Open Eye Gallery

Fréger & Stenram, Reviewed

Our Exhibitions Coordinater Jill Carruthers reviews our current exhibitions, featuring portraiture from Charles Fréger and manipulated imagery from Eva Stenram. The exhibitions finish on 26th August, so if you haven’t seen them already head to the gallery this week!

Charles Fréger: The Wild and the Wise

This exhibition was the first UK solo presentation of Charles’ work, displaying a wide breadth of some of his more recent works. Showing a total of 7 different bodies of work throughout the two ground floor galleries, the audience was presented with a very masculine representation of Charles’ photography.

Charles Fréger was selected to be one of the key artists for this year’s Look/13 Liverpool International Photography Festival for which the theme was exploring identity responding to the question ‘who do you think you are?’ Fréger is fascinated by sociology and masculine identity, which comes across strongly in the bodies of work that were on show in Open Eye Gallery.  One of the most interesting topics that comes through in his work is the idea of the collective, the brotherhood and the bonds form through common ancestry and training. I particularly liked the connections that could be made between the Légionnaries series and the Rikishi  - both displaying boys and men who had gone through and boy who were about to go though rigorous training and initiations in order to become part of the collective, earn the right to wear their insignia with pride and better themselves.

install image © Mark McNulty

My personal favourite was the Wilder Mann series. This body of work looks at ‘tribal Europe’ and heavily explores European Folklore. The images themselves portray native Europeans performing rites wearing traditional costumes made from furs and foliage from the local landscape, in order to bring good fortune, prosperous farming and good weather to their family, farms and villages. Some of the costumes look utterly ridiculous and comical, others are quite terrifying and spooky.  This body of work has been especially popular with our audience as the work is so accessible.

  Wilder Mann © Charles Fréger

Eva Stenram: Drape

In the Upper Gallery Open Eye presented the work of Eva Stenram, which was also the first UK solo exhibition for the artist. I particularly liked Eva work the most and I thought the Upper Gallery lent itself well to the display of her work, with a more intimate atmosphere and darker grey walls, it had a completely difference feel to the large, bold and bright images by Charles in the ground floor galleries. The nature of Eva’s practice is to work with photography instead of actually taking the photographs herself, and for this body of work she used found negatives and centrefolds from 50s and 60s porn magazines. Instead of the exhibition being a display of seductive, semi-naked women, Eva has cleverly negated the main object of the images by digitally manipulating the curtains or drapes that form the backdrop for the images, and used them to cover the women in the image, leaving only a bare leg or arm to suggest the figure underneath.

  EAP0084L_01.tifDrape © Eva Stenram

What I particularly like about this work is you can’t really appreciate it unless the process is explained to you – which may not be ideal for an un-invigilated space – but somehow it adds to the playfulness of the images, almost as though Eva only allows a privileged few to understand the true meaning behind her work.

Eva Stenram portrait © Mark McNulty

Open Eye Book Reviews

Open Eye volunteer Christine Levis reviews some of the new arrivals in our gallery shop. We stock a selection of monographs, group exhibition books and theory books alongside magazines & journals.

The Japan Series by Andreas Gefeller

Wires, poles, sticks, branches and other linear forms stretch and dance across the pages of this book. There is an elegance to these pictures that comes from closer inspection, with a sophisticated order to the lines and the photos themselves. An appreciation of the subtleties and overwhelming intricacies of seemingly jumbled masses of electrical connections grows the more you look.

Black or white backgrounds ensure the focus is fully on the lines and the components that connect them, leaving a fresh and clinical image. This as an exploration of the aesthetics of lines; done in a way that I have not seen before.



Boarding House by Roger Ballen

Painting, drawing, sculpture, assemblage, installation and living beings converge and are converted into singular black and white photographs.

This Boarding House is an unsettling one of neglect and horrors; covered in primal graffiti and animal skins, everything looks stained and dirty.  each picture has a narrative of its own, contained within extremely well considered compositions.  the abundance of items, markings, symbols etc. to look at and consider in each photograph make for a very rich and engaging book that can provoke endless conversation and inspiration.

A fascinating nightmare.



Ametsuchi by Rinko Kawauchi

Burnt out landscapes and vast evocotive scenes from Southern Japan, photographed by Rinko Kawauchi.

