In Haunt

A crowdfunding campaign has recently been launched to keep an acclaimed rock music photography exhibition ‘There is a Light That Never Goes Out’ on display in Manchester. Curated by legendary photographer Jill Furmanovsky and music writer Jon Savage, it features a number of rare images encompassing everything from the city’s punk era to ‘Madchester’, Britpop and the modern day.

Following a four month period in Manchester Central Library starting last year, the exhibition has since located to The Market at The University of Manchester - but £25,000 is needed to make it permanent. 

Joy Division by Jill Furmanovksy

The free exhibition first opened at Manchester Central Library in October 2018, showcasing the work of photographers past and present. These include long-term luminaries in the field such as Paul Slattery, Pennie Smith and of course the work of Jill Furmanovsky herself, known for her images of some of the most iconic artists in music history including Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd and Oasis. A photograph of Joy Division, taken by Jill, can be seen above. 

‘There is a Light That Never Goes Out’ plays an important role in documenting the people and places that contributed to Manchester’s musical status, especially in terms of rock music. From bands such as Joy Division, The Fall, Oasis and The Stone Roses, to key figures including Tony Wilson and venues like The Electric Circus and Band On The Wall, ‘There is a Light That Never Goes Out’ spans a range of classics.

Yet it also vitally celebrates the current thriving scene in the city, featuring contemporary artists such as Blossoms (pictured below, photograph by Debbie Ellis), Narcissus, Scuttlers, The Slow Readers Club and Cabbage as well as photographers still at-large such as Debbie Ellis, Karen McBride and Paul Husband (all of whom previously featured in our selection of photographers celebrating Manchester's underground culture article). 

Blossoms by Debbie Ellis

Crucially, the exhibition celebrates the importance of photographers in recording creative culture and making it available to future generations. Yet its time as a display in Central Library was only temporary – and now it is open for all to visit at The Market, a food vendor and exhibition space at The University of Manchester just off Oxford Road. In turn, The University of Manchester and Rockarchive.com, the website founded by Jill Furmanovsky herself in 1998, have come together to create a Crowdfunder; ready to raise funds to secure this location as a permanent home for 'There is a Light That Never Goes Out'. 

According to Jill: 

“This is a celebration of the Manchester music scene, past and present. The gritty images portray those bands and musicians whose music is so deeply rooted in the city, that you cannot imagine rock music or Manchester itself, being the same without them. We want the exhibition to belong in the city as a legacy to inspire future generations.”

Exhibition

£25,000 is needed to secure the exhibition's future here. Considering that the images provide a valuable record of how Manchester music has changed over time - the heritage value and educational impact is highly significant. According to Lemn Sissay OBE, poet, writer and Chancellor of the University of Manchester:

"Music is the heart and soul of Manchester. It’s powerful, rebellious and expresses the passion of our city, giving a voice to it, much like poetry. I’m delighted that the University has stepped in to offer the exhibition a home."

 Therefore the Crowdfunder allows people to contribute and show their support for the exhibition's continued life at the University, with a range of unique rewards available. For example, those pledging £15 or more will be invited to attend a Photography Workshop on band portraiture with Karen McBride, whilst £50 or more will receive a limited-edition print of Oasis by Jill Furmanovsky herself.

You can visit the Crowdfunder page at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/keep-there-is-a-light-that-never-goes-out-in-mcr#start

By Emily Oldfield 

Image 1 ©: Jill Furmanovsky/rockarchive.com

Image 2 ©: Debbie Ellis/http://www.asupremeshot.com/

Image 3 ©: Patrick Bourke

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