Made up entirely of Polaroids taken by the people of Stretford over the course of a year-long “photo-relay”, the exhibition is a love letter to the town from the people that live there.
The project has been curated by artist Simon Buckley of Not Quite Light fame.
In July 2021 members of the Stretford community, Simon and the Stretford Town Centre team embarked upon a journey to document a year in the life of Stretford, seen through the eyes of those who live in the town, using a simple Polaroid camera.
Simon worked with each resident to teach them how to capture the perfect photograph on the Polaroid camera which was gifted to the community by Bruntwood and Trafford Council.
After the first session, the photographic relay began, and each week participants took their turn with the camera, capturing their own ‘photo diary’ of their life and town centre that week.
Speaking to I Love Manchester, Simon said: “I’m genuinely delighted by the final collection of polaroid images, and the stories they tell when all placed together.
“The project encapsulates a moment in time creating a unique view of everyday life through both images and sounds.
“Stretford has an extraordinary community spirit, and this is very evident when you see the work, and the enthusiasm with which it was created.”
The From Stretford With Love exhibition will be unveiled at Stretford Public Hall on 16th February when the photographers from the community will be invited for a special preview.
Each collection of photographs has been curated by artist Simon Buckley, and will be shown alongside a soundscape of voices from participants mixed with a specially created soundtrack of Stretford.
The material captures a huge range of experiences and viewpoints, with each artist bringing their own unique vision as to what life in Stretford is like for them.
From family tea and community parades to signage, landmarks, beloved pets and long-lost graves.
The resulting collection is a rich social and artistic record of life in the town.
Together, the imagery and the soundscapes will create an authentic, immersive, people-powered tribute to Stretford via this one-of-a-kind exhibition.
Simon continued: “For many years I lived close to Stretford, and still have many friends there.
“Seeing Stretford grow, and witness such community triumphs as the Public Hall be restored, has been inspiring, and so I was delighted to be asked to take part in From Stretford With Love.
“To be able to help others take pictures, so that they could share their vision of the place in which they live, was an enriching experience, and it’s been fascinating to see the Polaroids as each set has in turn been handed in.
“What emerges is that the people who live in Stretford truly love it, and value the community that they are part of.
“The soundscape that I’ve made to accompany the exhibition, featuring interviews with several of the participants, reflects the importance of community to Stretford.
“The project has created a unique snapshot of Stretford as it undergoes some of the most significant change in its recent history. “