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7 reasons to see ‘Photie Man’ at the Walker Art Gallery

1 year ago

Known locally as the ‘Photie Man’, photographer Tom Wood has dedicated much of his career to the people and places in and around Liverpool.

His work has created a telling portrait of the city region and captured a definitive phase in its social and political history.

50 Years of Tom Wood at the Walker Art Gallery brings together five decades of photographs from the Irish man who moved to New Brighton in 1978 and spent a quarter of a century living and working in the city.

Watch above as Jay experiences the exhibition and chats with Walker Gallery boss Charlotte Keenan.

It’s a must-see, for reasons like these:

1. See Liverpool from a different perspective

You think you know the city – and well you might – but Tom Wood captures it from every conceivable angle including ones that you might not be so familiar with. From strangers and neighbours to family and friends and iconic moments in the Liverpool’s history, he’s got to know his subjects and captured the mood and feelings of the people and places, whether it’s from trips on the Mersey Ferries, match days at Anfield, or market day at the old ‘Greatie’ Market.

2. You’ll love reminiscing

Remember when…with photos over 50 years, there’s bound to be some that take you right back to when you were growing up, starting work, or getting out on the town. Highlights from the exhibition include renowned projects like ‘Looking for Love’ from the Chelsea Reach nightclub in New Brighton which you might have gone to, or pictures from Cammell Laird Shipyard which you might have worked at, so all the memories will come flooding back. But so many just catch certain times in the city’s history, the 70s, the 80s and beyond, which will have you recalling where you were and what you were doing then. And we all love a bit of nostalgia.

Photie Man - Walker - The Guide Liverpool

3. You might spot someone you know

Charlotte Keenan, head of Walker Art Gallery and curator of the exhibition, has been amazed by the number of people going to see the Photie Man display already, and loads of people are pointing out ‘that’s my mum’ or ‘that’s me’ in the fabulous photos that line the walls. Tom Wood travelled across Merseyside taking photos he said he couldn’t capture anywhere else including, for his series ‘All Zones Off Peak’, on buses across the city during off peak hours. So he might have caught you or someone close to you, and there’s only one way to find out.

4. Tom Wood is a bit of a legend

Tom Wood was so well known in the city because he loved people and got to know them, and that really comes across in the exhibition. He took wedding photos for people and charged them just the cost of the film, and he used to go back to the same places – like the Pier Head – week after week, month after month, with his camera in hand and so everyone got to know him, hence the affectionate nickname he was given. 

Photie Man - Walker - The Guide Liverpool

5. There’s a nod to football

In a city like Liverpool it’d be hard not to think it would be there somewhere, and Tom was a fixture outside and around Goodison and Anfield on matchdays. He’d photograph the crowds of footie fans and then, mainly, the men and boys on their way to the match, and he scored some belters.

6. …And nightlife from back in the day

Tom was a regular at the Chelsea Reach nightclub in New Brighton in the 80s and the photos he took reflected everything about a night out at the popular venue, from the people and the mood of the time to the fashions that were worn, and the quest to find love! Hannah Thomson whose mum, Tracey, was ‘the girl with the pink lipstick’ said she’d aways been proud of the picture Tom had taken: “She told us how Tom Wood had always been at the Chelsea Reach with his camera, and everybody loved getting their picture taken by him. ‘People didn’t have their own cameras back then’, she’d remind us.”

Walker Art Gallery Liverpool Eurovision - The Guide Liverpool
Picture – National Museums Liverpool

7. You get to check out the Walker too

You can spend hours looking at Tom’s amazing photos and their telling portrait of Liverpool, but you can stay even longer and see more of the Walker and its other amazing exhibitions too, from displays like Shimmer and Shine: Beaded Evening Dresses, 1920-1940 to its renowned collection of paintings – including masterpieces by Rubens, Rembrandt, Turner and Stubbs, pre-Raphaelite artworks by Rossetti and Millais, and impressionist works by Monet and Degas and contemporary works by Hockney and Wylie – and sculptures from the 18th century to WW1.

You can find out more and book your tickets to Photie Man: 50 Years of Tom Woods at the Walker HERE.

Get more culture news for Liverpool HERE.

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