The Mersey Ferries operate between Liverpool and the Wirral peninsula. Seminal British photographer Tom Wood lived in New Brighton on the Wirral for 25 years, and for most days throughout the 70s and 80s he crossed the river. He photographed whilst waiting for the boat to arrive, on board the ferry and then later at the Pier Head.
These images, selected from 1000s of rolls of film, form ‘The Pier Head - Tom Wood’, an exhibition at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery, just two minutes away from the Pier Head terminal itself. Most of the images are being shown in the UK for the first time.
Wood’s Pier Head work was made at a time when being casually photographed was far less common than now. The 90 plus images on display show commuters, families, friends, the old and the young making the everyday journey across the river, over a kilometre from shore to shore.
Tom Wood doesn’t see himself as a reporter. As John Berger said in 2004: “What seems to me more important than this, is his capacity to enter as an artist into the profound, popular, often inarticulate but deeply human life of the people in the place he chooses to work in. He has ‘protected’ a Merseyside that is now eloquent and forever unloseable”.
‘The Pier Head - Tom Wood’ is accompanied by a project called Ferry Folk, from artist and producer Liz Wewiora. Working with Merseytravel as their artist-in-residence, she has been carrying out a socially engaged photography project on board the Mersey ferry and around the ferry terminals.
The collaborative work she has produced features photographs and anecdotes that tell the stories of the commuters, tourists and staff on board the Mersey Ferry. Various work from this project will be shown in three places: outside Open Eye Gallery, at Museum of Liverpool and digitally showcased on PhotoStories, Open Eye Gallery’s open platform for photographers.
‘The Pier Head - Tom Wood’ runs from 12th January to 25th March at Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool. A collaboration between Centre d’art GwinZegal, Guingamp and Open Eye Gallery. Curated by Thomas Dukes (Open Eye Gallery) and Jerome Sother (Centre d’art GwinZegal).