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20 Year Party People: Photography exhibition documenting Manchester’s party scene launches at Station South

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Featured image: Anna Klekot


Following the success of their inaugural show as a duo at New Cross in Ancoats, Manchester photographers Richard Kelly and Jonny Black have launched their second exhibition of ‘20 Year Party People’ at Station South in Levenshulme.

The exhibition is a collaboration focusing on the two photographer’s own experiences of the Manchester party scene 20 years apart and will run until 25th May.

The Mancunian photographers from Burnage and Didsbury reveal how alike their experiences have been despite growing up a whole generation apart.

Richard’s work is mostly from the early 2000s and up to  2014, while Jonny’s work is from 2017 onwards. Both photographers shot their images in a documentary style on 35mm film which helps to further draw the similarities between the pieces.

The work is experienced as intertwined throughout the exhibition on Station South’s walls. Hung without captions, the stand-alone photographs leave the viewer guessing which work is whose, showing that there’s a huge amount of similarities between the atmosphere in each piece, despite the time difference between them.

In the main room of the heritage railway station, the grid-style photographs coexist within the space that they have been put in. Some pieces reside in the main room of the heritage railway station-turned-community cafe bar, though the highlight of the exhibition can be found in the conservatory room, overlooking the famous Fallowfield Loop, or ‘floop’.

The exhibition is completed by the disco ball situated in the old train station, intermittently illuminating the photographs with the reminiscent quality of the dance floor, bringing them back to life.

Richard said, “We thought it’d be quite nice to put them all together to exhibit the work and show that while some things change, quite a lot of things stay the same.

The beauty of Manchester is that when you’ve been around the scene for a long time like I have, people always say ‘the Manchester club scene is dying’ – but it’s just changed and evolved.”

‘20 Year Party People’ is Jonny’s first exhibition. The photographer, who is a resident at Come Through Lab in Ancoats, explained how he captured “this day and age, still doing it on film just like Richard but in different places.”

The photographer’s work is very organic, shot on point and shoot cameras across different places around Manchester. A lot of the work displayed at Station South highlights the wealth of independent venues found within the city.

You can view the exhibition at Station South in Levenshulme for free until 25th May.

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Anna Klekot

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