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Nothing Lasts Forever

Sale price£30.00

RRB Photobooks, April 2024
Trade Edition: Softcover, printed card
Special Edition: Hardcover, red cloth
24.5 x 24.5 cm
148 pages
Trade Edition, Softcover
Special Edition Hardcover with print, limited to 250 copies
With Essay by Diane Smyth
and preface by Jane Bhoyroo
ISBN: 9781738516308

Trade Edition £30 | Special Edition £135
Eris Massheder, Vulcan Street, Leeds, 1975
10 x 8" Pigment Print, signed and limited

Nothing Lasts Forever Is the first retrospective monograph of work by Peter Mitchell, best-known for his chronicles of the city of Leeds. The book is published to coincide with a major exhibition of the photographer’s work at Leeds Art Gallery from 17 May 2024 - 06 October 2024, nearly 50 years since he first exhibited there.

The book acts as a visual guide to navigate Mitchell’s long-rooted and poetic connection with Leeds. Regarded as the one of the most important early colour photographers of the 20th century, the book illustrates how words and objects have also played a key role in developing his distinctive and accessible vision.

Nothing Lasts Forever charts Mitchell’s work and career from his early photographs made in the 1970s and 80s whilst working as a truck delivery driver. His vantage point removed him from the immediacy of the street and he developed his distinctive graphic framing of the buildings and landscapes which reveal the layers of urban and social history. His documentation of the demise of the Quarry Hill Estate established his work beyond the mere visual into that of a social historian and storyteller—combining original documents, archival photographs, oral history, and observations to illustrate the complexities of change and failure.

The book introduces his unique storytelling abilities ranging from A New Refutation of the Viking 4 Space Mission which imagines an alien explorer visiting Leeds with a degree of surprise and puzzlement, through to the re-telling of his own autobiography by inanimate objects silently observed by otherworldly Yorkshire Scarecrows.

‘This publication presents Peter’s photographs to a new generation and shares his unique and compelling vision which has the changing face of Leeds at its heart; its history as witnessed through the ruins of its buildings, the citizens who have lived here and remembering those who stand proudly in their place of work. In the words of Val Williams, Peter is ‘a narrator of how we were, a chaser of a disappearing world’. Nothing lasts forever.’ - Jane Bhoyroo, Principal Keeper Leeds Art Gallery

The exhibition Nothing Lasts Forever will be on display at Leeds Art Gallery from 17 May 2024 - 06 October 2024.

Born in Manchester in 1943, Peter Mitchell left school at 16 and trained as a cartographic draughtsman working for the civil service, until aged 24, he went to Hornsey College of Art in London. After a visit to Leeds, he never returned to London and has lived in the same house in Chapeltown for more than 40 years. During his working life he has had many jobs – truck driving to silkscreen and printmaking, hand-lettering and poster designer and stock control clerk of a perfume counter – all the time taking photographs. Mitchell’s exhibition A New Refutation of the Space Viking 4 Mission at Impressions Gallery in 1979 established his career and was the first colour exhibition, at a British photographic gallery, by a British photographer. However, it wasn’t until the publication of his book Strangely Familiar (2013) that the trajectory of his career accelerated at the age of 70. Three further books have followed — Memento Mori, Some Thing Means Everything to Somebody and A New Refutation of the Space Viking 4 Mission. His work has been included in exhibitions at Tate Britain, and Media Space in London, and National Media Museum in Bradford. His work is held in the permanent collections of the Royal Photographic Society and Leeds Art Gallery amongst others.