Picturing High Streets – National Photography Competition

FORMAT/QUAD in partnership with Historic England and Photoworks are inviting people to look at the high street as never before, charting and celebrating the history and experiences of the people and places that make up an often-overlooked fixture in all our lives, in a nationwide photography competition Picturing High Streets.

  • 50 photographs will feature in an England-wide outdoor exhibition in Spring 2023, including across Clear Channel advertising spaces, seen by millions
  • designer and retail expert Wayne Hemmingway MBE, artist Camille Walala and Ben Hope from Clear Channel to choose winning images
  • a year-long project, fortnightly photographic challenges will feature on dedicated Instagram channel @PicturingHighStreets until October 2023, the public submissions forming an unofficial record of the English high street and a selection entering the Historic England Archive
  • project part of a three-year commission creating a contemporary picture of England’s high streets as part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zone Cultural Programme, the largest ever community-led arts and heritage programme
  • images which showcase what this call out is all about can be downloaded from here

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England said:
“High streets are at the heart of communities. We know their future feels uncertain and high streets are facing a pivotal moment in their long history. It’s time to get out there, rediscover our high streets, and tell the stories behind the shopfronts.”

Shoair Mavlian, Director, Photoworks said: “Photoworks is super excited to see your images of the high street! Next time you’re popping to the high street why not take a snap and share. We are looking forward to seeing the breadth of photography from around the country.”

Peter Bonnell, FORMAT Festival Director said: “FORMAT is thrilled to be a partner is the multi-layered Picturing High Streets project. The high streets that we all know so well are incredibly important parts of our national identity and way of life, and deserve to be documented and celebrated. Our mission at FORMAT is to celebrate what photography can be, and the competition announced here will give members of the public a unique opportunity to share their images and experiences of the high street that is familiar to them.”

Over the next 12 months, people are encouraged to respond to a fortnightly challenge that uncovers the secret life of the high street, posting their own photographs on Instagram using #PicturingHighStreets.

From celebrating local high street heroes that make our places so special; capturing favourite hang outs and meeting places; to recording the hidden heritage of our high streets: the most evocative photographs will be featured on the Picturing High Streets Instagram channel.

A selection of photographs submitted before 21st December 2022 will form a national outdoor exhibition opening in Spring 2023 filling advertising space, outdoor exhibition panels and shop windows on high streets across England.

These photographs – alongside a selection of others submitted from January 2023 onwards – will also enter the Historic England Archive, the nation’s archive for England’s historic buildings, archaeology and social history.

Designer and retail expert Wayne Hemingway will join the renowned artist Camille Walala, best known for her large-scale murals that transform public spaces, as judges to help choose the winning images to go into the national touring exhibition. Ben Hope, Marketing Director at Clear Channel and Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England will also take part in the judging.

Designer, Wayne Hemingway, said:
“The most exciting high streets are the ones that allow creativity and experimentation to thrive. I’m looking forward to seeing how these images capture the high street’s reinvention.”

Artist, Camille Walala, said:
“Our high streets can be canvasses for culture and expression, transforming how people feel about their local place. I can’t wait to see how the images we choose for the exhibition can inject hope and positivity onto our high streets.”

Ben Hope,
Marketing Director at Clear Channel said
“We’re excited to support this major photography project that gets people back on to our high streets. We’re looking forward to sharing the successful images with millions of people across England.”

Follow @PicturingHighStreets on Instagram and post your pictures using #PicturingHighStreets. The national outdoor exhibition will open Spring 2023.

Picturing High Streets commission is produced in partnership with GRAIN Projects, Impressions Gallery, Open Eye Gallery, PARC (Photography and the Archive Research Centre), Photofusion, QUAD/FORMAT, Redeye, ReFramed and The Photographers’ Gallery.

Six artists, selected via open call, are undertaking residencies at six high street locations across England.  Tim Mills (Coventry), Natalie Willatt (Stoke), Suzanne St Clare (Chester), Tony Mallon (Prescot), Rehan Jamil (Tower Hamlets) and Khatun (Leicester) are all using a socially-engaged approach, working alongside local communities to create a contemporary portrait of England’s high streets between now and 2024. A number of the images they produce will become part of the Historic England Archive and feature in the outdoor exhibition.

Each of the six photographers will also benefit from mentoring support delivered by QUAD/FORMAT; Impressions Gallery; PARC (Photography and the Archive Research Centre); Redeye The Photography Network; ReFramed and The Photographers’ Gallery.

Clear Channel 

Clear Channel UK is one of the UK’s largest Out of Home media and infrastructure companies, operating more than 33,000 advertising sites nationwide and employing 600+ people in 13 locations.

Our mission is To Create the Future of Media, transforming our estate to the benefit of all our stakeholders, through data-driven innovations and infrastructure. Our purpose is to provide both A Platform for Brands & A Platform for Good, delivering on advertisers’ media objectives whilst having a positive impact on the world around us.

Find out more on clearchannel.co.uk and follow us @clearchanneluk

Judges’ biographies:

Wayne Hemingway MBE co-founded HemingwayDesign with his wife Gerardine in 1981 Their first success was in founding the iconic Red or Dead brand .Since then it has grown to become an award-winning multi- disciplinary design studio with a portfolio of successful projects that traverses disciplines and sectors, and with clients including international brands and household names as well as numerous towns, cities and places across the UK.

Camille Walala – Known for her ambitious, large-scale and explosively colourful interventions in public spaces, Camille Walala uses the man-made landscape as a platform for disseminating positivity. Her work encompasses full-facade murals, immersive 3D installations, street art, interiors and set design – characterised by a fusion of bold colours and playful geometric patterns.

Ben Hope is Clear Channel UK’s Marketing Director. A proud northerner and a member and champion of the LGBT community, he has over 10 years’ experience in the marketing and advertising industry across brands and media owners in both Out of Home and digital. He is passionate about well-designed, carefully crafted, clever and creative communications. A CIM and University of Teesside graduate.