People and places, destruction and development, as seen by a pioneer of British colour documentary
Impressions Gallery presents the first ever survey exhibition of work by Peter Mitchell. Peter Mitchell was an early pioneer of colour documentary photography in the UK and has made an immeasurable impact on contemporary photographic culture.
The exhibition follows hot on the heels of Mitchell’s triumphant showing this summer at the prestigious Arles photography festival in the south of France, where his major series A New Refutation of the Viking 4 Space Mission, originally shown at Impressions Gallery in 1979, has been reconstructed in full.
Peter Mitchell has been quietly making photographs for over 40 years. He occupies an essential, yet too often peripheral, place in the early British colour documentary scene of the 1970s and 80s. This major survey will revisit work spanning Mitchell’s career, focussing on the part of the world he chose to concentrate his ever-curious photographic eye, Yorkshire.
The exhibition includes images never before shown publicly, many of which are recent photographs from Leeds, the city where Mitchell has lived and worked since 1972 and with which he has become synonymous. The exhibition also includes Mitchell’s rural landscapes, evoking nostalgia and offering a glimpse into life in the North of England.
Taken as a whole, the exhibition sheds light on the overlooked career of a pivotal photographer. With a watchful attentiveness to the world around him, Peter Mitchell has captured people and places, demolition and development over the past four decades. Planet Yorkshire will explore the breadth of Mitchell’s photographic practice to reveal an unexpected, contemporary and lightly spiritual side to his work.
Work featured in the exhibition includes:
The Derwent, a groundbreaking commission by Impressions Gallery in 1980, in which Mitchell explored the landscape and way of life along the Derwent River in Yorkshire.
In The Hydro, Harrogate Mitchell continued to demonstrate his interest in changing cityscapes by documenting the building of a then-elaborate aquatics complex constructed in the late 1990s.
Planet Yorkshire is co-curated by Kerry Harker and Anne McNeill
Peter Mitchell (born 1943, Manchester) lives and works in Leeds. Originally trained as a draughtsman in the Ministry of Housing and Local Government in Whitehall, Mitchell left for Hornsey College of Art in London before moving to Leeds in 1972 where he set up as a fine art silkscreen printmaker. Working there as a truck driver for Sunco, he began photographing the city on his rounds, capturing images of the factories and small shop owners, formally arranged and seen from a high vantage point atop a stepladder.
His first solo exhibition was An Impression of the Yorkshire City of Leeds at the Education Gallery, Leeds City Art Gallery, in 1975. But it was his first solo exhibition in a photography gallery, the landmark A New Refutation of the Viking 4 Space Mission, at Impressions Gallery in 1979, which pioneered colour documentary photography in the UK and which had an immeasurable impact on contemporary photographic culture. www.strangelyfamiliar.co.uk
Our visitors say...
“Peter Mitchell’s thoughtful gaze provides an opportunity to see the recent past with a fresh perspective, brilliantly observed.”
“Wonderful! Authenticity, integrity. Melancholy and wit. So glad I made the pilgrimage to see Peter Mitchell’s exhibition.”
“It’s a wonderful show full of life, humour, warmth and in finality, death. It has it all.”