First inspired by the process of yakihata (controlled agricultural burning of land) in the Japanese region of Aso, Kawauchi’s photographs explore this annual ritual and the deeper feelings she experienced as a witness to it.

Exploring the connection between dreams and reality, the artist produces dramatic landscapes that are presented in the book as pocket pages, where certain images can also be seen inverted on the reverse.  This page structure also reflects Kawauchi’s idea that we are all connected, all sharing a certain time and space, even if our paths never cross.

This beautifully presented book displays a collection if striking photographs that are visually bold as well as engaging, and is a must for anyone interested in landscape photography.

First edition - £50


Browse our entire book collection in our Gallery Shop in Mann Island or visit our online shop.

And the winner is!…

Congratulations to Pam Holstein, our iPhoneography competition winner!

Pam’s image of a cat received 61 ‘likes’ in our iPhoneography competition album on Facebook! Pam has won a place on our iPhoneography workshop lead by Manchester based photographer Simon Bray.

A massive thank you to everyone who submitted an image! There are still places left on the workshop, we hope to see you there!

Book your place on our iPhoneography workshop HERE.

View the Facebook competition album HERE.

L-R: Charlie Pallett, Debbie Bennett, Gemma McGuinness, Hazel Edmunds, Helen Audley, Jody Sharkey, Karen Hewitt, Lee Hassell, Liam Stock, Marc Henry, Mark Shipsides, Mike McTigue, Peter Constantine, Phoebe Jones, Reuben Wu, Ross Butler, Roy Jones, Sarah Jane Etchells, Sean, Tracy Simpson, Wendy Nicely, Steve Maynard

Meet iPhoneography master, Simon Bray

Manchester based photographer Simon Bray is leading our iPhoneography workshop on Sunday 18th August at 2.30pm. This half-day workshop will help you get the most out of your iPhone’s camera and take you through the basics of photography. Simon will also introduce the best apps on the market and guide you through how to use them and how to display and share your images. Simon has previously ran iPhoneography events for Manchester Photographic, and we are excited to be hosting this workshop in Liverpool.


Hi Simon, tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, I live in Manchester with my wife Sarah. I work as a freelance photographer, shooting weddings, musicians, landscapes and pretty much anything else people ask me to take photographs of. I write about photography for a tutorial site called Phototuts+ and I also work in the music industry managing a couple of emerging bands.

When did you start taking photographs?

Like any inquisitive child, I used to borrow my parents camera as a kid, but it was when I moved to Manchester to study music nearly 7 years ago that I really began taking images that meant anything. Being from a small countryside village down south, everything in Manchester seemed so significant and I felt the need to try and capture it, which was a great way for me to assimilate into my new surroundings. I started posting images online and people seemed to enjoy seeing them just as much as I enjoyed taking them, so it grew from there.

Do you look for anything in particular when setting up a shot? Or is there something that draws your eye to your subject?

I’ve learnt a lot over the years, been through a lot of trial and error shoots and done a lot of reading which has enabled me to take more technically proficient images that maximise aspects such as composition, exposure and depth of field, but amongst all that. I try to cling to my instinctive nature that informs me when and where to click the shutter button. I think it comes down to what I feel are an exciting combination of light, location and expression, sometimes it just feels right and that’s when I get the most satisfaction from photography, because I feel that I’m expressing the scene before me as I see it. It feels more expressive than setting up a shoot, but that requires a vast amount of creative ability, which I’m gradually working on.

You said recently, when you stopped posting images to your blog you missed the interaction people had with them. What is it about this interaction you enjoy?

When I started out I was taking photos because I wanted to express myself, but over the years I gravitated to taking photos that someone else had asked me to take. this made a lot more financial sense, but around 6 months ago I realised that I wasn’t making the time to enjoy taking images that I wanted to take. I’ve made a conscious effort to commit time to feed my own creative needs, but actually that’s not enough because I want other people to enjoy the images I take as well and posting images online is a great way for me to publicly express my creativity and allow others to react and respond, which may well go on to inform the images I take in the future.

How do you feel the advancements in technology have impacted on photography and its direction?

