Exhibitions

Digital Window Gallery: Tabitha Jussa

17 September - 6 November 2021

Main Exhibition

Collective Matters

1 October - 12 December 2021

Exhibitions

Polly Braden: Holding The Baby

30 September - 31 October 2021

Events

Open Rooms #16: Agency of Women

23 September 2021

Projects

PLATFORM ISSUE 04: CROSSROADS

10 September 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Digital Window Gallery: Our Lands

23 August - 19 September 2021

Exhibitions

Imagining Disaster: Essay Series

30 August 2021

Exhibitions

Rivers of the World

6 September 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Instagram Residency: Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley

30 August - 5 September 2021

Past Events

PLATFORM: Issue 4 Launch Party

10 September 2021

Past Events

Imagining Disaster: Contemporary Art X Science Fiction

2 September 2021

Past Events LOOK Events

Open Rooms #15: Common Ground

8 September 2021

Past Events

Launch Party: One Day At A Time

19 August 2021

Past Events

Open Eye Gallery book club presents: Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray

9 September 2021

Exhibitions

Sam Batley: ONE DAY AT A TIME

18 August - 19 September 2021

Exhibitions

VR: Wirral Hospitals’ School and MaxLiteracy Award

10 June - 3 September 2021

Past Exhibitions

Return To Nature

30 July 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

VR: First Light New Northern Graduates Exhibition

22 May - 4 July 2021

Past Exhibitions

We Are Nature

30 July - 14 August 2021

Exhibitions

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival — Jessica El Mal: Grounds For Concern

16 July - 15 August 2021

Exhibitions

Digital Window Gallery: Who We Are

8 July - 31 July 2021

Past Exhibitions

Whose Land Is It?

8 July - 19 September 2021

Exhibitions

VR Student Exhibitions: UCEN

9 June - 13 June 2021

Exhibitions

VR Student Exhibitions: Youth Culture by Whitby High School

23 June - 27 June 2021

Exhibitions

VR Student Exhibitions: Arc with Hugh Baird

16 June - 20 June 2021

Past Events

First Light: Photography Writing Now – Tilt Launch Party

9 July 2021

Past Events

OPEN ROOMS #14: Separated Together

24 June 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Student Exhibitions: Whitby High School

23 June - 27 June 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Student Exhibitions: UCEN

9 June - 13 June 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Student Exhibitions: Arc

16 June - 20 June 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Digital Window Gallery: HOMETOWNS

10 June 2021

Exhibitions Main Exhibition

Digital Window Gallery: Postcards from us x

10 June - 20 June 2021

LightNight 2021: Play

21 May 2021

Heavy Gardening Art Trail Photowalk

21 May 2021

OPEN ROOMS #13: A BALKAN JOURNEY WITH CHRIS LESLIE

17 June 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

First Light New Northern Graduates Exhibition

22 May 2021

Past Events

Open Eye Gallery book club presents: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

3 June 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Interior Tension

22 June 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Networked Beings

8 June 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Things Are Strange

25 May 2021

Past Events

OPEN ROOMS #12: INDEPENDENTS BIENNIAL

6 May 2021

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Liverpool Biennial 2021: The Stomach and the Port

19 May - 6 June 2021

Picturing England’s High Streets: Prescot

7 April 2021

Picturing England’s High Street: Chester

7 April 2021

Exhibitions

Reclaim The City: Suzanne St Clare

8 April 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Parallel Histories

11 May 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: After Nature

27 April 2021

Past Events

First Light Spotlight: Unearthly Matter

13 April 2021

Exhibitions

Hanging out: Interviews

23 March - 5 April 2021

Exhibitions

Digital Window Gallery: Independents Biennial

18 March - 6 June 2021

Close
Close

Archive

The Open Eye Gallery Archive contains approximately 1600 prints by more than 100 photographers. Its holdings are diverse, ranging from works by lesser known photographers to those by leading international artists. The archive is particularly strong on work made in and around Liverpool, including portraits, urban landscapes and social documentary.

