New Wave 11: Ways of Looking

I take a two-carriage toy train from Manchester across the misty Pennines to Bradford. First a quick detour to visit the National Media Museum (unfortunately a few days too early for the opening of their Tom Wood retrospective) and then the short walk to Impressions Gallery to meet Director Anne McNeill. Impressions was founded four decades ago so doesn’t fit the remit for these interviews on the so-named New Wave of photography organisations. Instead we met to talk about Ways of Looking, the photography festival that Anne co-founded in 2009 with Nicola Stephenson of the Culture Company.

The first Ways of Looking took place in 2011 and Anne (with others) has since been working hard on securing a future for the festival. Like other festival aficionados interviewed for this series she stresses the importance for a festival to have a sense of place. A quick assessment of the infrastructure that Bradford already provides for photography and you can see why those involved with Ways of Looking think it’s a good site for the festival. The next one is due to take place in 2014 with the theme of ‘Beauty’. Anne commented that it’s not often something associated with Bradford. But as I made my way out via Impression’s latest exhibition of Yaakov Isreal’s large-scale images, the city was looking all right to me.       Laura Guy


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