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Yorkshire’s hidden history brought to life

  • Date: 17 June 2011
  • Area: North
man standing in woods

Revolutionary thinker Thomas Paine. Credit: Image courtesy of Impressions Gallery

As part of Ways of Looking, a major new photography festival taking place in Bradford in October 2011, Arts Council England regularly funded organisations Impressions Gallery and The Culture Company have commissioned two new works inspired by real events in Yorkshire.

Hidden is an ongoing series of photographic tableaux by internationally acclaimed photographer and Rock Against Racism founder Red Saunders. Each photograph recreates a scene from the struggle for equality and democracy in Britain, presenting the 'hidden histories' of ordinary people who were driven to create better lives for their fellow citizens.

The image is painstakingly restaged with models, actors, and props on location. Individual images are then digitally stitched together to create an epic photograph that can be printed up to six metres long.

Two works inspired by Yorkshire's history will be created for Ways of Looking. The first is set in the Civil War period and will focus on an early example of women's equality and activism, recreating a dusk campsite scene where a Quaker woman addresses a large crowd of seated soldiers, Levellers and dissenters. The second, inspired by the nationwide agricultural Swing Riots of 1830, will be a dramatic night scene where masked men emerge from river rushes ready to take action.

These two new photographs will be exhibited alongside others featuring Wat Tyler and the Peasants Revolt; William Cuffay and the Chartists; Thomas Paine; Mary Wollstonecraft; and John Ball, the Hedgerow Preacher, some of which have already been on display to great acclaim at the Museum of London.

Click below to view videos documenting the latest shoots in the Hidden series.

John Ball the Hedgerow Priest
The Peasant's Revolt 1381
Mary Wollstonecraft, advocate of womens' rights

Impressions Gallery is looking for individuals and organisations who can help contribute to this unique event. For example by offering costumes, equipment, venues, acting/modelling skills or just help on the day of the shoot.

You can keep up to date with the project by following Impressions Gallery on Twitter and Facebook

Ways of Looking is an Impressions Gallery and The Culture Company project in partnership with the National Media Museum, Gallery 11 Bradford University, Bradford Museum & Galleries, Bradford Grid, Fabric, Leeds Metropolitan University Gallery and Studio Theatre. It has been supported through Grants for the arts.