In 2003 I suggested to photographer Len Grant (who, I think, had just got his first digital SLR) that he photograph all the railway arches from Piccadilly station to Pamona Dock. Quickly. Both sides. We had no idea what to do with them. Two years later there was a bit of Arts Council money around for Architecture Week. We sat in the Atlas Deli, under a railway arch, and I suggested we took the project to Piccadilly station and asked if we could show the work in one continuous run on Platform 12? The station manager at the time was great, and the show opened in 2005. You can see it here.
I wanted to do a follow-up show using the same display structure. I approached Jan Chlebik with an idea to photograph details of the decaying Coroner’s Court and Fire Station on London Road. I couldn’t raise any money for this show at the time. (The building is still rotting, and a judge refused Manchester City Council a CPO in 20012)
Band On The Wall was being refurbished. I asked Jan to photograph live music venues in Manchester, past and present. We called the show Night & Day. We printed 22 images direct on to Dibond, on a scale that, diagonally, would just fit into the back of Jan’s Golf. You can see some of the images here. And read about it here.
I fancied showing some of the images as photographic prints, framed and glazed, on a more domestic scale, so we might get some sales. The commercial space at 5 Riverside Mews, next door to the office I share with my friends at Spoken Image, became vacant. Ian Simpson Architects owns the space, and I asked partner Rachel Haugh if I could use it for a temporary exhibition.
My partner Simone Ridyard had recently started to paint quite loose and energetic seascapes around the Camel Estuary in North Cornwall, where we go as often as we can. Also, she was making watercolour drawings in Manchester city centre that are extensions of the architectural perspectives she has always painted since graduating from the School of Architecture at Canterbury School of Art. We were keen to show the work.
5 Riverside Mews is on two levels that I reckoned would divide well between three artists. I asked my (reticent) friend Peter Seal to show some of his paintings and constructions alongside Jan and Simone. The show ran for seven hours, on a Thursday night, and Sunday afternoon. Each of the artists sold some work, so it seemed like an idea worth repeating.