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Mccoy Wynne to exhibit at COP26 Universities’ Innovation Showcase

18 October 2021

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19 November 2021

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The Mutual Respect Manifesto by Glow Creative Learning

25 October 2021

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Joseph Lee: Mindful Photo Workshop

4 December 2021

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Who’s Left Behind? Part 2: Tadhg Devlin, staff from Community Integrated Care, and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust in association with Liverpool SURF group

25 November 2021

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Who’s Left Behind? Part 1: Liverpool Cares and MA SEP graduate Vilija Skubute

24 November 2021

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Today, Tomorrow and Somewhere in between

11 November 2021

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One Day at a Time Boys: Introductory talk and workshop

6 November 2021

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DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY: CROSSING SECTORS

30 September - 7 November 2021

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Just Between Friends: Runcorn Public Realm

30 September - 12 December 2021

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LATE NIGHT OPENING: COLLECTIVE MATTERS

15 October 2021

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Collective Matters: Meet and Greet

22 October 2021

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Holding the Baby: Banner making workshop

16 October 2021

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Digital Window Gallery: Tabitha Jussa

17 September - 6 November 2021

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Collective Matters

1 October - 12 December 2021

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Polly Braden: Holding The Baby

30 September - 31 October 2021

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Open Rooms #16: Agency of Women

23 September 2021

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PLATFORM ISSUE 04: CROSSROADS

10 September 2021

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Digital Window Gallery: Our Lands

23 August - 19 September 2021

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Imagining Disaster: Essay Series

30 August 2021

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Rivers of the World

6 September 2021

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Open Rooms #15: Common Ground

8 September 2021

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Instagram Residency: Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley

30 August - 5 September 2021

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PLATFORM: Issue 4 Launch Party

10 September 2021

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Imagining Disaster: Contemporary Art X Science Fiction

2 September 2021

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Launch Party: One Day At A Time

19 August 2021

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Open Eye Gallery book club presents: Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray

9 September 2021

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Sam Batley: ONE DAY AT A TIME

18 August - 19 September 2021

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VR: Wirral Hospitals’ School and MaxLiteracy Award

10 June - 3 September 2021

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Return To Nature

30 July 2021

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VR: First Light New Northern Graduates Exhibition

22 May - 4 July 2021

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We Are Nature

30 July - 14 August 2021

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

16 July - 15 August 2021

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Digital Window Gallery: Who We Are

8 July - 31 July 2021

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Whose Land Is It?

8 July - 19 September 2021

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VR Student Exhibitions: UCEN

9 June - 13 June 2021

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23 June - 27 June 2021

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16 June - 20 June 2021

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First Light: Photography Writing Now – Tilt Launch Party

9 July 2021

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OPEN ROOMS #14: Separated Together

24 June 2021

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23 June - 27 June 2021

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9 June - 13 June 2021

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16 June - 20 June 2021

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Digital Window Gallery: HOMETOWNS

10 June 2021

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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

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First Light New Northern Graduates Exhibition

22 May 2021

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Open Eye Gallery book club presents: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

3 June 2021

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An Ethics of Seeing, Olivia Taylor
An Ethics of Seeing, Olivia Taylor
An Ethics of Seeing, Olivia Taylor
An Ethics of Seeing, Olivia Taylor
An Ethics of Seeing, Olivia Taylor

Interview: Olivia Taylor

Olivia Taylor is a BA(Hons) Photography graduate from Huddersfield University. She was selected this year for an Open Eye Gallery award, recognising an outstanding body of student work. We spoke to her about her series, An Ethics of Seeing’.

 

OEG: Throughout this series there’s a sense of wandering, of happenstance and locating a certain gravity in pretty everyday objects, drawing something more out of them. First things first, talk me through the process of going out and shooting it — what you did, where you went, what you felt and thought.

OT: When the project first started, there was no substance really as I had no idea what I really wanted to focus on. I had several trips booked around Europe and wanted to see what I could find there, and thought I would be attracted to all the typical tourism, ‘Instagram’ type shots. But the more I wandered, the more I steered away from crowded streets and bright lights, and was drawn to the quiet areas that, to me, were neglected in their serene beauty. 

After researching, reading and testing further, I realised that these spaces were anywhere and everywhere I looked, in each city I visited – I began to naturally migrate towards them on my walks through these urban landscapes. 

My process of creating the work became something of a meditative state, where I’d aimlessly wander, through every small walkway, alley and alcove I came across, until I felt a hush fall over the area; no sounds of traffic, people or roadworks to penetrate the calm. Once I felt I’d entered this private bubble, I knew it was time to take my photos. This ‘hushed’ atmosphere gave me a feeling of control of my surroundings, in which I could pinpoint exactly what was drawing me to the area and document my experience of that moment in time, in that particular place. 

OEG: That’s interesting, this sense of an urban calm that’s found in many cities. There is a sense of this being more about time than about place, or a sense of a ‘moment’ that isn’t tied to one place. Do you find/feel it at home too?

OT: Yes, possibly even more so, given the feeling of calm often comes with familiarity. But that’s why I enjoy my images that are taken in different places, and why I was constantly surprised when I was able to feel such things in areas completely unknown to me. 

OEG: I‘ve been thinking about the title and how that sets up the ambiguity of the series — what does it mean to you to have an ‘ethics of seeing’?

OT: The title actually comes from an extract from ‘On Photography’ by Susan Sontag – through all of my research and readings, her book is one that really resonated with me whilst creating the work. Her writing starts off with the notion that everyone and anyone can take a photograph, and content is becoming rife with obscurity and meaninglessness; given the book was first published in the late 70’s, I found it so interesting that that concept is still relevant, now more than ever. 

Sontag speaks about ‘real’ photographers having a power in what they do – the idea of being a photographer, and being almost ‘morally’ or ‘ethically’ obligated to create images that speak to other human beings without using words and communicating on thoughts, emotions and experiences. 

This way of thinking influenced my project, and gave me a fresh, new way of thinking in terms of what should be the focus in my images – this, again, helped me realise that they did not need to be anything particularly extraordinary, but could just be ordinary. The way in which I photographed – my own ‘ethics’ of seeing my surroundings – would be the key to the series becoming something of substance, therefore the focal points would become exceptional.

OEG: Although the images mostly picture scenes of urban decay, there’s a particular calmness to them. It kind of makes me think of a very 21st century king of Wabi-Sabi, the japanese aesthetic sensibility of seeing and accepting things in their transient, worn-out, imperfect state. Is this something you identify with in the series, and if not, what other aesthetic sensibilities guided you and your eye?

OT: I had come across that term, and it is very apt for what my work communicates – but the theory side of my work could only allow so much research, which meant narrowing down my inspirations, writings and ideas. My explorations across multiple creative fields (in order to find further examples of a complex look at the banal) led me to several complex thinkers; Christopher Bollas, Marian Milner, Awoiska van der Molen, Phoebe Kiely…the list could go on.

A key writer and academic was W.G.Sebald, author of ‘The Rings of Saturn’. The book revolves around Sebald taking a walk in the British countryside and uses this mundane activity as a way to discuss his existential ponderings to the reader. The whole concept of the book using this mid-afternoon stroll as a way to explore existential questions on life and existence fascinated me, and the photographs littered throughout the book really made me think past images having to present something that the viewer would recognise as a ‘pretty’ or conventionally interesting thing.

 

Interview between Olivia Taylor and Jacob Bolton

Images: Olivia Taylor

 

https://oliviaktaylorphotography.com

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