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All human life is here

See artist Bernard Fallon's brilliant black and white images of sixties Liverpool, on show for the first time in his home city

Published on March 2nd 2007.


All human life is here

Bernard Fallon is a painter who lives in a place called Redondo Beach in southern California. He fills his sunny days filling canvases with colour, depicting still lives and scenes from his bright, light surroundings and is highly respected at the same time. But it hasn't always been that way.

For Bernard Fallon started life in Liverpool, and while his daily commute might involve a trundle on the Pacific Coast Highway these days, in the 1960s it was the rather less lovely Regent Road that showed him the way to go home every night.

But even then, the eyes of the Liverpool Art College student were wide open, as was the shutter on his camera: he captured the scenes and the lives of a coal stained landscape, forever, and fittingly, in glorious black and white photography.

You can see the stunning results for the first time in a fascinating new exhibition opening at the National Conservation Centre, Whitechapel tomorrow. The Long Way Home, is made up of 60 atmospheric mono images, a documentary of ordinary life in Liverpool from 1966 to 1974.

They not only capture its people going about their daily business in variety of locations, one of which is Liverpool Docks, but they also depict domestic scenes with children at home and play. Bernard Fallon said; “I took these pictures as an amateur in the true sense of the word…I loved the sensation of events and scenes materializing in the view finder.”

Bernard Fallon was born into a large Irish Catholic family in Crosby in 1949. He eventually moved to London and later Los Angeles as a photojournalist. He has travelled extensively and his work has been published around the world. He has two sons, and divides his time between photography, painting and teaching.

The introduction to the exhibition has been written by Mike McCartney who is also a keen snapper of events and can often be spotted out and about in the city with his gear. He says in it: ”The underlying importance of Liverpool becoming the centre of the universe (er? ed) is its people. Bernard Fallon has not only captured the essence of Liverpool’s people in the sixties, he has also brought the bricks and mortar back to life, restoring so many memories of an era which became so significant in my life.”

The Long Way Home, Saturday March 3 - July 15. National Conservation Centre, Whitechapel. Admission free.

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