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Exhibition celebrates 50 years of Fairfield Halls with celeb snaps

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Rachel Millard

rachel.millard@essnmedia.co.uk

T HE life of the borough's main arts venue has been laid bare in a new exhibition.

Circus performers, an Elvis impersonator, TV stars and doormen are among the subjects of the photographs documenting Fairfield Halls' last year.

The exhibition, the third and final display of Frazer Ashford's photographs celebrating the venue, opened on Thursday at Fairfield for two months.

Faces of Fairfield Part III comprises 60 photos featuring the faces at the venue – on stage and off – during its 50th year in 2012.

It follows two recent exhibitions of Mr Ashford's photos of Fairfield during the 70s and 80s to celebrate the venue's 50th birthday.

"This one is totally different," said Mr Ashford, a celebrated photographer of rock and pop musicians and other entertainers.

"The other two were from existing archives so the pictures have been seen before," he continued. "This is the first exhibition for which all the pictures were taken especially for it. There are the obligatory celebrities and a selection of artists, and pictures of quite a few plays.

"And then there are pictures of staff, for example Paul Robins, the longest-serving doorman– he was there when I was taking pictures in the 1970s."

Mr Ashford was given free rein to roam around the venue, popping in on artists as he wished.

"I would often take pictures and then stay for the whole day to watch their show," he said.

"Circus of Horrors, for example, I read about it and it kind of beats a lunchtime recital."

Despite having his work featured in national press for decades, Mr Ashford said he was nervous about this show.

He said: "If I had a picture and it was used on the front of a newspaper, well I think that must be a good picture because they used it.

"But in this case, of course no-one has seen the pictures – I don't know whether they are good, bad or indifferent, really.

"But it will be interesting for people to come with their own ideas."

Mr Ashford was due to attend the show's premiere yesterday evening, after the Advertiser went to press, returning from Ireland where he has been photographing altogether different subjects.

He said: "All this rushing around and then just a couple of days ago I was in Ireland taking pictures of driftwood washed up around a lake.

"It is so far removed from all that."

The exhibition will run until Friday November 15, in the first-floor Sun Lounge in Fairfield's main Foyer.

Exhibition celebrates 50 years of Fairfield Halls with celeb snaps


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