• Mark Attwood

FOREWORD: Liz Wewiora

The idea of adding forewords to my work is always at the forefront of my process when making a book, the foreword acts as a gateway to fully understanding the context of the work and for me, it serves its purpose as an introduction perfectly. The author of a foreword is always crucial to me, so I always aim to find an author who is not just highly knowledgeable but is actively involved in the themes of the work I have produced, thus making for easier collaboration between author and photographer and for generally more in-depth analysis and responses to the work. From the early stages of the production of 'Bradford-by-the-sea', I was in contact with Liz Wewiora, head of engagement at Open Eye Gallery and lecturer at the University of Salford, we discussed meeting up to talk about the master's degree that Salford offered, which we had the chance to do when I visited the gallery for the LOOK Photo Biennial in 2019. We ended up talking about my previous work and project ideas in the future, of which I mentioned briefly my next project idea, with it being much more socially engaged than previous works. Eventually, after talking for a while via email and our meet in person, I asked Liz if she would be able to work on the foreword for my book, having perfect industry knowledge of this very particular genre, and herself being a photographer within that genre, it felt like the right choice. She said yes. the text below is that foreword, taken from the early pages of 'Bradford-by-the-sea'. "Photography is often seen as a singular activity, that of the photographer observing and documenting ‘the other’. Photographer Eliza Gregory, however, quite rightly highlights that some of the most interesting if not often hidden elements of photographic practice consist of “relationships, compassion, patience and listening”. Although documentary in its format, Bradford-by-the Sea, is one such photographic project that seeks to highlight the multiple voices present when reflecting upon the migration of community from one place to another. Theorist Jacques Rancière asked, when we make a visual statement about the people and place around us, “from what position do we speak and in the name of what or whom?” Attwood in this instance does not simply speak on behalf of the ‘the other’, but part of his own local context. As an individual with his own Bradford-by-the-sea story, the photographer exists within the very fabric of the community in which he is documenting. Moreover, the project is formed from Attwood’s family’s and other local residents’ narratives of their move from inner-city Bradford to the seaside town of Morecambe. The work exists as a series of intimate personal encounters through photography and shared individual stories. Although focused on the personal, the project speaks more broadly about the wider socio-political and economical factors, which drive us to relocate at some point in our lifetime.

Why do we leave one home for another? Is it for an adventure, for following the love and loss of those closest to us, or for a chance to seek something different from what we have always known? From stories of young romance and football pride to neglected surroundings and nostalgia of once booming trades, Bradford By the Sea reflects the ups and downs of building a new home and finding your place within that community. Attwood has longer-term plans to expand the opportunity for participation further. He hopes to invite residents, whose history resonates with his own to not only contribute through personal stories but through contributing their own imagery. 2020 will mark the year in our global history where a pandemic shook the very notion of community and social engagement to its core. Now then, more than ever, we must celebrate and continue to push forward projects, which share the collective storytelling of people and place, from wherever you came from and wherever you now are." Liz Wewiora's work can be found at: https://www.elizabeth-wewiora.com/

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