Common Ground: 30 Years of Football and Social Change on Merseyside

Football is a global passion that connects people from all walks of life.  It is a common thread that can be an important ritual spanning across cultures, religion, gender and race.  Football is synonymous with Merseyside. It is one of the most profitable cultural attractions that Liverpool has to offer, with a worldwide fan base that make regular pilgrimages to Anfield and Goodison Park.

 

This exhibition seeks to explore the ritualistic behavior of football fan culture and its development from the game of the working class in the 1980s to the riches of the Premier League today.

 

Captured by three photographers across different decades, the images will offer a unique insight into how the locale has evolved alongside the might of the now multi-million pound football industry and serve as a springboard to discussions about a wider fan culture that encompasses music, fashion and politics.

The Photographers

 

Tom Wood (Photographing at Liverpool/Everton from the late 80’s to early 2000).

Tom is a street photographer, portraitist and landscape photographer based in Britain. Wood is best known for his photographs in Liverpool and Merseyside from 1978–2001, "on the streets, in pubs and clubs, markets, workplaces, parks and football grounds" of "strangers, mixed with neighbours, family and friends." His work has been published in multiple books, been widely shown in solo exhibitions and has received many awards.

 

Wood has exhibited internationally including at the ICP, New York; the Shanghai Arts Biennale; FOAM, Amsterdam; and the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, and his work is held in major national and international collections.

 

Ken Grant (Photographing at Liverpool/Everton from the late 80’s to the 00’s).

Ken is a photographer who since the 1980’s has concentrated on working class life in the Liverpool area. He studied at the West Surrey College of Art and Design studying under Martin Parr and Paul Graham. Grant tends to work slowly, returning again and again to the same places and becoming a familiar sight to the people who gather there. Grant was the course leader of the BA (Hons) Documentary Photography course at the University of Wales, Newport between 1998 and 2013, when he became a lecturer in the MFA Photography course at the University of Ulster.

 

Grant has exhibited nationally and internationally including Kunstbezirk Galerie as part of Stuttgart Fotosommer 2013; Gwinzegal, France. His work is held in leading international collections and is represented by James Hyman Gallery, London. He now lives on the Wirral.

 

Tabitha Jussa (Photographing at Liverpool/Everton from the mid 00’s to present).

Tabitha is an artist working within photography, with a keen focus on socio-political issues. Her photographic career began in Liverpool where Jussa now lives. After studying Documentary Photography under Ken Grant at University of South Wales, Newport, Tabitha has developed an alternative approach to the tradition of photographic documentation through the construction of large-scale pictures – the metaimage.

 

Jussa has exhibited nationally including the Openeye and Bluecoat, Liverpool; The Grundy, Blackpool; Ffotogallery, Penarth; Royal College of Art, London; and internationally at ShangART Gallery, Shanghai. Jussa was the recipient of the Liverpool Art Prize 2014 Judges and Peoples Choice award.

 

 

Common Ground

30 years of Merseyside football

The change in football in the last thirty years has been extraordinary.  When Tom Wood began photographing around Goodison and Anfield in the mid 80’s, football was the pastime of the working class, looked down on those more well off in society.  The media classed it as the home of hooligan elements and a scourge to society. Wood’s street style of photography is unapologetically up close and personal, generating intimate yet at times awkward glimpses of life around him.

 

As Ken Grant began to document Everton and Liverpool fans, the sport was on the cusp of change from the terraced stadiums to all-seater stadia.  The emergence of the Premier League brought untold riches and yet, despite these riches, the price of match day tickets has outstripped inflation by 700% since the birth of the EPL in 1992. Grant’s approach is steady and considerate with an overwhelming sense of acceptance amongst those he photographs, shooting on black and white, medium format film, synonymous with the traditions of the documentary genre.

 

Tabitha Jussa began photographing and capturing events in the late 00’s, and her photographs encompass the beginning of the KEIOC campaign to keep Everton within the city and the Spirit of Shankly’s fan activism, which did much to make the current owners of Liverpool FC promise to make ticket prices affordable to local fans.   Although Jussa started out as a documentary photographer her interest in fusing together traditional and contemporary approaches to photography has brought about her own distinctive style. An observer’s distance has been adopted, taking in the scene as a whole, resulting in all-encompassing large-scale landscapes.

 

The Common Ground exhibition will be at the heart of the Art of Football season of 2018 to coincide with the World Cup in Russia.

Venue: The Colonnades Unit 7, The Albert Dock, Liverpool L3 4AA

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Tabitha Jussa - Freelance Artist / Photographer