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NOT PHOTOGRAPHY is open from September 14-29 (image: Anna Barriball)

NOT PHOTOGRAPHY is open from September 14-29 (image: Anna Barriball)

Exhibition challenges limits and conventions of photographic image

29 August 2019

NOT PHOTOGRAPHY is curated by School of Art's David Penny and Sylvia Waltering

A new Manchester exhibition explores the limits of photography and challenges its conventions.

NOT PHOTOGRAPHY (September 14-29, Bankley Gallery, Levenshulme, Manchester) presents work from nine artists whose practices engage with what is understood as photographic image, but may not be photographs themselves.

Their interests extend beyond assumed representational limits of photography, exploring expanding relationships with sculpture, printmaking and performance.

image: Sam Mattacott

NOT PHOTOGRAPHY is curated by David Penny and Sylvia Waltering, two artists and senior lecturers in photography from Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Penny said: “We’re approaching photography from an unconventional direction. The title - NOT PHOTOGRAPHY- is more of a provocation that an exhibition statement or manifesto.

“It’s not like there is no photography in the show, there is, as well as sculpture, performance and computer generated video work. We’re inviting audiences to consider the broad range of ways that the photographic is at the centre of lots of different types of artwork as well as objects and images we encounter in everyday life.”

image: Hannah Leighton-Boyce

The show brings together work that negotiates practices across a broad field; from works that reference the first photogenic drawings to what the future of photography may look like through digitally rendered work generated by computer algorithms.

Waltering said: “In an age of fake news and image fatigue the selected work is not aiming to offer an objective representation of reality or the world we live in. The exhibition encourages the audience to respond to the materiality of the work presented in a visceral way.”

Exhibiting artists include:

  • Anna Barriball who is represented by Frith Street Gallery, London and has work in many international public art collections. In 2018 a retrospective of her work took place at Centre Pasquart, Biel/Bienne in Switzerland.
  • Becky Beasley is represented by Plan B, Berlin and Francescca Minini, Milan. In 2018 she received the Paul Hamlyn Award and has had a solo exhibition at Tate Britain. Her works in sculpture, installation and photography delve into the ambiguities and essential opacity of human experience.
  • Tom Lovelace is an artist whose practice is preoccupied with the photographic image, its histories and complex relationship with the three-dimensional, material world. Recent exhibitions include Interval, Flowers Gallery (London 2019), Dazzle Site, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2017-2019), My London, Copeland Gallery (2018).
  • Paul Deslandes & Tine Bek will be presenting photographic elements from their installation exhibited at Glasgow International 2018. Their collaborative multidisciplinary work combines photography, sculpture and video, investigating notions of perpetual motion, system degradation, freedom and constraint associated with movement.
  • Bethan Hughes works with computer-generated animation, sculpture, installation and print. She is interested in the political, cultural, social and sensual implications of screen-based representation.
  • Hannah Leighton-Boyce’s sculptural work ranges from site-specific and ephemeral actions, to drawing sound and installation. She has exhibited at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester and recently at PAPER Pavilion, Palazzo Mora, Venice Biennale (Venice, IT) and Each Toward the Other and Bury Sculpture Centre, Bury, UK (2019).
  • Sam Mattacott creates digital renderings of objects that can only exist within the memory of a computer, taken in the spirit of a documentary photographer. The forms he studies are born from a counter intuitive process within virtual 3D modelling.
  • Joshua Phillips uses photography to explore how symbolism operates across decorative visual culture and how ornament can function to provide a momentary platform for aesthetic pleasure within the everyday.

We’re approaching photography from an unconventional direction. The title - NOT PHOTOGRAPHY- is more of a provocation that an exhibition statement or manifesto.

Hannah Leighton-Boyce and Joshua Phillips are both alumni from Manchester Metropolitan. 

A private view will be held on September 13 (6-9pm). More information can be found at