A review of “Manchester 89-92”, Photographic exhibition
by Richard Davis. The Bookroom, Lancaster.
Runs until sat 22nd august.
by wes martin
Have you been to the Bookroom lately?, well you’ll be pleased to hear that some of your favourite agitators, outcasts, misfits and general geniuses from the erstwhile ‘madchester’ scene are loitering therein.
Photographer Richard Davis now resides in Lancaster, bringing his considerable talents as visual inquisitor to rest upon the alternative arts scene of our fair City, this exhibition however, gives us a concise round-up of the incredible talent that flourished during the 89-92 period in Manchester, and serves to enlighten us on the work of Davis. The description goes thus –
A collection of Portraits – The Stone Roses, John Cooper Clarke, Dave Gorman, New Order, Caroline Aherne, Terry Christian, Frank Sidebottom, Happy Mondays, Inspirial Carpets, Kiss A.M.C., John Thomson, Jon Ronson, Lemn Sissay & John Hegley.
I for one was surprised to see the likes of Hegley, Ronson and Gorman here, man they look young and excited. Many of the portraits were taken before widespread acclaim and fame took hold. Richard explained the sheers ballsiness (?) of the procedure that one would go through to get these photos, usually meaning phone calls, and mates providing inroads to some of the more sought after faces. It kinda helps if Henry Normal is your mate I guess. This of course illustrates the point about Richard, he has a great sense for what is genuinely interesting and worthwhile, stuff that others may have missed or overlooked. Of course, this and taking endless reels of 35mm film.
These images provide a great archive of life at a specific moment in time and place up here in the North, a time that affected everything that I, for one, did during my teens and early twentys. Also, interestingly, the process used in creating and colourising these photos also provides a ‘pre-photoshop’ glimpse into the very recent past where a scalpel, coloured paper, a laser printer and a keen sense of design where the weapons of choice. Davis has created an important body of work here.
Presently Richard is photographing some of our local freaks, genius’, oddballs and agitators in preparation for a forthcoming exhibition. He also runs ‘Totally Wired’, cementing his commitment to local, undiscovered talent. Only time and the vagaries of fate will determine whether our local boys and girls will shine so brightly. One thing is for sure, Richard will be there, getting involved, getting in peoples faces, making sure we all get to know about it.