The photographer Tom Wood, better known as Photie Man, lived in New Brighton for 25 years and for most days throughout the 70s and 80s he crossed the regional icon Mersey River and made his name photographing Liverpool and people’s everyday experience across the river. For generations the Mersey Ferry has been and remains a key transport link across the River Mersey, with ferries running continuously between the Pier Head, Liverpool City Centre, and Seacombe and Woodside on the Wirral peninsula. Although many still use the ferry to commute, trains and buses have become the primary means of transport over the river for commuters, with the Mersey Ferry becoming an increasingly popular tourist attraction.
The new exhibition, “The Pier Head – Tom Wood”, now on show at Open Eye Gallery (Liverpool) until 25 March, presents images shot just two minutes away from the Pier Head terminal itself. The entire work was made at a time when being casually photographed was far less common than now. The aspect of going back and forth to the same place is incredibly interesting as well as Wood’s talent in transforming passers in family portraits. The 90 plus images on display show commuters, families, friends, the old and the young making the everyday journey across the river. “Coming home I’d find I’d just missed a ferry. You’ve got at least 20 minutes to wait for the next one so what do you do? You take pictures,” said Tom.
The artist also launches a new book with the exhibition, Termini, featuring a range of images from the show, together with specially written text by poet and writer Paul Farley. If you you’re interested in his works, don’t forget that two of Wood’s previous books – Photie Man and Looking for Love, are included in Source Photographic Review’s list of The Greatest 150 Photo Books of All Time. Various work from this project will be shown in three places: outside Open Eye Gallery, at Museum of Liverpool and digitally showcased on PhotoStories, Open Eye Gallery’s open platform for photographers.