Derby City Photographic Club exhibition celebrates 40 years of city status

Paul O'Flanagan - Derby in the Abstract

Paul O'Flanagan - Derby in the Abstract - Credit: Various photographers

In June 1977 Derby was officially granted city status. To commemorate its 40th anniversary members of Derby City Photographic Club took to the streets to record life in the city today.

Sue Swain - St Mary's RC Church

Sue Swain - St Mary's RC Church - Credit: Various photographers

To celebrate Derby’s 40 years as a city, members of Derby City Photographic Club have spent the last few months depicting Derby’s renaissance as a centre of commerce, culture, heritage and education, and generally as a vibrant place to live, work and play.

The work of 23 members is currently on display on the ground floor of Déda on Chapel Street in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter. Combining 40 framed pictures with a rolling visual presentation on a giant TV screen, the exhibition showcases Derby’s world-renowned industry, including Rolls-Royce, Bombardier and Royal Crown Derby, its academic and religious institutions – the University of Derby and Derby Cathedral – its streets and buildings, the River Derwent corridor and its art, sport and recreation. Derby’s World Heritage Site mills are featured, as are its festivals – Derby Festé, Mela, Caribbean Carnival and the Darley Park Concert.

There are many outstanding images in this exhibition, such as: David White’s montage of Rolls-Royce’s RB211 engine which made the company a global leader in the aero-engine industry; Ashley Franklin’s dramatic record of the firework display that closes the annual Darley Park Concert; Sue Swain’s colourfully lit photograph of the walkway to St Mary’s Church at night; Roger Fountain’s ultra-wide angle lens shot of Derby County’s Pride Park stadium with Derby Arena; Sarah Middleton’s action images of ACE Dance and Music group in a performance at Déda; Gill and Peter Dishart’s record of the craftsmanship of the Derby Cathedral Embroidery Workshop; Martin Vaughan’s assembled montages of the Cathedral’s choir and interior; and Tony Barker and Frank Reeder’s views of the assembly line at Bombardier, for which they gained special access.

Paul O’Flanagan has created a fascinating artistic montage entitled Derby in Abstract, comprising ten architectural images made up of multi-exposures. As Paul points out: ‘My wife says “you have bought a really good camera that can take super-sharp photographs but then what do you do – you jiggle the camera around!” In truth, I have taken several images of each building which the camera blends into one photograph. In between each image I move the camera. Not quite “jiggling” but close.’

Ashley Franklin - Darley Park Concert Fireworks

Ashley Franklin - Darley Park Concert Fireworks - Credit: Various photographers

Other images in the exhibition have captured QUAD and other Derby buildings, action from Derby Rugby Club and Derbyshire County Cricket Club, Paul Cummins’ Weeping Window at the Silk Mill, and scenes from the Markeaton Colour Run, where competitors get covered from head to toe in a rainbow of colours at paint stations around the course.

‘I hope visitors will come to the exhibition and appreciate what a fascinating, diverse and dynamic city we have in Derby,’ says Derby City Photographic Club Chairman Keith Bunyan. ‘They will also see that we have some very fine, talented photographers in our club, and maybe it will encourage a few people to join us. They will find we have an inspiring programme of talks, competitions and practical nights.’

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The exhibition Derby: Celebration of a City is at Déda until 28th July.

Derby City Photographic Club meets at The Grange in Littleover on Mondays at 7.30pm.