Peter Mitchell (photographer)

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Peter Mitchell (born 1943) is a British documentary photographer, known for documenting Leeds and the surrounding area for more than 40 years. Mitchell's photographs have been published in three monographs of his own. His work was exhibited at Impressions Gallery in 1979, and nearly thirty years later was included in major survey exhibitions throughout the UK including at Tate Britain and Media Space in London, and National Media Museum in Bradford. Mitchell's work is held in the permanent collections of the Royal Photographic Society and Leeds Art Gallery.

Life and work[edit]

Mitchell was born in Manchester in 1943.

In 1979 Impressions Gallery showed his work A New Refutation of the Viking 4 Space Mission, which considered what Leeds would look like to aliens arriving from Mars.[1] Martin Parr described this show as groundbreaking.[2]

His images of Quarry Hill flats were published as Memento Mori in 1990. His ongoing documentation of Leeds became the critically well received monograph Strangely Familiar.[3][4] Colin Pantall described this work as "a classic".[5] He told the BBC that it is a "gritty kind of sentimentality".[6] His follow-up, Some Thing Means Everything to Somebody (2015), shows inanimate objects looked over by scarecrows. Reviewer Karen Jenkins called it a "story of steadfastness and continuity".[7]

In 2007 Mitchell's work was included in How We Are: Photographing Britain a photography exhibition held at Tate Britain.[8]


  • Momento Mori. Skipton, Dalesman, 1990. ISBN 9781870071482.
    • Bristol: RRB, 2016. facsimile edition.
  • Strangely Familiar. Portland, OR: Nazraeli, 2013.
  • Some Thing means Everything to Somebody. Bristol: RRB, 2015.
  • Scarecrows. Bristol: RRB, 2015. "A collection of 12 of the Scarecrows from Some Thing means Everything to Somebody, plus a few new suspects, in a perforated postcard book."
  • A New Refutation of the Viking 4 Space Mission. Bristol: RRB, 2017. ISBN 978-0993232367. Bilingual English and French languag edition. With an essay by Val Williams.



Mitchell's work is held in the following public collections:


  1. ^ a b Peter Mitchell: Peter Mitchell, accessdate: March 11, 2016
  2. ^ a b Photoworks Ideas: Martin Parr on Peter Mitchell | Photoworks Ideas, accessdate: March 11, 2016
  3. ^ Nick, Enoch (16 July 2013). "Haunting portrait of a vanishing world: Photographer captures desperate decline of 1970s Leeds as the old way of life slowly died". DMG Media. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  4. ^ Popham, Pete (13 July 2013). "Northern echo: Extraordinary photographs of Leeds in the 1970s reveal a vanished world". Independent Print Limited. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  5. ^ Pantall, Colin (14 October 2013). "Review: Strangely Familiar". Photoeye Blog. Photoeye. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  6. ^ Killick, Cathy (13 July 2013). "Leeds back streets in 1970s caught on camera". BBC. "Look North", BBC. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  7. ^ Jenkins, Karen (31 August 2015). "Review: Some Thing Means Every Thing to Somebody". Photoeye Blog. Photoeye. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  8. ^ a b Tate: How We Are: Photographing Britain: Room 5 | Tate, accessdate: March 11, 2016
  9. ^ Federico, Cherie (April 2008). "Strangely Familiar". Aesthetica Magazine. Aesthetica Magazine. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Drawn by Light". National Media Museum. National Media Museum. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  11. ^ "Drawn by Light". Science Museum. Science Museum Group. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  12. ^ "Centre for Contemporary Art". Centre for Contemporary Art. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  13. ^ "Arbetets museum". Arbetets museum: Museum of work. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  14. ^ Bliss, Abi (18 August 2008). "Artist And Camera fuses photography and fine art". DMG Media. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  15. ^ "Past Exhibitions : Planet Yorkshire". Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  16. ^ "Jimei X Arles 2018". Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  17. ^ Bush, Kate (23 February 2015). "Photography and the Science Museum Group". The Science Group. Retrieved 16 March 2016.

External links[edit]