Liverpool’s a city that’s always ready for its close up. So it’s fitting that the city should have its own dedicated photography gallery in the shape of the Open Eye Gallery; the North West’s only gallery of its kind.
It’s situated in the striking new Mann Island development of jagged black pyramids (which has, understandably, divided opinion in the city). While there’s more space and the new venue feels more in tune with the gallery’s purpose it feels a little out on a limb, though the Open Eye within spitting distance of Tate Liverpool, Museum of Liverpool and the Maritime Museum, so you can make a day of it at the waterfront.
Exhibitions at the Open Eye don’t stop at just photography – there are excursions into film, video and installation too – but the main thrust of the three compact spaces in the Open Eye’s purpose-built new gallery residence remains the frozen image.
The Open Eye Gallery hosts a mixture of touring exhibitions and self-curated shows – often showing several at the same time.
Exhibitions in the gallery’s first floor space come from the Open Eye’s expansive archive of photographs, a significant proportion of which is made up of photos from the city, while the building’s angular exterior is used as an additional canvas for occasional installations.
The gallery also stages semi-regular events and talks, and there’s a gift shop with a wide range of lush coffee table books and quirky Lomo camera accessories.