Changing Faces of Leeds photo exhibition
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A unique series of pictures by the people (of the people) go on display at Leeds City Museum
What does modern Leeds look like? Fabulous (obviously) but is that fabulousness reflected in the faces of its people?
Well, just look at these wonderful photographs and tell us they don’t reveal a story of diversity, fun, history and, yes, absolute fabulousness.
They’re the result of a competition run by Leeds City Museum which called on amateur snappers from across the city to submit their favourite shots for its Changing Faces of Leeds exhibition.
Among the winners, chosen from more than 500 entries now taking their place alongside other fascinating images of people from Leeds’ past and present, is a colourful snap of 89-year-old former teacher Maureen Lee from Bramley.
The picture was taken at Victoria Park in Calverley during celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and was submitted by her daughter Teresa, 46, who said: ‘My mum was born the same year as the Queen so will also be 90 this year. They got married the same year too and started their families at the same time, so if the Queen is having an anniversary, mum usually is too.
‘A lot of people were off work that day and the park had stalls and entertainment. There were people of all ages in groups having picnics and enjoying a relaxing get together and there was a nice atmosphere.
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‘I entered the competition as I loved the fact it was open to everyone and I put in this picture as I thought it would be nice to have pictures of older people of Leeds and also because I like the bright colours.
‘We’re both really looking forward to the opening and seeing the other work in the exhibition as I am sure it will be an interesting selection. It was great that the picture was picked to be one of those on show and mum was very surprised when I told her.’
Other winners include Elaine Taylor, who took a picture of her son Billy while shopping in Leeds, and Su Shan Leong, a student at the University of Leeds, where she’s also a member of the photography society (the picture was taken for her first photography elective module assignment).
Their work now stands alongside fascinating images from Leeds City Museum’s archive, from early Victorian photography and studio portraits to modern day selfies and abstracts that take you on a journey through the history of the people of Leeds from the 1800s to the present day.
As well as admiring the winners’ handiwork, visitors can also get hands-on in the museum’s photography studio to create their own portrait; explore what a portrait can tell us about a person; and take a look at the different ways in which people have chosen to represent themselves through time.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: ‘The hundreds of photographers who entered this competition have really captured what’s at the heart and soul of Leeds and its culture and that’s the amazing people who live here.
‘As we look towards our bid to be European Capital of Culture 2023, it’s those people who will be at the forefront of showcasing exactly what makes Leeds such a unique and exciting place to be.
‘This exhibition is a wonderful way to celebrate the incredible energy and diversity of the people of Leeds and a tremendous example of how central they are to the city’s rich cultural tapestry.’ w
Changing Faces of Leeds runs at the City Museum until June 5th. The exhibition also features a series of workshops and events for children and adults. For more information, visit leeds.gov.uk/facesofleeds