I started out with a camera phone which was extremely basic, but as I walked around Manchester it allowed me to take simple images, and it trained my eye to spot photographic opportunities. I then got myself an old 35mm film SLR off eBay, this allowed me to engage with the process of taking photos, light, exposure and taught me to take my time when taking photographs. I now shoot professionally with a Canon 5DmkII using an L-series lens which produces sharper and more satisfying images than I thought I could ever take. So each technological development in photography has it’s own merits but on the whole there are more cameras in the world that are more readily available than ever before.  This allow more people to take photographs which is very positive, although it does mean the professionals are having to work harder and harder to earn a living, but that’s a conversation for another day!

What do you enjoy most about iPhoneography?

Well there’s a saying that the most important camera is the one that you have with you and actually the iPhone is probably one of the most popular cameras in the world now because so many millions of people have one in their pocket at all times, so there’s no excuse for missing that precious moment or breathtaking scene any more!

Do you have a favorite photograph taken on your iPhone and why?

My favorite would probably be this one taken of a stag at Dunham Massey. I’ve never seen a white stag before and it’s a shot I would have missed if I hadn’t had my iPhone with me, and there aren’t many things I dislike more than missing a great photo opportunity!

What do you hope participants will take away from the workshop?

I hope that people will feel equipped and confident to take more photos. When it comes to photography, there’s no right or wrong, but understanding the tools at your disposal enables photographers to make creative decisions in order to achieve the image that they desire.

Places on the workshop are limited, book your ticket HERE or ring the gallery on 0151 236 6768.

Simon Bray: WebsiteTwitterFacebookBlog

An Insight to Hand Colouring

Open Eye volunteer Rachael Nicholas shares with us her experience of our Hand Colouring Workshop, held in partnership with Ilford and lead by photographer Andrew Sanderson


I was lucky enough to grab a place on Open Eye Gallery’s sold-out hand colouring workshop for black and white photographs, lead by Andrew Sanderson, printer and author of hand colouring.

Hand colouring involves manually painting and inking black and white photographs to enhance their hidden colours and realism. The art of hand colouring has become a dying trade, and I was excited to be part of this rare opportunity to exercise my (albeit rusty) painting skills.

If you’re wondering why you’d spend time altering black and white photographs in an era of high tech printers and Photoshop, here is my answer.

I brought along digital gloss prints of The Albert Dock and waterfront in Liverpool, taken on 35mm black and white film, with a friend’s old Olympus camera. The workshop was held in the Open Eye Gallery’s spacious and inspirational second ground floor gallery space, looking over Canning Dock. With paints, prints and imagination at the ready, we began.

With the help of Andrew, we were shown how to apply the inks, sparingly and often in order to create brighter and more effective colour. Admittedly, my first few attempts were a disaster and resulted in stark red ships on water, reminiscent of a primary school art class gone wild.

Nonetheless, perseverance was on my side, and eventually I began to achieve desired results of subtle washes with bright skies and buildings. I liked the effect of loose and energetic colour that had freedom to move around the photo, echoing artistic purpose in oppose to creating a true-to-life photo.

The workshop was relaxed and creative ideas flowed, and Andrew was a great help to everyone taking part.

Without a doubt, hand colouring takes patience, persistence and a lot of creative thought. Yet the end result adds character, individuality and life to old or monochrome prints.

Image © Rachael Nicholas

Andrew Sanderson website:

Andrew Sanderson blog:

Ilford website:

Vintage outdoors meets modern Tokyo

F-stop are a relatively new company who create practical, hardwearing and good looking camera bags! We are excited stock a range of the Millar Series in the gallery shop, each bag is versatile and adjustable for different occasions. The bags are well padded, made from weather resistant fabrics and stitched using a heavy duty industrial cross stitching technique; F-stop are so confident of the durability of their bags they come with a 3 year manufacturer guarantee! The design team collaborate with practicing outdoor photographers to ensure each bag is functional on location and meets a professional standard. You can see the photographers in action in the ‘Life In Focus’ video series on the F-stop website.

Smokey Mountain in Midnight Navy & Silver Sage - £87

The greatest feature of the Smokey Mountain is the unique split-level design that separates your camera gear and other accessories, the padded insert can also be removed for everyday rucksack use. The bag will comfortably fit an SLR body and two lenses in the bottom half with enough room in the top half for other items you may need on location. There are also two external pockets and a tablet sleeve for additional organized storage. We love this bag as you can discreetly and comfortably carry your camera gear, ideal for busy locations.

