Acclaimed Magnum photographers Martin Parr and Olivia Arthur have teamed up to celebrate Hull – the UK’s 2017 city of culture – for a new exhibition.
The show, titled Portrait of a City, offers a unique portrait of the city, with both photographers turning their lens to different areas. For Martin Parr, it’s a deep-dive into Hull’s “rich culinary culture”, including run-down chippies, upmarket vendors, and specialist supermarkets. The series – which includes over 100 photographs – gives a voltaic insight into the central contribution of food to the city’s character, social life and culture.
In a sharp contrast to Parr, Olivia Arthur has opted for black and white images. Her bleakly funny shots aim to capture Hull’s youth culture, with the London photographer capturing young Elvis impersonators, footballers and bodybuilders. She travelled frequently to the city during the project, building relationships with the locals to create a series that accurately reflects their individuality, identity and aspirations.
“I think that Hull in the past had become a bit forgotten, partly because of its reputation as a rough place to live and partly because it’s not really on the way to anywhere,” Arthur tells Huck. “As a result, young people there have built their own sort of bubble and there seems to be quite an established arts scene.”
“There was such an enthusiasm for the project, people mostly seemed really proud to be in it.”
In a statement, Martin Green, the Director of Hull 2017, added that he was “delighted” at Parr and Arthur’s work. “Their observational approach, which is justifiably renowned around the world, provides us with two fresh perspectives on this extraordinary year for the city as we look to the future,” he said.
Hull, Portrait of a City runs at the Humber Street Gallery from October 13 to December 31.