‘Men and Women’
The Photographers’ Gallery, London
12.10.2012 - 06.01.2012
The Photographers’ Gallery presents Men and Women the first major UK show of photographer Tom Wood. Since 1973 until the early 2000s, Irish born Wood has been continuously recording the everyday lives of the people of Liverpool and the Merseyside area. This exhibition will showcase over sixty previously unpublished portraits. It will also feature a selection of vintage prints and book dummies of his now out-of-print publications Looking for Love (1989), All Zones off Peak (1998) and Photieman (2005). Presenting an overview of Wood’s publishing output the show will provide new insights into his working methods and distinctive photographic style.
Editing from long-term and previously unseen bodies of work—such as the Football Grounds, Shipyard and Docks and Women’s Market—Tom Wood has re-evaluated these images through a creative collaboration with artist Padraig Timoney. Grouping the images in a non-chronological order under the headings Men and Women, the exhibition will showcase a curated selection of these photographs, soon to be published as two separate books by Steidl. The installation of the photographs will reflect the sequencing of the books mixing the different formats, styles and processes. This arrangement will highlight the formal correspondences and relationships between pictures as well as Wood’s prolonged involvement with his subject matter. His photographs include both candid and posed portraits of people alone or in groups. Images of strangers are interspersed with those of friends and family and are often made from repeated engagements with particular locales.
Trust and empathy are both key elements in Wood’s practice and his photographs are the result of considered observation, offering affirmative responses to moments from the lives of those he pictures. Exhibition highlights include Charlie and Alan (1977), a photograph depicting his father and cousin during a visit to their family home in Ireland; 20 and 13 (2008), a snapshot of his two sons; Not Miss New Brighton (1978/79) an image featuring two young women sitting on top of a red car posing for the camera; and Mrs Coulson (1973), one of the very first photographs taken by Wood picturing his landlady resting on the grass on a summer’s day.
Brett Rogers, Director, The Photographers’ Gallery said: The Photographers’ Gallery is proud to have the opportunity to introduce Tom Wood’s work to a wider audience.Having worked independently for nearly four decades documenting the lives of the inhabitants of the Liverpool and Merseyside area, Wood certainly deserves to be better known and recognised for his extraordinary contribution to British photography. His work is no ordinary form of documentation - through his prolonged engagement with his subjects, Wood transforms our relationship to them. This new exhibition Men and Women highlights his fine eye for composition and his instinctive feel for finding the grace and poetry inherent in his subjects’ lives.
Men and Women is a collaboration with the National Media Museum, Bradford. It is curated by Stefanie Braun, Senior Curator, The Photographers’ Gallery and Greg Hobson, Curator of Photographs at the National Media Museum.