight the work of local artists.

He added: “It’s fantastic because it’s so accessible.

“A lot of people can be put off by art galleries because they find them pretentious, but at Pop Recs you can just walk in off Fawcett Street. And there’s so much more happening in there too. It’s a great thing for Sunderland.”

Dave Harper from Frankie & the Heartstrings, the band that set up Pop Recs Ltd, said he hopes it will encourage even more people to use the community venue.

The drummer said: “I don’t think people realise there are these free things to do in the city or that there are so many talented people in the city.

“Galleries can often be invite-only and off-putting but anyone can look at the work we have up here.

“The only snobbery about it is that we’re proud of what we do.”

He added: “I think Andy is a really talented guy, he takes classic subject matter but looks at it in a different way.

“Lots of people have been talking about the tin types, it’s an art form that exposes things on people’s faces you don’t normally see.

“I had a portrait done and it’s strange because when you look at it you know it’s you, but it picks up things other cameras don’t. It’s the most naked you’ll ever be.”

The band opened multi-purpose venue Pop Recs Ltd in June in a bid to establish a creative hub in the city centre.

As well as hosting art displays, the shop has also hosted free gigs from the likes of Tim Burgess and Edwyn Collins.

Dave said: “It’s hard and we still need the support of the people of Sunderland more than ever.

“We’ve got another five months on the lease but it’s the hardest thing we’ve ever done. Any money we’ve made with the band has gone into this.”

 

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