Side Gallery opens for all – by John Clarke ARPS

The grand opening of the Side Gallery in Newcastle took place on Saturday 1st October. For twenty months the gallery has been undergoing complete remodeling and the result is absolutely terrific.

Until I took to my power chair I used to attend regularly, but for four years or so I have been unable to access it.  Even before that I, and many others beside, used to wonder when climbing the lethal stairs, whether we would arrive in the exhibition or the RVI.

Now all is state of the art, with safe stairs, and, Oh Joy, a lift.  Downstairs there are computers to access the archive, and a library.  The gallery is now on the first and second floors, and is showing a very fine exhibition by a number of photographers on the theme of childhood.  There are a number of memorable photographs, I was particularly struck by the work of James Mollison, but there is much to enjoy and admire throughout the exhibition.

The staff at Amber-Side have worked incredibly hard to secure funding and planning for this new gallery, and it has really been worth it.  I even had the honour, as a long time supporter (and whinger), of inaugurating the lift.

My association with the Side goes back many years to when they generously supported the work I was doing in Crook.  In happier and wealthier times they could afford to stump up £200 to pay for film and paper, so I naturally feel very well disposed towards them.

It’s worth a special journey to see the new gallery and the exhibition….you’ll be blown away, especially if you remember the old version.  Remember this is the only gallery in the UK devoted exclusively to Documentary Photography, so we need to support it.

John A Clarke ARPS October 2016

Some of John’s early work, Allotment Folk, is in Members Galleries 2016 here

The Amber-Side website here

Pictured: John Clarke at the opening with Amber-Side’s Dean Chapman


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