2007 marks the 25th anniversary of John Darwell’s first exhibition. In celebration, the photographer and Director of Redeye (the photography network for the North West), Paul Herrmann, has curated this important retrospective for Tullie House, using his experience and insight as a photographer to make very personal connections with Darwell’s back catalogue of projects. Working closely with Darwell, Herrmann will concentrate on images that singly, and in combination, both redraw the impression we have of John Darwell as a photographer, and present us with a view of the world as fresh and compelling as the day the work was made.
Each of John Darwell’s projects takes us on both an internal and external journey. Early projects, such as Working Lives, Legacy and The Big Ditch, focused particularly on political and social themes, but resonated because of their intensely personal perspective. Meanwhile, later work such as Black Dog Came Calling and The Garden of Earthly Delights is overtly personal, but gives us images that can be taken as universal metaphors. When presenting his images to an audience, Darwell often describes himself as an ‘explorer’ and elaborates that this is an internal as well as external process. Also important is the trajectory of recent social history, from 70s activism to 90s hedonism and beyond. John Darwell’s work both grows from that and challenges it.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a luscious 80 page colour illustrated book reviewing the work of John Darwell. The book includes essays from the exhibition curator, Paul Harrmann and from Simon Grennan.