The Cass, London Metropolitan University has opened Face Up, a major exhibition of celebrity portraits at the The Cass Bank Gallery in support of Terrence Higgins Trust. The work displayed will be auctioned on the 1st December raise money for the charity on World Aids Day 2015.
Face up features a body of 100 works including a collection of found archive photographs and newly taken portraits by Cass students, staff and alumni. The images cover an eclectic range of photographic approaches, depicting personalities with significant and diverse contributions to contemporary cultural life. Portraits on exhibition from the 1980s and present include Richard E Grant, Gilbert and George, Stephen Fry, Ian McKellen and Matthew McConaughey among others
The Faculty has a longstanding relationship with Terrence Higgins Trust, beginning in 1987 with the photographic exhibition To the Lighthouse,hosted at Camera Work (now Four Corners), and opened by Jimmy Somerville - whose portrait is exhibited in this 2015 show.
To the Lighthouse was followed in 1990 by Portraid, the first portrait exhibition at the Cass, that served as the inspiration for Face Up 25 years later. Portraid saw staff and students photographing influential celebrities of the time, with an auction to raise money for the charity London Lighthouse, which later became part of the Terrance Higgins Trust.
Images from this exhibition were discovered 25 years later in the university’s East End Archive. The photographs inspired Sue Andrews, Reader in Photography at The Cass, to pay homage to the project on its silver anniversary asking current students to approach new and old subjects to sit and re-sit for photographs.
The project embodies the ethos of The Cass, which promotes activism through art and encourages social engagement through creativity. The project has engaged all Cass photography students who have been contacting celebrities to sit for new or repeat portraits to raise money for the charity.
Participating photographers include Mick Williamson, Lesley McIntyre, Trudy Barry, Louis Burrows, Andy Lawson, Nigel Maudsley, Richard Coward, Susan Andrews, Heather McDonough, Paola Leonardi, Rod Morris, Jacky Chapman, Abdi Ismail, Steve Double, Vanda Playford and Emmanuelle Waekerle.