The grand opening of “A Very Insecure Exhibition” for two leading Manchester photographers Shari Denson and Karen McBridde, is approaching quickly.
In less than a week, the audience will be treated to a unique artistic experience: a one night only event combining photography, art and networking. Both ladies are fiercely independent and they are known for doing things the Mancunian way – being innovative and different. We can expect many surprises and many aces up their sleeves.
We have a good news! The secret location for the exhibition has been revealed on the waves of the BBC Radio Manchester! Karen and Shari appeared on Mike Sweeney’s middday show on Monday, 18th of February at 10 am. Mike grilled them to get the information out and finally we know where the exhibition is taking place. It will open at 8pm, on Friday 22nd of February at Projekts MCR (SkatePark at Mancunian Way). We also know that a special bar has been built for the guests so please expect the unexpected!
You can listen to the show online for 30 days at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06zvp9g
Also, you can listen to the recordings of the show below:
Yesterday, we have spoken with Shari Denson about her career and photography. If you’d like to read it, you can find it at:
Today, we have sat down with her co-conspirator and a fellow photographer, Karen McBride to discuss the beginnings of her passion for photography, first cameras and her many, many accomplishments. It is always a pleasure to speak to women that inspired entire generation of new photographers, artists and painters.
Staying up late with Robbie Williams on tour, working with Debbie Harry, winning a prize for aerial photography – you are one of the most exciting guests we have interviewed so far. Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.
Karen McBride: My name is Karen and I take pictures. I love what I do and hope that you do too.
You hold a degree in Ancient History and Archaeology and carved yourself a name as innovative and influential music photographer. Can you tell us what lead you from academia to rock and roll halls and tour buses?
Karen McBride: Well, my brother was in a band and he needed some pictures for his album artwork. I’d been into photography from an early age and art too, he knew this and so I took his pictures. More bands found out what I was doing, they liked the results and it built up from there.
We heard that you found your first camera – a Kodak Brownie – in a bin. Is it an urban legend or a true story? And if it is, do you still have that camera?
Karen McBride: It’s a true story and yes I still have it. The camera comes with me everywhere. I tried to restore it but you can’t get film for it anymore. But it’s my mascot.
Over the years, you have photographed biggest names in the industry: Pink, Robbie Williams, Lou Reed, Liam Gallagher, Billy Bragg, Green Day, Debbie Harry, Elbow, Prodigy and your works have been used by Sony, Warner Music, NME, MTV, Classic Rock, Clash Magazine. You have been called one of the most significant female photographers of your generation by Slash. When you started out, were you experiencing this level of success in a male dominated field?
Karen McBride: Starting out, you can never imagine where anything takes you, really. I could never have imagined, I’d ever be able to sustain a career this long, let alone, create images that bands and the general public still like. I’m glad they do though!
Despite your incredible accomplishments, you don’t shy from working with unsigned artists or young and upcoming bands – for example The Blinders. Not many photographers of your calibre would do that. Do you think it is important to support artists at the beginning of their careers?
Karen McBride: I could never shy away from them, they are exciting in my opinion it would be so wrong to ignore them just because I shoot bigger artists too. in fact I love the rawness of the new band.
You enjoy a reputation of a local hero in Manchester. John Robb (The Membranes/Louder Than War Magazine) described you as “Unashamedly Mancunian. While other contemporaries headed South, Karen has always resisted the lure of the bright lights of London for the unmistakable and unique vibe of her hometown”. It seems that you have influenced Manchester as much as Manchester influenced you.
Karen McBride: I’m deeply humbled that anyone would see me as all hero!
There is something unique about your style. The aesthetics, colour palette, the dynamics remind us of the classic images on the record sleeves of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. Accidentally, your first book was also called “Elvis Would Have Really Liked Me”. Is it us or has The King been an inspiration?
Karen McBride: That book is still a work in progress. The guy who designed the cover and content was a long standing friend of mine and passed away last year. It will get published and it will be dedicated to him. I miss him deeply. He understood my creative approach. He would be so proud of this exhibition. It’ll be the first one he’s missed.
And yes, the King has provided my backdrop. Everything I ever photographed came from being inspired by American music.
You are known for unusual photography projects and expositions. In 2011, you held a talk at The Deaf Institute during Photo-book Month Manchester, to which you brought a model and ended the meeting with a real life photo session exercise for the audience. In 2015, you held another talked about exposition “Stripped Back” that combined photography and collages with live music and artistic performance. You also launched your own clothing brand during that event. You like to keep your audience on their toes.
Karen McBride: Thank you! “Stripped back” was performed in The Green Room, which is now called Gorilla. In 2007, the venue was sold out and it was much smaller than it is now. It had a capacity of 200 back then. I try to do things differently and I think when you see the new exposition, you will know first hand what all the others exhibitions were about.
On 22nd of February, alongside another female photographer Shari Denson, you will hold an photographic display entitled “A very insecure exhibition”. This is a special, one night only event and the venue still is not disclosed. We are told to expect a true celebration of creativity. Tell us more about it. Where does the unusual name come from?
Karen McBride: I was planning a solo exhibition and my friend, Shari Denson offered to do a press shot for me. We started talking and laughing and talking again…and we ended up photographing each other! So I said to her that I’d found a very interesting venue and that it would be selfish to do the exhibition on my own as her work is stunning too! She jumped at the chance and here we are. It’s very exciting to work with her, as I admire her so much. It really makes perfect sense for us to do it together.
The exhibition is accompanied by a beautifully printed art-book. Apparently it can be open from both sides and will contain 50 pictures: an even split of 25 images for each one of you. Will it feature any of the photographs from the exhibition or is it to showcase your newest works? Will it be possible to purchase the book after the exhibition?
Karen McBride: (laughing) Yes I think it might do! and You can order the book online: https://ukgiclee.co.uk/avie
It is only the beginning of the year and your calendar is already full. Please tell us what have you planned for the spring and summer? Any tips where can we see your works?
Karen McBride: I never discuss my diary. I take every day as it comes. For now you can see my work alongside Shari’s’ on the 22nd Feb in Manchester.
The famous last question at Indieterria: let’s say that you can photograph any person or any event in the world. No time or space restrictions. Were are you going and who’s going to be immortalised by your camera?
Karen McBride: Elvis, anywhere he wants!
You can follow Karen on her social media:
A Very Insecure Exhibition:
Projekts MCR (SkatePark at Mancunian Way)
20:00 pm – 23:30 pm
Tickets costing £6 – £8 can be obtained from the address:
There are daily updates to the event (please remember that the location of the event is still not disclosed)- so keep your eyes open
The exhibition is proving to be very popular – and the media take notice. You can safely say that the event will be a success when Visit Manchester and national music magazine both pick up the story!
For those who enjoy a bit of additional reading, we have found a bunch of articles about Karen and her work.
You are cordially invited to the exhibition and we hope we will see many familiar faces in Manchester!