gill moore photography

“The Chorlton Bench Project” by Gill Moore. Preview Night, Chorlton Arts Festival @ Chorlton Library, Manchester.

Last Friday 16th May saw the launch of the 8th Chorlton Arts Festival.  The programme covers visual arts, dance, music, film and with 18,000 visitors to last years festival it seems to grow more popular, bigger and better each year.  It is all based around a 1 mile square area in the South Manchester suburb of Chorlton, Manchester, UK.
I was lucky enough to be chosen to exhibit my most recent work “The Chorlton Bench Project” and I was delighted to be able to bag my number one venue at Chorlton Library.
Friday was the Preview Night for all the visual artists.  Part of the Festival’s appeal is that venue’s can range from an Art Gallery such as Arison, a plant nursery, barschurches and even a first for the festival someone’s own house becoming an ArtHOUSE.
After weeks of hard work and preparation things went right to the wire for my Exhibition;  I kid you not, I had people queuing at the door.  But bang on 6pm I was ready and my Preview Night was up and running. The most popular bench in Chorlton was named shortly after the start.   Lance Crookes, who features in one of the photographs, very kindly accepted my invitation to make the announcement.  The winner was Mary’s Bench which is fairly close to Jackson’s Boat alongside the River Mersey.  Voted Top Spot due to number of visitors, bench aesthetics, bench user vibe and having a darn lovely view.  Apparently the Chorlton Kingfisher can be seen from this spot.
Three other popular shots on the Preview Night were: “smile” on the Blue Bench, “After The Storm” from the Flower Bench and “butties” on the Triangle Bench.  To see all the images selected for the exhibition together with some further information on the “The Chorlton Bench Project” just click here.
Many thanks to those generous souls who selflessly helped with the exhibition and to everyone who made the effort to come along to show their support.  It would have been a very lonely night indeed without you all, I had a fantastic time and I hope you all enjoyed the evening.  The free wine just lasted til the end thank goodness :-)  I have done a quick little montage from pictures taken on the evening (thanks Mike!).
I had loads of feedback notes in the suggestion box, I am so glad I put that up, I always feel a bit self-conscious writing in a comments book so I thought I would try out the box and see what happened.  There were many lovely positive words which are enormously helpful and encouraging to me.  I have posted a few below (I hope people don’t mind).  The handmade postcards sold well, certainly worth all the effort.
This time I’ve been much more organised on the publicity front.  I had fab support from Helen @ Marketing Doris.  I got a little feature in the South Manchester Reporter, though my cunning plan to ensure any picture of my good self would have to be tiny was thwarted as they upsized the small file I gave them and so not only was the picture of me printed, it was big AND fuzzy. :-(
Whilst putting up the exhibition, I got chatting to lots of people who were interested in the images.  This is just what I had been hoping for, folk were reminiscing on their favourite benches, gently chiding me for ones I had missed out,  stories behind some of them (the flower bench grew from a previous Arts Festial which had a nice symmetry).   I even met my local councillor Val Stevens …. a mine of information on Chorlton plus a few of the people who featured in the shots who came along to say hello; it was lovely to see their reaction to the finished work.
“The Chorlton Bench Project” Exhibition will be on display at the library until the end of May, normal library opening hours.  After that, I would love to take the work somewhere else and possibly produce a book illustrated with stories from the locals and with hand-drawn maps of the area and where you can find each bench.  I  have been contacted by a local school who want to write and perform a drama based on one of the benches (I shall let you know how that develops) and an idea that came up on Preview Night was for a web-based International Bench Project (where people could upload their own bench shots from around the world) which would be amazing.  So watch this space …..
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2 Responses to ““The Chorlton Bench Project” by Gill Moore. Preview Night, Chorlton Arts Festival @ Chorlton Library, Manchester.”


  1. 1 El

    What a brilliant idea for a project – I wish I’d thought of it! And some really lovely shots – did you shoot on film btw?

  2. 2 gill moore

    Hi El,

    Many thanks for taking the time to have a look at “The Chorlton Bench Project”, I really appreciate it when people share their thoughts by posting a comment, it is great to get feedback and I’m glad you liked the work. As regards the central idea of the project, I am sure other people have done a similar thing but I didn’t go and check as I wanted to have my own approach. They do say simple ideas work the best! All shots were digital, in fact I abandoned my usual pro-camera and shot it all on my smaller Ricoh GRX which shoots RAW, mainly because I didn’t want the subjects to feel too intimidated. Using a camera which looks similar to one they may use themselves definitely helps to get some candid results I think.

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