The name Peter Mitchell is one you may recognise as a photographer who has modestly been building a portfolio for 40 years. His photographs, of which Martin Parr is a fan, document the city of Leeds, where Peter has lived and worked for much of his life.
Peter’s series A New Refutation of the Viking 4 Space Mission displays the photographer’s affection and care towards capturing a city he holds dear with a unique narrative. The series follows the concept that “an alien has landed from Mars and is wandering around Leeds with a degree of surprise and puzzlement”. Featuring both landscape and portrait photography, the images first shown in 1979 act as essential documentation of not only Leeds but colour photography. “In the Earthly vernacular these photographs are of Nowheresville. Yet, for some people they are the centre of the universe. Usually they call it home.”
Describing A New Refutation of the Viking 4 Space Mission, Martin Parr says: “The full charm of Mitchell’s work is embodied in images of shops and factories with owners or work force standing proudly in front of their businesses. Quite why our alien visitors to Leeds never stayed, we’ll never know.”
First displayed at the Impressions Gallery of Photography York in 1979, 38 years later the series has been published for the first time by RRB Photobooks. In celebration of the release, Village Leeds are holding an event with Peter in conversation with Martin Parr at Hyde Park Picture House on 24 May.
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