Impressions Gallery Bradford – making an impression review by Shaila Hamid

Are you a culture vulture? If so you need to visit Impressions Gallery located just down the road in City Park (behind the big screen!). From legendary photographers to upcoming artists Impressions Gallery know how to get people talking both within the gallery and once you leave the glass doors. Having recently hosted the renowned James Barnor’s photographic archive, the gallery is now exhibiting Melanie Friend’s “The Home Front”, from September 14th until November 23rd 2013, which is a significant collection of new work exploring links between militarism, marketing and entertainment.


Impressions Gallery came to the heart of Bradford city centre in 2007 but was previously based in York for 35 years. The gallery is a non-profit space with the sole aim of displaying photography to get you “looking, thinking and talking” and with over 55,000 visitors a year the gallery know how to make an impression! With a long-standing reputation the gallery have hosted many famous names from the photographic world. Some of these names include award winning Magnum photographer Carl de Keyzer, multi-award winner Anna Fox and Bradford born photographer Liza Dracup

The current exhibition features Melanie Friend’s project “The Home Front” which effortlessly displays the way war is normalised in society. To do this Friend has captured three different series of images which are interlinked by showing the civilian experience of war. In particular, the exhibition focuses on public air shows to show how war is integrated into culture and family entertainment.  The images also centre on private arms fairs thus providing a rare opportunity to view how military equipment is marketed and sold.

Pakistan Ordnance Factory Stand, DSEi fair, London, 15 September 2011

Pakistan Ordnance Factory Stand, DSEi fair, London, 15 September 2011© Melanie Friend / courtesy Impressions Gallery

There is a range of free material in the gallery which allows you to read up on the exhibition and Melanie Friend. This is useful when revealing the underlying message behind the photography. To add to this, with each exhibition the gallery hosts a free talk from the artist themselves. This gives you a chance to hear the artist talk about their work and the inspiration behind the images. After the talk you get the chance to join in with a question and answer session if you have anything else you want to know about the artist or the exhibition.

For latest news on the gallery check out the website at:  or follow on Facebook and Twitter @ImpGalleryPhoto

Entrance to the gallery is FREE so visit on your day off!


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