A national collection of 377 images that tell the stories behind the shopfronts on the English high street.
Picturing Prescot with Tony Mallon, Photographer in Residence
Photographic artist Tony Mallon describes how he spent 2 years working with Prescot residents to reimagine the high street and create a contemporary portrait of the area. Tony's residency was supported by Open Eye Gallery.
Picturing Prescot collection
Photographs from Tony Mallon's Prescot residency have entered the Historic England Archive, the nation’s archive for England’s historic buildings, archaeology and social history. They are part of the new Picturing High Streets national photography collection.
Year 1: exploring Prescot's heritage
"My residency began with exploring Prescot Town Centre’s rich history and heritage with its residents."
Sharing memories, stories and photos
"At monthly Photography and Memory Fairs in Prescot Church Hall, participants shared their memories, stories and photos from their family albums.
"The attendees were mainly local residents (aged 50 and over). The fairs also drew people from further afield who grew up in Prescot or whose parents or grandparents did.
"Their archival photographs and stories revealed how the ‘high street’ played an important and fond role in their lives – from their first kiss, watching television for the first time through a shop window, to looking forward to your pick and mix sweets on a Saturday."
Private moments made public
"A series of public artworks showcasing the participants' memories, stories and photographs from their family albums were displayed at three sites in the heart of the town centre.
"It was beautiful to see these private moments, usually only seen or heard by family and friends, become accessible to the public. Shoppers and visitors found them engaging and could relate to the memories/stories."
Year 2: capturing Prescot today
"The second year of my residency focused on using photography to create a contemporary portrait of the area, with an emphasis on the 'high street’."
"I established a weekly photography club at Prescot Church Hall which gave local residents the opportunity to develop their photographic skills and confidence to document their ‘high street’.
"The weekly photography walks have revealed for many, Prescot’s rich and hidden history.
"I supported them to become the documenters of their own community, using a combination of street photography and portraiture techniques to tell their story."
Workshops and feedback
"The participants were enthusiastic about capturing a slice of social history – photographing shoppers, shop and business owners and their staff and the buildings and spaces they frequent most days to shop and socialise.
"The weekly workshops also involved the participants presenting their work to our group for feedback and advice."
Portraits by photography club participants
Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.
I have loved my time at Prescot Photo Club. My first experience of street photography and a little out of my comfort zone at first but now I really enjoy it. I've enjoyed being part of the group, sharing their different styles of photography and learning from them.
Work exhibited for Picturing Prescot
"Not long after the photography club formed, the participants had the opportunity to showcase some of their early work of the ‘high street’ on shop fronts in Prescot Shopping Centre to go alongside the Picturing High Streets Outdoor Exhibition.
"At the end of the residency, a selection of my and the participants' work were exhibited at:
- Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool
- Shakespeare North Playhouse, Prescot
- Shop fronts at 5-7 Eccleston Street, Prescot"
Please click on the gallery images to enlarge this selection of portraits taken by Tony Mallon during his residency.
Tony Mallon is a Merseyside-based photographic artist. He has nearly 30 years' experience of delivering socially-engaged art projects.
His work has been exhibited in galleries, public spaces and photography festivals including the Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool and Unseen Amsterdam.
He has a passion and a desire to connect and collaborate with people who are usually excluded from participating in and producing art. His work also focuses on people and place, and how communities define themselves.