In my last blog post I mentioned how I miss the pen. Sliding a finger along screens and electronic gadgets seems to have replaced the old pen to paper, yet I have found a little gem in Birmingham that celebrates the good old fashioned pen.
Tom Hunter has been commissioned by GRAIN Library of Birmingham to produce an exhibition that showcases his photography of Birmingham. The project is called FINDINGS and features photographs of 50 places across Birmingham’s Colmore Business District and the Jewellery Quarter.
One of his photographs features THE PEN MUSEUM
THE PEN MUSEUM is a former pen factory turned museum where you can learn the history of pen making. Steel being a famous industry of Birmingham; the museum promotes the legacy of the steel pen trade.
The museum is situated in the Jewellery Quarter in an architecturally appealing Grade II Listed Building, partly why I assume Hunter chose to photograph it.
The volunteer lead museum boasts a large collection of objects and activities relating to the Steel pen trades and the history of writing, including machinery, museum trails and a Victorian School room. There is even the opportunity for visitors to make their own nib.
The museum is the only one of its kind in the UK and is free to explore so do try to check it out.
You can have a look at the Pen Museum photograph on Church Street Square, in the Colmore Business District.
FINDINGS also features many other buildings around Birmingham; from St Chads Cathedral, to Jekyll and Hyde bar, to Yorks Bakery Cafe. What’s more it is displayed in an out of the ordinary fashion: temporary partitions or ‘units’ have been placed around St Paul’s Square and Church Street Square presenting the images, giving the passerby the opportunity to freely explore the photographs.
And if they weren’t awe-inspiring enough; all of the photographs were produced using a pinhole camera. I don’t know much about photography myself, and for the like-wise out there: pinhole cameras are a simple square wooden box without a lens or a shutter. The box has a small hole in it that allows the light in to capture the image on a film held inside. Going back to the early days of photography, yet the results are anything but dated.
Hunter has said that his photographs are ‘monuments to this industrial past’ and show a journey through Birmingham’s industrial heritage. I personally love that this exhibition represents the working life of Birmingham; then and now. It highlights the local businesses, the varied cultures of Birmingham, and even shows the speckled mix of old and new architecture amidst the city.
You are invited to make your own journey of discovery; it’s only around until the 19th July so catch it before it goes.
For more information, visit the Findings website:
Or find the exhibition at:
Church Street Square
Colmore Business District
St Paul’s Square
Written By Abbey Duckett.