The archive was started in 1980 – three years after the Gallery opened – by Open Eye Gallery’s first Director of Exhibitions, Peter Hagerty. Collecting has followed changing agendas over the years, but has remained closely linked to the Gallery’s commissions and exhibition programmes. The first works to enter the archive came from the open submission exhibition Open Eye Gallery 1980. Similar open group exhibitions continued, and fed works into the archive, until 1996.

Some of the archive’s earlier works date from the 1930s and 1940s. They include a substantial body of work by Edith Tudor-Hart, exhibited at Open Eye Gallery in 1988. Tudor-Hart was a Bauhaus-trained photographer from Austria who fled to the UK in the 1930s to avoid prosecution for her political activities. She photographed in the coal mining areas of the Rhondda Valley and in the industrial North East of England; from the late 1930s her work explored issues around social policy, housing and the care of disabled children.

In 1985 Neil Burgess (Open Eye Gallery’s Director 1982-86) organised an exhibition of the work of Bert Hardy, a leading British photojournalist of the 1940s and 1950s. In the 1940s Hardy was commissioned by Picture Post magazine to shoot photo-essays such as Chinese Hostel in Liverpool (unpublished, 1942) and Is There a British Colour Bar? (1949). In 2006 Getty Images donated the exhibited works to the Open Eye Gallery archive.

In 1983 Open Eye Gallery’s Liverpool Free Studio project set-up a temporary studio on the street outside the Gallery. Over a number of days the participating photographers, who included Tom Wood and John McDonald, photographed passers-by, who were invited to come back the next day to collect a print. From 1984-89 Open Eye Gallery’s Project Assistance Scheme helped local photographers create new work; each project contributed a set of prints to the archive.

A number of Open Eye Gallery’s exhibitions in the 1970s and 1980s examined the wider roles of photography in popular culture. Works were collected from exhibitions such as Snap, Razzle and Pop: a History of Pop Photography 1955-83, including pictures of 1960s Merseybeat stars and of the wider UK music scene. The 1986 exhibition A portrait of Comedy was also a source of works for Open Eye Gallery’s archive and included portraits of UK comedy stars of the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

In 2007 the Gallery commissioned and exhibited The Water’s Edge, a series of portraits by Michelle Sank of women who work, or worked, on the Liverpool waterfront. The project was produced in collaboration with writer and oral historian Joanne Lacey, who also co-authored the book (published by Open Eye Gallery and Liverpool University Press, ISBN 978-1-84631-084-3). Michelle Sank donated a set of prints to the archive in 2008.

Another major acquisition in 2008 was the exhibition Cities on the Edge, commissioned as part of the city’s European Capital of Culture programmes and curated by photographer John Davies. The exhibition and accompanying book (Liverpool University Press, ISBN 978-1-84631-186-4) explored Liverpool and six other European port cities through the eyes of leading international photographers. The exhibition was donated to the archive by Liverpool Culture Company.

Photographers represented in the archive include: Gabriele Basilico, Ian Beesley, Vanley Burke, Steve Conlan, Philippe Conti, Will Curwen, John Davies, John Edwards, Paul Fazackerley, Bruce Gilden, Steve Hale, Sean Halligan, Edward Chambre Hardman , Bert Hardy, Thurston Hopkins, Peter Kennard, Greg Leach, Peter Hagerty, Harry Hammond, Edith Tudor Hart, Mari Mahr, Peter Marlowe, Derek Massey, John McDonald, Neil McDowall, Rob Meighen, Joel Meyerowitz, Simon Norfolk, Paul O’Donnell, Martin Parr, Caroline Penn, Michael Robinson, Michelle Sank, Ludwig Schirmer, Samantha Seneviratne, Patrick Shanahan, Ewen Spencer, John Stoddart, Wolfgang Suschitsky, Jan Svenungsson, Ali Taptik, Ed van der Elsken, Sandy Volz, Wojtek Wilczyk, Rob Williams and Tom Wood.

Join our newsletter