Women and Children; and Loitering Men at Manchester Art Gallery

Polly Checkland Harding
Shirley Baker, Hulme, 1965. © Shirley Baker Estate. Courtesy of the Shirley Baker Estate.

Women and Children; and Loitering Men at Manchester Art Gallery, Chinatown, 19 May–28 August 2017, free entry - Visit now

In an interview with the Guardian in 2012, British photographer Shirley Baker recalls the urban clearances in Manchester and Salford that became the focus of her work from the 1960s onwards: “There was so much destruction: a street would be half pulled down and the remnants set on fire while people were still living in the area.” The photographs that resulted might have focused on the architectural upheaval of the time – the rubble heaps and broken buildings with coal black bricks – and some did, but Baker mainly chose to use this as a backdrop for the social aspect of what was happening, turning her lens on the people the clearances were impacting. Capturing scenes of poverty, but also resilience, Baker documented the values and experiences of working class communities in photographs that were meticulously-timed responses to spontaneous moments.

Women and Children; and Loitering Men is an exhibition of Baker’s work at Manchester Art Gallery (previously at The Photographers’ Gallery in London): organised in narrative and thematic strands, the photographs are set to a specially commissioned soundscore of noises from the streets alongside Baker’s voice from a 1922 interview, arranged by Derek Nisbet. The exhibition also includes a series of colour photographs that have never before been exhibited, having remained unprinted in Baker’s archive since they were taken in 1965; displayed in a separate gallery, the images depict children playing on a rubble heap, an elderly couple picking their way across a post-clearance landscape. They evidence Baker’s experimentation with colour married with her ambition to document “the mundane, even trivial aspects of life not being recorded by anyone else” – to stunning effect.

Women and Children; and Loitering Men at Manchester Art Gallery, Chinatown

19 May–28 August 2017
Free entry

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
MFDF 2022
Festivals Until 2 October 2022,

Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2022

Cinema Until 3 October 2022, from £9.95

Not Just Bollywood at HOME

Music Until 5 October 2022, from £5.50

Sounds of Nature at The Stoller Hall

The Glass Menagerie at the Royal Exchange
Theatre Until 8 October 2022, from £10.00

The Glass Menagerie at the Royal Exchange

Women in Comedy Festival 2022
Comedy Until 10 October 2022, from £3.00

Women in Comedy Festival 2022

Electric Gamebox at the arndale
Childrens Until 22 October 2022, from £5.00

Electric Gamebox at The Arndale

Victoria Baths Guided Tour
Activity Until 26 October 2022, from £6

Victoria Baths Guided Tour

Illustration entitled ‘Because you cannot tame something so happily wild’ by Emily Hughes showing painted animals in a woodland setting
Exhibitions Until 30 October 2022, FREE

Picture This at The Lowry

vegan super club
Activity Until 25 November 2022, from £50

Supper Club at the Vegetarian Society Cookery School

Elizabeth Gaskell's House garden. Photo by Chris Tucker
Literature Until 11 December 2022, from £4.50

Book sale at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

autumn season at z-arts
Families Until 30 December 2022, FREE

Autumn season at Z-arts

skyliner
Activity Until 31 December 2022, from £9

Skyliner: Alternative Tours of Manchester