Pity the Fab Collective. Having assembled a lovely exhibition and what is, perhaps, SevenStreets’ new favourite venue in Liverpool in St Luke’s Church – aka the Bombed-Out Church – the heavens opened. Ridiculously.
Making the trek over from Old Hall Street, your intrepid website tried to cobble together a route that took in covered shopping centres in our quest towards Hardman Street.
And despite creating a route that included the Met Quarter, St John’s Market and Clayton Square – an educational tour through several decades of Liverpool commerce – we still arrived soaked to the bone, wielding a knackered brolly found in The Dispensary (purely medicinal).
But the odd deluge of rain failed to put a dampener on proceedings, the latest Fab Collective exhibition and loosely themed around the idea of parties and partying, it’s called Having A Do.
The photographers, all local and mostly amateurs or semi-pros, have taken this theme loosely and produced a selection of images that vary significantly in tone, style and composition.
The venue is perfect in itself, with the feel of a sunken garden in a graveyard, a million miles away from the city centre. On a sunny evening it would be perfect, but the torrential rain also adds something slightly strange and wonderful.
It complements the exhibited pictures perfectly, and as night draws on the coloured lights make St Luke’s appear even more magical.
Side-by-side are Jen Alanson’s The Order and Dave Brownlee’s Double Vodka. The former catches the sense-overload conditions of trying to order a drink in a noisy, colourful, busy bar wonderfully.
The latter is a little more ambiguous, featuring a woman pouring a smaller bottle of vodka into a larger one. She’s wearing a dressing gown with the hint of a underwear. The photographer is reflected in a cabinet in the background; it feels rather voyeuristic.
Is it the aftermath of a party? Or is it prefacing one? There’s a flower in her hair – a wedding party? Who knows?
Third in the boozy triptych is Jane MacNeill’s Tequila Hangover; the hazy pain of a Sunday morning.
Similarly, Brian Roberts’ Creamfields captures the less glamourous side of the music event; namely being twatted the morning after over-indulging at an all-night dance event. SevenStreets can empathise.
Alan Cookson’s Happy Birthday Mum and Peter Goodbody’s New Year’s Eve are also placed next to one another, a canny bit of curation that emphasises the difference between them. Cookson’s subject, lined of face, looks fairly nonplussed at the cake, adorned with several dozen candles, being presented to her.
Goodbody’s subject, a young child in a beautifully-composed shot, communicates the promise of the night and – next to Cookson’s portrait – a life ahead.
At least, that’s what SevenStreets took from it. The beauty of such loosely-themed exhibitions, and minimal curation, is that it allows the viewer to project whatever they want onto an image.
Picking out a few pictures from the exhibition should in no way suggest that any of the others were substandard or pedestrian, but a couple more caught our eye. Again, the viewer’s gaze is the overriding factor in which ones stand out from the crowd.
Two other images that caught the eye included Sam Bytheway’s Ladies Day – the perfect evocation of a certain strand of what Liverpool is all about – and another by Pete Carr, featuring a gaggle of young women out on the razz, laughing despite being caught in a downpour.
Its name? Undampened spirits. Perfect.
Fab Collective: Having A Do
St Luke’s Church
12-4pm, Thursday to Sunday
• Main image is How To Throw A Party by Hollie Edwards
• Second image is The Street Is My Canvas by Ade McManus
• Third image is Tequila Hangover by Jane MacNeill