University Library opens new photography exhibition


Marc Provins’ exhibition runs at Sydney Jones Library until June 15

The University of Liverpool’s Sydney Jones Library is hosting an exhibition of artwork exploring the concept of digital search engines as part of the Look/13 Liverpool International Photography Festival.

The exhibition, called ‘Who do you think you are?’, features the work of Manchester-based photographer Marc Provins, and is shaped around google searches of the artist’s name.  The digitally ‘curated’ images form the content of a book that the artist has encased inside a 1950s encyclopaedia.

The book demonstrates the juxtaposition of new technology photography with traditional methods of learning. The idea of ‘searching’ is further acknowledged by placing the books in libraries so that the process of searching the stocks of books to find his work lends itself to the theme.


Another display in Special Collections and Archives highlights historic photographs of women

One of Marc’s memories as a child was of his father buying a set of Encyclopaedia Britannica that became the reference for all information as he was growing up.  It was not until he saw identical encyclopaedias in the Sydney Jones Library, many years later, that the idea of placing his artist books inside an encyclopaedia came about.

Marc said: “I’m interested in libraries as they are the physical representation of knowledge; an architectural space filled with all aspects of human culture. Before the World Wide Web and Google they were the main way to undertake research.

“The title of this exhibition refers to the search engine technology that allows us to trawl the digital world.  It is also a reference to being a photographer and the constant scanning of the world, looking for opportunities to frame and record.”


Women students collecting for charity in Pantosfinx week

Phil Sykes, University Librarian, added: “We are delighted to be involved with the Liverpool International Photography Festival. The idea of searching for a book in an encyclopaedia within a library is intriguing – the information equivalent of Russian nesting dolls.”

The University’s Special Collections and Archives have also installed a complementary display, of historic photographs of women, entitled ‘Who Does She Think She Is?’.  It explores the life of Josephine Butler, who did not like having her photograph taken, and other significant women referenced in the Liverpool archive.

Katy Hooper, Special Collections Librarian, said: “This collection allows us an opportunity to go back and reflect on the presentation of people in the earliest days of photography.”

The ‘Who do you think you are?’ exhibition is on display at the Sydney Jones Library until 15 June 2013.


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