Doubletake: The Photographic portraits of Keith Medley

Paul Grant, Mark Durden

    Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

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    This work results from a collaboration with Professor Mark Durden and the Liverpool John Moores University Archive, exploring the archive of Keith Medley, a film-maker and photographer who settled in Liverpool and ran a studio in New Brighton that was active for a considerable period over the 20th century. Medley had covered events in and around Liverpool over the greater second half of the 20th Century, and Liverpool John Moores University cultural collections now hold a great deal of material in the Aldham Roberts centre, and this is being explored, catalogued and 'unpacked' by the author. This particular event focuses on the portraiture that Medley amassed as part of his commercial life -pictures of people that hold a real resonance as documents that describe quite beautifully a cross section of a community through the buoyant 60s into the more challenging 1970s.The questions that preoccupied preliminary research centred around how the process was influenced by the economic necessities of studio production in the North West in the 1960s. The precise process deployed by the photographer was to a large degree unique at that moment –whilst the majority of commercial studios were using film by this time, Medley continued to use a complex process that impacted on both the ceremony of the photographic process but also the quality and structure of the glass plate rendition.The research process has included regular visits to the archive, with the support of Liverpool John Moore’s University. It has enabled the recording of audio interviews and meetings with studio workers still alive and family members who have a particular knowledge of the processes employed and circumstances visitors experienced. Wider research has been around the particular historical phase in which the work was made. A buoyant moment in social and cultural history on Merseyside –evident in music and the wider social scene (that can be evidenced through the styling and influences adopted by Medley’s sitters), it was clear that the work was produced to assist the mobility of local people through photography for passports –and this mobility is intriguing at a moment of greater engagement with Europe for vacation, alongside the more traditional notions of emigration and displacement familiar to the region over the preceding century.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 17 May 2013
    EventDoubletake - Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool / William Brown Street, Liverpool
    Duration: 17 May 201315 Sept 2013

    Bibliographical note

    Outputmediatype: Exhibition and Publication


    • Photographic portraiture
    • Liverpool
    • New Brighton
    • working class portraiture
    • travel
    • 1960s leisure and mobility
    • Northern England.


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