The Photomarathon Sheffield exhibition on display at the Millennium Gallery until 28 January, is the end product of a competition which challenged three hundred participants of various ages, backgrounds and experiences to take six pictures of the city in one day, each corresponding to a different theme. Themes ranged from the relatively straightforward such as ‘pleasure’, to more abstract concepts like ‘out of place’. One picture from each photographer is displayed in the gallery, with one winner and one runner-up in each category, while the rest of the photos can be found online.
To the credit of the curators and judges, the pictures displayed are undoubtedly diverse, fluctuating between the jovial and gently witty – a bottle of Lea and Perrin’s sandwiched between two large bottles of Henderson’s Relish (in the aforementioned ‘out of place’ category), and the gritty and foreboding – back alleys behind pubs, grubby pigeons and barbed wire against the kind of dark grey skies that only a Yorkshireman knows. From the macro – cityscapes viewed from the balconies of apartment blocks, to the micro – a crack in the pavement with a piece of dried chewing gum, and from the socially aware – a homeless man enjoying the company of his pet dog, to the personal -someone’s half-eaten lunch.
The overall effect of the piece is to create a kind of ‘day in the life’ collage of experiences. The photographs, when juxtaposed against each other in the neutral space of the gallery, come together to paint a more objective and authentic view of Sheffield than any tourist board could create, a view which does not shy away from the less obviously appealing but perhaps more expressive features of the city and the lives which cross each other from within it.
Find out more here.
Words: Liam Casey