Smokey Mountain

Smokey Mountain product video

Springfield in Silver Sage - £64.50

The Springfield can be carried across the body or around the waist to provide instant easy access to your equipment without having to take the bag off your person. The padded main compartment will fit an SLR body with a battery grip attached and one lens. Additional pockets can be found on each side of the bag and on the protective cover flap.


Shibata in Olive - £57.50

The Shibata fits an SLR body and 2 lenses and has an inside zipper pocket that will accommodate most 10’’ tablets. Perfect if you need to download and view your images on location. There is also a pocket in the main flap and two additional side pockets for storing smaller accessories. The padded, adjustable shoulder strap ensures the bag will always be comfortable and not interrupt whilst shooting. The camera inserts can be removed for every day use as a messenger bag with a secure tablet pocket.


Shibata product video

Brandon in Midnight Navy - £62.50

The Brandon is a classic messenger bag equipped with great storage for your camera gear and accessories. The main compartment will fit and SLR body and two lenses and there is a built in sleeve for a tablet or 13’’ laptop. Four additional pockets can be found on the top flap, on the back of the bag and underneath the top flap. As with the Shibata, the camera inserts can be removed for every day use as a messenger bag with a secure tablet pocket.


Brandon product video

To top it all off, send F-stop a picture of your new bag loaded with equipment and they will send you some extra F-stop gear for free!

Pop into the galley shop or browse the collection online.

Painting With Light

Summer has arrived: finally we can rejoice in the glorious, golden rays of the sun.  The sunlight seems to make each and every object glow with splendour.  Summer offers a photographer so many opportunities to make marvellous images: Martin Parr documented a typical British summer in his series Think of England, complete with sunburn, seaside resorts and cucumber sandwiches; when the blaring sun would set over 1920s Paris, Andre Kertesz would photograph Parisians from above, capturing their surreal, elongated shadows.  Summer can bring all manner of things to a photograph, whether it be its light, its joyfulness or its warmth.

A new opportunity to take full advantage of the sun’s grandeur has arisen for the creative and experimental photographer: Sunography Paper is now available at Open Eye’s gallery and online shop.  This cyanotype paper allows photograms to be easily created, using light from the sun to expose objects placed onto the paper, and then water which then develops the image.  Sunography allows users to be inventive with this simple yet effective technique of creating photograms, a forerunner of modern photographic processes.

imageSunography Paper

The cyanotype or blueprint photogram was initially popularised by botanist Anna Atkins during the nineteenth century, who used the photographic technique to document plant specimens.  Prior to this, William Henry Fox Talbot created a series of photograms by exposing lace and other materials onto photographic paper using sunlight, which he declared as his “pencil of nature”.

This early experimentation with camera-less photography and the photographic exposure of objects led to the work of many interesting and renowned photographic artists during the first half of the twentieth century.  Man Ray’s photograms (which he dubbed as ‘Rayographs’), for instance, saw the juxtaposition of everyday objects in order to create Surrealist images. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy manipulated translucent and opaque surfaces in order to create his ‘Constructivist’ photograms, which appear as abstract works. 

Somewhere between the end of the Abstract Expressionism period and the beginnings of the Pop Art movement, Robert Rauschenberg began experimenting with portraiture through the usage of blueprint photograms.  Rauschenberg made exposures of his subject’s bodies as they sprawled in elaborate and strange positions across the huge piece of blueprint paper, which he exposed using a lamp.  The ghostly-white subjects appear ethereal against the cornflower blue backdrop, framed by salvaged foliage.  Delicate and wraithlike, Rauschenberg’s subjects appear as though they are floating through the sky, sometimes appearing with whimsical props, or surrounded by an array of leaves and flowers.


Robert Rauschenberg creating a blueprint photogram, photographed by Wallace Kirkland © Time & Life Images/Getty Images 


Untitled 1951 © Robert Rauschenberg

These early photographic experiments of Rauschenberg’s seem worlds apart from the political and colourful work that he is perhaps best known for.  However, this experimentation lead to his usage of found and vernacular imagery alongside his own photographs to create silk-screen prints, paintings, sculptures and installations.

