Have you heard about the bird? The bird, the bird is the word! So goes the sixties song by The Fut.  In this case, we bring you not music but photography from the Two Old Birds with Cameras.

Jill and Dawn, whose images are drawing attention across the country, have turned their passion for photography towards a subject matter that sometimes stays in the closet. Inspired by 2014’s LBGT exhibition at the Winter Gardens, curated by Garth Gratrix, these images portray a much more intimate content as the pair investigate inclusivity and community perceptions.

Jill and Dawn have photographed a number of volunteers, who were recruited through social media, to curate a number of powerful images from the LGBT community in Blackpool. The images dig deep into a personal and intimate world, asking questions through their images and placing quotes from the subjects next to the images. Some quotes are painful, some are joyful. The exhibition brings us to question what we might go through if we fell in love with someone of the same sex, how we would feel about being labelled or how a transition into a same sex relationship might work.

When I entered the gallery at the Galleon Coffee Bar on Topping Street for the launch, I found it packed with individuals taking in the  strong visual images displayed across the walls. It was a relaxed and informal space with a friendly group. Chat flowed freely as we attempted to identify which images belonged to which photographer.

The images immediately grab your attention, pulling you into their narrative, making you want to know the subject, to hear more of their story. I looked around for information to accompany their images but realised that to find out more I would need to chat with the artists. But there were so many people wanting a chat on their opening night it was hard to pin them down. The exhibition brought to mind Nan Goldwin or Diane Arbus. I wanted more: a book, a magazine, a slide show of the work, a larger window into the world of individuals who are still sometimes not accepted into mainstream society.

Dawn and Jill are both very open individuals. They were chatty and talking about their inspiration, laughing if we asked which image belonged to whom. I hope their project continues with this subject matter, it has such huge scope and carries enormous emotion. I want to see how the models’ lives pan out and bring more photographers into the ongoing study to keep the LBGT flag firmly flying.

Inside Out by Two Old Birds with Cameras runs from February 6 to 28  at The Galleon Cafe Bar (upstairs).

Find out more about The Two Old Birds: www.facebook.com/2oldbirdswithcameras

Jill: www.facebook.com/redsnapperphotography

Dawn: www.facebook.com/DmanderPhotography


Images by Two Old Birds with Cameras and C J Griffiths Photography.

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
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