Peter Mitchell performs Photography, Life aboard the Unda Wunda*
In: A New Refutation of the Viking IV Space Mission.
RRB Photo Books, Bristol.
This essay was commissioned by RRB Photo Books for inclusion in 'A New Refutation of the Viking 4 Space Mission' a new publication of the work of Peter Mitchell from the 1970s. Originally exhibited at the Impressions Gallery of Photography in York in 1979, the series consisted of photographs small scale business and shops of Leeds made by Mitchell. Mitchell's diary entries were an integral part of the work. The author's connection with this material is a longstanding one. She commissioned the original exhibition when she was the founder co-director of Impressions, and re-presented it in the exhibition and conference 'The New British Photography' at the University of Sussex in 2006 and then in the 2007 exhibition 'How We Are: Photography in Britain 1850-' co curated with Susan Bright for Tate Britain.
In 2016, the original Impressions show was exhibited at the Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles, and shortly after this, photobook publisher Rudi Thoemmes announced that he would publish the New Refutation series in book form. The book will be published in April, 2017 to accompany an exhibition at the Galerie Clementine de la Feronniere in Paris (4 April-13 May, 2017) and will also be shown at Photo London from 18-21 May 2017. The essay is contained in this book.
The essay discusses Mitchell's history as a photographer in Yorkshire in the 1970s and early 1980s, and his presence within the emerging British independent photo scene. This is the first time that his work has been discussed in this context. Much of the author's research, writing and curation has been connected with British independent photography from the early 1970s to the late 1980s and beyond, into the contemporary. Prior to this, she has written about Martin Parr, Daniel Meadows, Anna Fox and others, culmination in the 2001 Parr retrospective at the Barbican Art Gallery and the touring exhibition of the work of Daniel Meadows.
Extract from the essay:
'Interesting then, that Mitchell chose to position himself not only within the emerging independent photographic community, but also that he saw himself very much as a regional artist, with exhibitions in Leeds, Sheffield and York forming the basis of his exhibition history from the 1970s to the 1990s. Working in the Yorkshire Triangle of influential public galleries, Mitchell was able to introduce a number of tours de force of photography, design and text, which sat very well in the sympathetic, youthful Yorkshire museum culture of the time. The Graves Art Gallery was, in 1978, under the directorship of the dynamic Julian Spalding, and the Education Gallery within Leeds City Art Gallery was run by Shelia Ross, later to become Mitchell's longstanding partner. Over in York, the site of the 1979 ‘Viking IV Space Mission’ show, the Impressions Gallery of Photography was the second photo gallery to be opened in the UK and had helped to establish the careers of Martin Parr, Daniel Meadows and a number of other young British photographers.'