As she prepares to open her no filter exhibition in Liverpool, photographer Laura McCann says 'it's enough to be yourself'

Andy Kerr

Andy Kerr - Credit: Laura McCann

What you see is what you get at a new exhibition by Liverpool photographer Laura McCann. The subjects are all performers of some kind – from actors and musicians to a choir leader, a pole dancer and a politician – but all the portraits are unedited and unfiltered. 

Laura said: ‘I’d been thinking about this idea for a while but during the first lockdown I noticed an increase of heavily edited selfies on social media and decided to forge ahead with a full exhibition. 

‘The premise is candid photos of performers, not performing, unfiltered, as they appear in real life. No flash, no set ups, just them in an environment they’re comfortable in, with me, my camera and no photoshopping. 

‘I don’t want to start a war on selfies or filters, but I do feel very strongly that in a world where we are being bombarded by “perfect” images, it’s no wonder so many of us feel insecure. All I want to show that it’s okay to just be yourself, we are all enough.’ 
Among the subjects is Liverpool musician Rob Mather, pictured here, who Laura shot at home in a break from rehearsals.    

The exhibition will run from noon-6pm daily from November 5-11 at The Arts Bar on Hope Street in Liverpool.

Andy Kerr

Andy Kerr - Credit: Laura McCann

‘Andy Kerr is a theatre actor and director in Liverpool who, in his own words, “likes to drag up”. This photo was the one that pushed me to do this exhibition. Taken in March 2020, it was the last shoot I did before lockdown.’ 

Holly Blue

Holly Blue - Credit: Laura McCann

‘Holly Blue is an actor and performance artist based in Prescot whose speciality is fire breathing. Holly takes part in various circus acts and regularly works with the Imaginarium theatre group who do outside performances around Liverpool every summer.’ 

Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore - Credit: Laura McCann

‘Stephen Moore is a podcaster based in the centre of Liverpool and while he’s usually very smiley, I caught this shot and I thought it was an unusual perspective and one he himself said he hadn’t seen before but was happy to show. Stephen lost his mum at the start of Covid and it was well publicised and made local BBC TV News because she worked at a hospital in Liverpool, I felt that experience had really changed him, so I wanted to somehow show a more contemplative side of him we don’t often see.’   

Crissy Lopez

Crissy Lopez - Credit: Laura McCann

‘Crissy Lopez is a pole artist who teaches at The Brass Monkeys studio and competes at national dance meets. She’s just turned 40 and could put most dancers in their 20s to shame. Crissy lost her dad to Covid at the start of 2021 and I was touched that she said taking part in this project was something that really helped her through a difficult time. She was very moved when I showed her the photos because she said they captured the real her and that was something most people shooting pole don’t want, they prefer the fantasy version.’ 

Connor Burns

Connor Burns - Credit: Laura McCann

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‘Connor Burns is a Prescot based theatre who heralds originally from Northern Ireland. He’s performed in theatres around the North West and beyond and is in “The Esteemed Dr Barry”, part of the Liverpool Irish Festival, on October 28-29.’  

Carl Cashmann

Carl Cashmann - Credit: Laura McCann

‘Carl Cashman is the leader of the Lib Dems for Prescot North. I thoroughly recommend having a look at his Instagram page, it’s not your average politician’s content. While I don’t want to align with any political party I can honestly say that having spoken to him he does absolutely believe in his work.’ 

Rob Mather

Rob Mather - Credit: Laura McCann

‘Rob Mather is a Liverpool musician, although he’d call himself a singer because he’s far too humble about his other musical talents. We have known each other a while and I shot him at home while he was rehearsing. I knew he’d always wanted to do a bath shoot, so at the end of the day when he mentioned it, I told him to run the bath. It might look set up but it was actually the most natural thing in the world.’ 

David Kernick

David Kernick - Credit: Laura McCann

‘David Kernick is the leader of the choir in Prescot’s parish church. He also leads their nightly online compline and plays a huge role in parish life. I’m not religious and I don’t wish to promote any one religion via this project but what I can say is that David is one of the funniest and most caring people I know. When I took this photo, he was telling me about his mum’s death in 2019 and how he’s grateful she didn’t have to live through Covid as she had dementia it would have confused and upset her. I wasn’t sure whether to take this photo or not but we agreed that grief is often edited from life and it’s not something anyone should be ashamed of.’