Clear Channel UK has partnered with Historic England to display winning images of a nationwide photography competition, showcasing our high streets.
Opening today (22 March), a major new outdoor exhibition called Picturing High Streets tells the stories behind our shopfronts. It celebrates our high street heroes, captures familiar scenes and invites audiences to consider the value and role of their local high street.
Clear Channel will be displaying the winning 65 images chosen from over 1,000 entries across its digital Out of Home screens as part of this major outdoor exhibition that will travel across England.
The exhibition is part of a three-year project by Historic England and Photoworks, in partnership with national and regional photography organisations, to create a contemporary portrait of England’s high streets.
At a time when our high streets are continuing to change rapidly, this exhibition invites the public to reflect on the role of the high street. It also considers the history and experiences of the people and places that make up an often-overlooked fixture in all our lives. From lively market traders to reflective coffee drinkers, friends meeting up in favourite shops to individuals taking walks, light festivals to nights out the winning images show the stories behind the shopfronts.
Including street scenes, portraiture, candid shots, architectural photography, special effects, black and white formats and documentary styles, this new collection celebrates photography in all its forms. It includes photographs from a great range of participants including from young people in workshops, amateurs using camera phones, artists, camera clubs and professionals.
In addition to digital Out of Home campaign, the winning 65 photographs will tour towns and cities across England from 22 March. The images will be shown alongside works by resident artists in ten locations around England, meaning that the exhibition will change to reflect each location it appears in.
This major national outdoor exhibition kicks off in London in the form of projections at Soho Photography Quarter off Oxford Street, next to The Photographers’ Gallery (22-29 March), Derby as part of FORMAT23 photography festival (16 March – 9 April), Bristol (22 March – 1 May), Hastings (22 March – 23 April), Middlesbrough (22 March – May) and Prescot (22 March – 23 April). The exhibition will then travel to Norwich, Bradford and Stoke-on-Trent.
The full 65 images can be viewed online here. They were judged by designer and retail expert Wayne Hemingway MBE, artist Camille Walala, Clear Channel UK’s Marketing Director Ben Hope, Director of Photoworks Jonathan May, and Historic England Chief Executive, Duncan Wilson.
Ben Hope's favourite image was Voodoo Ray’s by Carl Gray – London:
“I think this shot speaks to the future nature of highstreets, despite looking more like a heritage photo. They come in many shapes, sizes and serve different communities and needs in different ways, but places and people are changing. Breakfast, lunch then dinner (or dinner then tea where I'm from) and even in the final moments of the last people leaving, there can still be a great independent business providing a vital bite to eat on the way home. High streets need to adapt to serve those changing needs, but I hope there are always still places like Voodoo Ray's nearby.”
Since September 2022, people across England have been responding to themed fortnightly challenges, from “high street hang outs” to “bright lights to dark nights” and submitting their photographs on Instagram under the hashtag #PicturingHighStreets. All entries create an unofficial archive documenting a year in the life of the English high street on Instagram, and the winning photographs will also enter the Historic England Archive, the nation’s archive for England’s historic buildings, archaeology and social history.