The Art of Photography

From the gnarled, sun-leathered face of an Indian drifter caught on the platform of Delhi Station, to the crumbling majesty of a former cotton mill in Salford, this exhibition features some of the most poignant photography of the 21st century, writes Malcolm Storer.

Peter Aitchison’s work depicts a chance encounter with a person or a place that once captured, gets to the heart of what life and the human condition is all about.

Peter Aitchison, Delhi Man Peter Aitchison, Delhi Man

Derbyshire-based Aitchison came to fine art photography through an indirect route. His initiation into the world of photography took the form of commercial shoots.

Peter Aitchison, Beaded Man Peter Aitchison, Beaded Man

Peter worked for TV programmes such as Big Brother and The Graham Norton Show and he was also on the Royal rota and worked on many a red carpet, locking eyes through his lens with stars including Will Smith, Tom Cruise, Britney Spears and Samuel L Jackson.

He eventually decided to move North in search of a less hectic life and began to travel extensively and he reconnected with photography — this time as a calling, not an occupation.

‘Disclosure’ is a unique opportunity to witness the sheer scale of Aitchison’s oeuvre. Through his intimate lens he manages to connect us with every facet of his work, both emotionally and aesthetically. In a world where there is a fear of the ‘other’,

Peter allows the viewer a moment to commune with the unknown. The more you look the more you understand. I particularly like the haunting black-and-white portraits taken in India and Cuba.

He perfectly captures the ‘inner landscape’ of his disparate subjects, focusing on qui moments of contemplation. He draws you in, nailing the image to your subconscious.

Peter Aitchison, Beetham & Bridge Peter Aitchison, Beetham & Bridge

It’s refreshing to see photography front-and-centre for once.

I sat down with gallery owner, Susan Eyres, and asked her why she chose to showcase the medium, often thought of, wrongly in my opinion, as painting’s poor relation. “This exhibition is the first of its kind in Cheshire and is testing the boundaries of what people define as ‘Art’. Gateway Gallery is bringing the contemporary art discussions that are being had in London to the North West.”

It chimes perfectly with what Susan Sontag said in her seminal work ‘On Photography’ — “To take a photograph is to participate in another person (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability …. All photographs testify to times relentless melt.”

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‘Disclosure’ runs from Saturday 18th May until Saturday 1st June 2019 at Gateway Gallery in Hale. www.gateway-gallery.co.uk 

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