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The Wapping Project Bankside Presents Photography by Stephen J Morgan
"Where My Grandfather Drank # 1” 2002. Digital ctype, print, 100 x 80 cm, mounted on aluminium, signed and dated on verso, edition 1/6.
LONDON.- In a series of understated and eloquent photographs, Stephen J Morgan encapsulates Birmingham with a measured beauty, capturing its Irishness and its brutal ugliness. Falling into the centre of mainstream European fine art photography, Stephen’s work is none-the- less a quintessential account of the world and habitat of the immigrant Irish working class as in the photograph above, Where my grandfather drank, 2002.

He writes: “I have always been intrigued with memory, its abstract nature and the relationship it has with photographs and their relationship to me. Over the last seven years I have worked in two ways. The first, as in the series’ ‘I Was Born an English Catholic’ I photographed what I knew and where I came from. I took photographs in the Ladywood Social Club in Birmingham, the three bars where my grandfather drank and the two stages he sang on. I didn’t want to just document the club; I wanted to show where he stood and where he sang. Five images were enough, no more, which was a revelation to me. With this work I also looked at my relationship to religion, Irishness and how those two things shaped me and gave me my identity.

The second, which I think came as a reaction to looking inwards, made me look outwards at the extraordinary within the everyday.

The mundane, like a child’s toy plane stuck in a hedge from the series ‘All Very Beautiful But Not Exactly What I’m Looking For’ or a cup being washed in a sink from the series ‘On Any Given Day’ to the monumental, like a tower block rising out of the fog from the series ‘Ladywood Fenian’.

Both ways of working, I think, are ephemeral; time passes. With the first I attempt to bring fragments of my life to the attention of myself and with the second I hope to bring fragments of the everyday to the attention of the viewer. However, with my latest series, ‘Ladywood Fenian’ I feel the work spans both ways of working.

Established by Jules Wright, the founder and creative director of the award-winning Wapping Project in East London, the Wapping Project Bankside is a new commercial gallery space dedicated to championing photography and film. Artists represented include: Susan Meiselas, Deborah Turbeville, Lillian Bassman, Peter Marlow and Elina Brotherus. Essentially my work stems from who I am, where I’m from and how I got here”.

London | Stephen J Morgan | The Wapping Project Bankside |

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