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Preston’s SHOP to host new exhibition by local photographer

Posted on - 10th March, 2024 - 6:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Avenham, City Centre, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Things to Do in and around Preston, What's On in Preston
Photographer Ash Hardman is exhibiting his work at SHOP. Pic Ash Hardman
Photographer Ash Hardman is exhibiting his work at SHOP Pic: Ash Hardman

A new pop-up photography exhibition aims to start a discussion about housing in the UK.

The Great British Housing Crisis – A Photography Exhibition features the work of photographer Ash Hardman and will go on display at the North West Design Collective’s SHOP, on Syke Street, from Thursday 14 March. We went to find out more.

I began by asking Ash how long he has been a photographer for.

“I always find this a difficult question to answer,” he says, “as I started making photos on family holidays when I was about seven. I also made my first photographic project when Preston North End demolished the old west stand, now the Tom Finney stand.

“Since then, I have studied photography both academically and informally, now I have imposter syndrome and wonder if I’m justified to call myself a photographer! But to answer your question, I have been a photographer for about 20 years or more.”

Read more: How you can help Blog Preston grow arts coverage in the city

SHOP, where Ash will be exhibiting his work, is based below the North West Design Collective’s architecture studio. The space was formerly the Charity Shop Rwanda and has an interesting history, as the building was originally built as the offices of John Whitehead & Co. who ran Albert Works on the next block.

These days SHOP is used as a community events space, gallery, film set, yoga studio, music venue, meeting room, workshop area, and photography studio.

Jill Cowgill and Sally Lofthouse from the North West Design Collective outside SHOP. Pic SHOP
Jill Cowgill and Sally Lofthouse from the North West Design Collective outside SHOP Pic: SHOP

Ash has exhibited at SHOP before.

“I did an exhibition about Play using photography as a way of interacting and engaging in our shared public spaces,” he says. “I was inspired very much by conversations with Lee Ivett, Ecaterina Stefanescu, Jill Cowgil and Sally Lofthouse without whom SHOP wouldn’t exist! 

“What I like most about SHOP is the ethos it carries, which is all about community and inspiring creativity, it’s now had many brilliant artists share the space, who have inspired and brought great insights into their own unique creative process.”

Photographer Ash Hardman's work is going on display at SHOP. Pic Ash Hardman
Photographer Ash Hardman’s work is going on display at SHOP Pic: Ash Hardman

I wondered what motivated Ash to focus on housing for his next exhibition.

“In 2019, when the government set out their target of building 300,000 houses per year, I wondered what this would look like, how it might impact the landscape in which these new builds would be situated, if it would be achievable/sustainable?

“I had many questions, so I began pointing my camera at the new developments. I’m now at a point in the project where I thought it would be a good idea to put some of the work into the public domain as an invitation for open discussion at SHOP.”

The Great British Housing Crisis – A Photography Exhibition will be on display at SHOP, 3 Syke Street, Preston, PR1 3XA. Opening hours are Thursday 14 March 5pm to 8pm, Friday 15 March 1pm to 4pm and Sunday 18 March 1pm to 4pm.

Anyone wishing to contribute or exhibit at SHOP can apply by submitting an application here.

Follow Ash Hardman on Instagram. Follow SHOP on Instagram.

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