A dramatic new photographic exhibition focused on the Tees Transporter Bridge will open on Monday (October 17), the very day the landmark celebrates its 100th birthday.
For Middlesbrough-born photographer Stephen Gill, ‘Hinterland’ is one of no less than three exhibitions he has on display in the town as part of activities marking the towering structure’s centenary.
Although he now lives in Nottingham, Stephen retains a strong connection with the area he grew up in. Specially commissioned for the centenary, his photographs are being shown for the first time in a series of exhibitions.
Showing in Middlesbrough’s Python Gallery until mid-November, ‘Hinterland’ investigates how the space around the bridge was used in the past, how it is used now and how it could be used in the future.
Taking the viewer on a journey through public and private, familiar and unfamiliar transit areas, roads and pathways to and from the bridge, the combination of colour and monochrome images focus on the often overlooked spaces on both sides of the river and encourage a re-examination of this hinterland.
A former student at Cleveland College of Art and Design, Stephen, who specialises in photography of architectural space and landscapes, has spent the last year documenting the Transporter and its changing surroundings in Middlehaven through the seasons.
The exhibition, which invites the Teesside public to take a look at a familiar landscape from different perspectives, includes views from Port Clarence, the RSPB’s Saltholme centre, SABIC UK Petrochemicals, Augean Landfill, Riverside Park and Tower Green.
Stephen said: “My intention was not to show the bridge as it has been seen countless times before.
“For me, to get the opportunity to photograph and exhibit in a solo show in my home town after living away for so long was a dream come true. I consider this work to be the most personal I have produced in my career and plan to photograph in the area for the next few years.
“Many of my family and my wife’s family still live and work in and around Middlesbrough and will be at the private view to support me. I feel pride not only when I return but also when I am telling others who perhaps have never visited the region how amazing this area is.”
The ‘Hinterland’ exhibition is open 9.30am-5.30pm Monday to Friday through to November 14. The Python Gallery is situated in Royal Middlehaven House, Gosford Street, Middlesbrough, TS2 1BB. Entry is free.
More of Stephen’s photographs are a significant part of the ongoing Transporter Bridge Exhibition at Middlesbrough’s Dorman Museum.
These images concentrate on the river, the bridge structure and its immediate environment. Produced in wintertime and using traditional materials and techniques shot on slow negative film and printed on fibre-based paper, they show signs of what could be considered to be archive but also reference the present.
Stephen’s third exhibition is ‘Corus’, taking place until December 2 at the Heritage Gallery, Cargo Fleet House, Middlesbrough Road, Middlesbrough, TS6 6XH. It focuses on the heavy industrial heritage of Teesside as part of a long-term project the photographer is undertaking.
Enjoy a preview launch of the exhibition 'Hinterland' at the Python Gallery this Friday October 14 6-8.30pm.
The Transporter Bridge centenary celebrations are being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is also making possible a £2.6m renovation of the structure over the next three years. Stephen’s exhibitions are also supported by The Arts Council.