“Hannah’s dedication to this work and getting to know the people in Fleetwood has helped to create opportunities for connection to shape the stories connected to Fleetwood’s past in ways that are meaningful to people in the present. Hannah has gotten to know people in Fleetwood across the high street and its businesses, in cultural organisations, care homes and in community environments. The exhibition of the artwork created in collaboration with Fleetwood’s residents reflects their heritage, stories, memories and connection to place in ways that are rooted deeply in the present and being proud of the place they call home.” Angelica Vanesse - Project Coordinator
This is a photographic commission as part of a socially engaged photography project created by artist Hannah O'Hara in collaboration with Photoworks and The Fleetwood HAZ Cultural Consortium and the Fleetwood Museum Trust. An exhibition celebrating Fleetwood's people, places, and heritage on the town's high street, sharing stories, words, and images gathered and created in collaboration with Fleetwood residents by the artist.
During her various stays in Fleetwood, Hannah O'Hara encountered a variety of personalities, which she captured in 33 black and white Fleetwood portraits. Nursing home residents are photographed in conversation or during daily activities, as are nurses and carers, or seniors who enjoy the seafront, fishermen, builders, shopkeepers, or clerics. Intimate stories were shared, and each portrait subject played an important role in bringing the series and exhibition here together. But they do not solely serve as a representation of Fleetwood. Those portraits also highlight the core middle and working classes who support British economy while away from London-centric themes, politics, or media.
The carefully positioned landscape images, interspersed among the portraits, not only capture aesthetically pleasing elements but also depict everyday streets and shops commonly encountered in numerous English towns.
“Participation is key to Hannah O’Hara's practice. It has been brilliant to witness the genuine connections that have emerged as a result of her artistic exploration over the past eight months. Hannah fostered strong connections with people from a diverse range of local communities, inviting residents across all ages and backgrounds to engage and contribute.” - Julia Bunnemann, Photoworks Curator
Through spending significant time at Fleetwood Museum over ten months, Hannah has used archival materials to create a photographic sculpture which celebrates the fishing heritage in Fleetwood. The sculpture has been created using 187 handmade origami photography structures which represent the years since Fleetwood was first created.
Each piece has been carefully selected using existing photographs of the fishing industry and which celebrates the many roles that residents had within this trade. Interspersed with the photographs are pages from The Seaman Handbook which was a crucial manual in training potential seafarers and which still exists today. Alongside these are articles which span one hundred years and which tell the story of the rise and decline of fishing in the area.