Whatever you do, don’t call Annie Lennox a photographer. She is a ‘visual artist’ and she has just opened an exhibition of collages situated in Salford, Manchester. The ex Eurythmics singer has been focusing on her photographic skills recently, using her mobile phone and has created a series of collages that are being exhibited at the Lowry hotel in Salford. Annie says: “I really got into photography four years ago. For me, pointing and clicking my phone is absolutely fine. People say that isn’t the art of photography but I don’t agree. You have to have a good eye and it’s the result that matters. I’ve wanted to do this for ages. I also started writing songs because I had this burning activity in my heart and head to express myself. This is a baby step.”
This is her first ever visual art exhibition, entitled ‘Glorious Manford Salchester’, which is a play on Manchester and Salford, and it is set to run until next week. If you are hoping to find pictures of Annie’s celebrity chums however, you’ll be disappointed, as the collages do not feature people. Annie said: “There is a severe lack of people in my pictures. It’s ironic as a lot of people take photos of me.”
Annie was inspired to create the visual arts exhibition when she was staying at the Lowry hotel and the V&A Lennox retrospective show House of Annie Lennox toured at the Lowry Centre in Salford Quays. She saw a photo exhibition of pop stars eating the food they loved in aid of the Teenage Cancer Charity.
She had the idea to create her very own exhibition by taking photographs of the things that she was drawn to in everyday life and contacted the Comme Ca Gallery, who put on the original art exhibition of the pop stars – owner Claire Turner, to discuss her idea further. Turner says: “She showed me images on a computer that she had taken with a phone.”
“Then Annie came up with the idea to turn them into photographic collages – playing with composition and visually contrasting imagery. You can read a lot more into them than first meets the eye.” Annie toured Manchester and Salford in a van for the day taking pictures whenever she felt particularly inspired by a building, a road or a certain image.
“I am fascinated by history and particularly the Victorian era,” says Lennox. “Manchester and Salford was the hub of the whole industrial revolution during the British Empire. I’ve got this bag of imagery like beads, and I just found the first image I was drawn to and then started to play with it. Then I introduced another image that would change the meaning of the first by clashing or harmonising with it. It’s the same as when I’m writing songs. I’ve always done it very intuitively, starting with one line. So there is a parallel between what I’ve been doing and songwriting.”
Annie says that the exhibition is a ‘thank you’ to the people at the Lowry ‘who were so kind to me’ and although the show only runs for a week, her prints are available to buy from the CCA website until the end of 2013. There are limited editions of 100 hand-signed prints which cost from £200 (small), £300 (medium) to £400 (large). There are two prints (Print 6 and Print 9) which are proving to be the most popular and it is believed this is because you can see Annie’s reflection in the pictures.
Annie draws on her connection with song-writing to explain how she goes about shosing what to take a picture of: “For me, the world is incredibly symbolic and visual. Photography is about light and shadow, and I think the songs that I have written over the years have been about the light – the emotional joy and beauty in the world. But we also live in the shadow and darkness. I want people to feel connected and transported by familiar things that might otherwise be unseen or overlooked. In my view, everything is contradictory, mysterious, inaccessible, insignificant, and yet thoroughly meaningful and profound at the same time.”
Glorious Manford Salchester, the Lowry Hotel (thelowryhotel.com) until 27 November.
Prints are on sale at commecaart.com until the end of 2013
All photographs courtesy: Annie Lennox