I used to do frequent photoshoots in galleries and museums, for a period of around eight years. I believe this was down to an incentive for free entry to museums and galleries and a budget to promote the venues in the North West through Renaissance North West. On top of this I would shoot regularly for Manchester Art Gallery and became quite at home there.
I did commercial photoshoots for the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, Harris Museum in Lancashire, Gallery Oldham, Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, Cumberland Pencil Museum, Norton Priory Museum and Gardens in Runcorn, the Greater Manchester Police Museum, The Grosvener Museum in Cheshire, Imperial War Museum North in Salford and Rossendale Museum among many more. I was very well travelled on the art and museum circuit!
I would be asked to cover school group visits and children’s workshops. For these photoshoots the style was very much reportage and I would wander around very discreetly capturing real moments. The key was to get shots of the children looking engaged and inspired with the art works whilst trying to capture a sense of the venue and the context. Permission to use the images was always sought beforehand.
Other photoshoots involved catching images of people engaged with art works within the galleries. For these photoshoots I would ask members of the public if they would like to be involved. I would choose them carefully, to be representative, but I’d also choose them based on the colours of their clothes so they would fit into the shot well. I’d often go hunting for a person wearing a certain colour and persuade them to be involved. People were almost always keen to help, probably because they were already quite relaxed from being in an art gallery environment.
One of my favourite photoshoots was at Rossendale, where I was given free rein to photograph artefacts in the store room – it’s amazing what you can find, plus I’m rarely given that amount of freedom!
I also travelled around many venues making illustrative portraits of the many professionals that work in the sector.