Following from Rauschenberg’s outstandingly beautiful life-size images, many other photographic artists have taken the photogram in different directions.  Mark Morrisroe transformed his hospital bathroom into a darkroom when he was dying of AIDs in order to produce photograms from images of his own decaying body.  Susan Derges exposes large pieces of photographic paper underwater, using the moon as a light source she produces tranquil images of moving water.  Adam Fuss allows the entrails and bodily fluids of dead animals to fuse and amalgamate with photographic chemicals as he exposes their bodies onto photographic paper.

Sunography paper is the perfect way to start experimenting with camera-less photography.  Get creative with materials and you may well be on your way to producing some amazing blueprint photograms.  Further information about artists working with photograms can be found in the book Shadow Catchers by Martin Barnes, also available at the gallery shop and our online store.

Eve Goulden

All images © Youssef Nabil

"Nabil’s distinctive technique of hand-colouring silver gelatin photographs removes the blemishes of reality and recalls the heyday of Egyptian film. Nabil disrupts prevalent notions of colour photography and painting, as well as assumptions about the type of aesthetics associated with art and those identified with popular culture. His particular medium evokes a sense of longing and nostalgia and allows his photographs to flicker between our time and another era."

Youssef Nabil is a modern master of hand-colouring silver gelatin photographs. This technique, first realized in the 1800’s to add a dimension of realism to black and white prints, may seem old fashioned but has been appropriated by artists for centuries. A mixture of dyes, watercolors, oils, crayons and pastels are used to apply color to the surface of the image. The application of paint to an image may question the viewers perception of photography as a true likeness and painting as an artistic impression, when in reality both practices are subjective. 

In Partnership with Ilford, Open Eye Gallery welcomes photographer, master printer and author Andrew Sanderson to lead a full day, workshop on hand colouring black & white prints. You are encouraged to bring your own black and white darkroom prints, digital prints, and old family photographs to work with during the workshop. Fiber based prints are not advised as the paint will blot when applied to paper. 

Booking is essential as places are limited, click HERE to reserve your place or visit our website for more information.

Open Eye Gallery are holding a ‘What is… Lomography?’  Workshop on the 22nd June.

Without ruining the surprise, ‘Lomography’ is an online community whose passion and creativity for analogue photography has inspired the revival of old quirky cameras and expired films.

Embracing spontaneous light leaks and imperfections of photos, our workshop will introduce you to the realm of alternative photography and give you the opportunity to use a Lomography camera and experience the colourful and unexpected results from your snapshots.

Lomography evokes the romanticism of vintage photography, with the modern twist of sharing your photos on social media for the world to see.

Don’t miss the chance to learn the in’s and out’s of the Lomography movement and book via our website for your place. The workshop cost £20/£15 and includes a free roll of film, 10% off Lomography’s Processing Lab and 10% off all purchases in the Open Eye Gallery shop on the day.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Father’s Day gift ideas

We have some great gifts available in our gallery shop for all different types of Dad this Father’s Day. Drop into our Gallery Shop where our retail assistants will be happy to help you chose the perfect gift or search for ‘Fathers Day’ on our online shop. Here are a few of our suggestions:


For the coffee drinking Dad


Mitch Epstein: New York Arbor - £48

Japanese Tea Cups (set of 2) - £10.50 – turquoise or grey

Tea for One Set - £32.50 – Grey or White


For the photographer Dad 


F Stop camera bag, Miller, Shibata - £57.50

Ilford Film 35mm, DELTA 400 B&W - £7.50

La Sardina Camera, 8 ball - £59.99


For the Dad who likes to travel

Scratch Map - £13.50

Bicycle Clips - £3.95 – Multi, blue or red white & blue

A6 Notebook - £2.95

Wallpaper* City Guide, Amsterdam - £5.95


For the well dressed Dad

Pictoral Tee - £25 – S,M,L,XL

Typographic Tee - £25 – S,M,L,XL

Great-looking graphic t-shirts available exclusively at Open Eye Gallery and designed especially for us by Smiling Wolf. They come packaged in a nifty gift box because if you’ve ever tried to wrap a t-shirt, you’ll know it’s tricky business (we also like to avoid crumpling!). 100% cotton.