Portrait project launched at St Helens library

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As part of the Heritage Lottery Fund supported ‘St Helens Through the Lens’ project, St Helens Local History and Archives are asking for residents to become part of local history by contributing their own stories, memories and photographs to the archive.

In April, project artist Debbie Adele Cooper will create a new art installation from St Helens photographs that will take over Central Library.

An example of the potraits

An example of the potraits

Debbie is looking to include both old and new portraits, with the old ones coming from the George Street Photography Collection, and the new portraits to come from local people who want to take part.

To be in with a chance to be featured in this unique art work, residents can submit a portrait photograph of themselves against a plain background.

An example of the types of poses Debbie is looking for can be found at sthelenslens.wordpress.com/share-your-portrait.

Portraits can be submitted in colour or black and white and should be emailed to artsservice@sthelens.gov.uk with the subject line #StHelensLens.

Name, address and telephone number should also be included in the email, but these will not be published or shared. Residents can submit more than one photograph, but only one image per email.

Coun Richard McCauley, cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, said: “This is another great addition to the St Helens Through the Lens project, which has already seen so much positive interaction by residents.

“Get involved and be part of something historic!”

The artwork will be exhibited at Central Library in April, before touring around other local libraries and going beyond the borough in the future.

“By taking part residents are agreeing that their image may be used in the exhibition, shared in project promotion and preserved as a future memory in the St Helens Archives.

The George Street Photography Collection includes over 3,000 glass plate negatives that were discovered in a former photography studio in 1984.

“The images have now been digitised for preservation and use in art projects like this one. They include images of weddings, sport, events, factories and portraits from the 1950s, all taken locally, some of which are currently displayed in Central Library for public viewing.

Residents can also share their photo with libraries via Twitter @sthelensarts and @sthlibraries using the hashtag #StHelensLens, but submissions for the artwork must be emailed directly.