At Cotton On Manchester we are all about promoting what’s on and who to follow in Manchester’s art and creative scene. This is the start of our monthly feature ‘Manc of the Month’ where we’ll promote someone new to check out, someone whose work we like, or has something cool that’s worth seeing. So this month its Manchester based documentary photographer, Luke Saxon.
Luke is currently one of our favourite photographers. His work is a bright and bold, light hearted look at British life. He has a fantastic eye for detail and capturing that impossibly prefect moment.
Alongside fellow photographers Mat Unworths and Chan-Yang Kim, Luke is currently showing his work at Sloe Gallery, in an exhibition named ‘And Then There Was.’ This exhibition is the collaboration between the gallery and the art zine ‘Then There Was’ and is on till 23rd December. We chatted with Luke to find out how the exhibition is going and what his plans are for the future, and why he’d bring Jim Morrison back from the dead.
Luke Saxon: “The exhibition is currently going really well. We had a very good turn out on the opening night and people responded to the work very positively. It was really great to work with ‘Then There Was Us’.”
Cotton On: How did you decide on what images to use?
“We all have a similar style so I think the idea was to curate a show that documented the North West. I decided on my images by picking ones I thought represented Britain, especially the north. I wanted to create a sequence that worked well together but also captured the banality and obscurity of contemporary British Life.”
It is obvious looking through Luke’s work that he enjoys taking photographs of the everyday. He says he enjoys driving somewhere, exploring the area and taking photographs as he goes. It is easy to similarities between Luke’s work and that of one of his influencers Magnum photographer Martin Parr.
LS: “I’m always finding new practitioners that inspire me. I think my main influences came from looking at William Eggleston and Martin Parr, but I also love Jeff Wall’s style. My main source of inspiration is to read photo books and even look online and on Instagram. There are so many amazing photographers out there.”
We asked Luke who else we should check out?
LS: “Richard Billingham, especially his book ‘Rays A Laugh.’ Then I’d say check out Alec Soth, Mark Power, Larry Clark. I also would love to recommend some photographers I follow on Instagram, which I think is such a great way to meet new practitioners – Robin EK, Then There Was us, Jim Eyre, Billy Cress, Daniel Arnold, Dean Davies, jokemichaels, Lark Foord and Documenting Britain.”
CO: What equipment do you use for your work?
LS: “I use a mixture of film and digital. I have a Canon A1, which I love, I’ve had it for years. But I also have a Fuji x-pro 1 which is my main camera. I find that using film is a luxury that I sometimes can’t afford so digital is a great way to mix it up and develop my style.”
When speaking with Luke about Manchester’s art scene, we agreed that it’s getting a lot better.
LS: “Exhibitions are popping up all over the place and all the work is really good. The last show I went to was a photography show by a creative platform called Village Green. It was a really good show and the work was very nicely presented. I think it’s really important to get to as many shows as you can so I’m always on the lookout for exhibitions in Manchester.”
Not only is Luke currently exhibiting his work at Sloe Gallery, he has also created a self-published photo book ‘Hit The North’, and he has a very exciting new project in the pipe-line.
LS: “I found creating the book very enjoyable. It was great seeing the finished book and having a sense of accomplishment after shooting for 2 years. With photo books the sequencing is really important so I spent a long time putting it together. In the future I’d love to eventually start showing my work internationally and have a photo book published. I’m currently planning a huge project where I will be travelling across the full length of the UK by bus. I’m in the process of planning the route and applying for some funding but I’m hoping to begin shooting early next year.”
CO: On a less serious note: You have 5 people to invite to a dinner party, alive or dead, who would they be and why?
LS: “Top of the list is William Eggleston, I’ve always wanted to meet him and have a drink. Jim Morrison because I love the Doors. Then I think maybe Keith Richards, Basquiat and Bob Dylan. Purely because I can imagine that the party we could have would be incredible.”
And as our final question to Luke, we asked him if he could live in any painting, or any piece of artwork, which would it be?
LS: “I think it would have to be David Hockney’s the Splash. It looks so peaceful.”
If you think you could be a ‘Manc of the Month’, then get in touch! We want to hear about your work, or what you’ve got coming up. Drop us a message on our contact page.