I’ve been working as a volunteer for Hull City of Culture and took on a number of shifts at the Brynmor Jones library at Hull University, where the “Paul Smith to J.K. Rowling” exhibition is showing until June 11th. These works have all been commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery as part of the first prize of the BP Portrait Award. This award is now in its 27th year and is aimed at encouraging artists to develop portraiture within their work. We are extremely lucky in Hull to have so many of these commissions in one place at one time. There is a wide variety of styles and materials used and the exhibition is well worth a visit. Free entry and there’s a great cafe on site with good coffee. I should point out that the Brynmor Jones library also has an excellent collection of it’s own which is also available for visitors to see.
Here are the images on show – you get the idea but really need to see them first hand to appreciate them. Thanks to Neil Evans of the National Portrait Gallery for sending me copies of the images for use.
I figured that the best time to catch the Lego daffodil site in Hull, in a relatively people free manner, would be early morning and as it was Easter Monday today – I thought – even better. Even so, at 8.20am this morning, people were starting to congregate and I had to be quite quick. One couple looking at the flowers told me they’d just got off the ferry from Rotterdam and that although they’d set off around Europe from Dover, some 17 days ago, they always planned to come back through Hull to see what the City of Culture had to offer. They’d disappeared by the time I got back up from the ground. I’d been laying down (in sausage dog mode as my friend Duncan Wood would say) using my Fuji 56mm f1.2 lens to take some wide open shots to see what kind of bokeh it offered me. What a cracking lens.
I’d forgotten about this. There was a newly painted Fire Engine launched in January in Trinity Square to celebrate Hull City of Culture 2017. Martin Green, CEO and Director of Hull UK City of Culture was present, as were a number of personnel from the Fire Service and news coverage from Radio Humberside.
We decided to take a wander around the Ferens Art Gallery as it has recently re-opened. Splendid job they’ve done too. I thought the standard of exhibits in the 2017 Open Exhibition was particularly good. I hadn’t put anything in this year but I’ll make an effort next year again. The sculpture in the entrance hall was very striking and I expected it to start moving at any time. Whilst my assistant was shopping, I took the opportunity to take a few images of the Blade again, using a couple of buildings as reference points. It’s strange to think how many folk were in the square just a few weeks ago for the projection extravaganza – it felt quite empty.
I took a trip down to Hull yesterday morning to see what all the fuss was about. It’s BIG. I hope it doesn’t slip off the stand, it’ll ruin the new paving. The Blade is something that looked as though it was drawing comment from the scores of people standing looking, so from that point of view I suppose it can be considered as art. I heard one elderly lady comment to a friend that rather than dismantle all the bits and pieces that they had to in order for it to be manoeuvoured into place, they’d be better spending the cash on getting the pavements fixed. There are all sorts of opinions on this so I’ll just leave you with my favourite image of the morning which managed to get itself aired on Look North last night. Peter Levy thought it was a winner – Thank you Peter.
The first major event to start off the Hull City of Culture 2017 was “Made in Hull” – a huge projection in Queen Victoria Square, projected simultaneously on the City Hall, The Ferens Art Gallery and The Maritime Museum. Sue and I went into Hull by train to save parking problems. We got the last two standing room only places on the two carriage train for the 10 minutes ride into Hull. There were people left on Cottingham station as the demand was that high – they would miss the 4pm start but as the show repeated itself until 9pm, they wouldn’t miss a thing.
The story of Hull and its people, over the past 70 years, started off with the projections in Queen Victoria Square and followed a trail, leading down Whitefriargate, through Zebedee’s Yard, Humber Street, Scale Lane, High Street underpass, The Deep and back to Humber Street. I have to say that the visions of wartime Hull, which was the second most bombed City in the Second World War, with 90% of its buildings destroyed, were extremely moving, as were the visions of sailors sinking to the bottom of the sea following the awful losses of trawlers from Hull.
We didn’t stop everywhere – not enough time, so concentrated on Queen Victoria Square and The Deep. Here are a few images :-
Having chosen our spot at Goxhill, three of us arrived early at 6pm in order to park up and wait. The first 50 or so folk were already there, braving the freezing cold wind blowing straight in our faces. This was going to be difficult. We sat in the warm car for a couple of hours and waited until shortly before 8pm and then ventured along the river bank for some considerable distance until there was a clear spot. I think there could well have been 500+ people along the bank. Many tripods, many head torches, much anticipation.
Anyway, here are a few of the images.
I thought it might be a good idea to try and help to make our City of Culture year a success in whatever small way I could – so I volunteered to be a … volunteer. So, a couple of training sessions later I’m a little more knowledgeable and looking forward to whatever comes my way.
One of the sessions included a walking tour of the old town with Guide, Paul Schofield. I’d never thought about a walking tour of Hull or what it might entail but it was both informative and entertaining. I took the opportunity to take the GX8 around with me and so here are a few images from the morning.