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Broth Tarn Zine Launch @ Tall Boys Beer Market

Tall Boys Beer Market was always going to be a special place, with its ace selection of beers and the option to drink them on site for a reasonable corkage. But rather than be just another drinking hole, or another drinking hole with nice wall hangings, they’ve gone one step further and redone their upstairs sitting area as a gallery space. Their plan: every other month, a different showing, with a table and chair-less launch night to better roam their small but finely formed cafe-gallery space before returning the comfort. This, their inaugural show, keeps it local by celebrating local photography group Broth Tarn‘s launch of their eponymous zine.

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The exclusively black and white analogue shots depict the everyday lives of everyday Yorkshire folk, the kind that still exist but noone pays any heed to. Lives both outdated and outmoded are captured, with the more human subjects ranging from the very aware to the surprised by the intrusion. Some of the shots have a real feel of capturing people indulging in their ordinary activities in places cameras normally wouldn’t get, including OAP kitchens and from within the house looking out over the washing line.

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A companion didn’t feel the pictures flowed particularly, he becried an apparent lack of narrative. But the pictures weren’t really there to tell a story so much as show you something. Their unity was not linear but a collective expression of how not much has really changed. Broth Tarn’s “northern realism” can be forgiven for seeming to function off It’s Grim Oop North stereotyping purely because it shows honestly what others sensationalise or merely mock. This is not staged or made to play up to the cameras. Any apparent pose is more likely from permission asked than actors positioned.

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The selection of pictures was worryingly timeless, a feel expressed beautifully through the group’s use of 35mm black and white film. These pictures could have been taken any time and any where in the last hundred years, and that’s really disconcerting. The inclusion of the post codes of each picture’s shoot location cements them geographically but not temporally. The contemporary nature of the photos is quite affecting.

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The space was craftily used, pictures aided and abetted in their subject with various carefully laid out objects like broken bricks, hole-riddled coal shovels and a deflated football. Tall Boys’ own rough and ready but well kept interior further helped cature this overall vibe, the space, the decor and the photography coming together nicely.

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The excellent turnout for this first effort bodes well for the future, and shows the range and connections with the local scene they’ve already gained in such a short tenure. If this quality and care is continued into the future, Tall Boys will further cement their reputation and place within Leeds, artistically and beerily.

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Broth Tarn is running until the 1st March, with copies of the zine readily available at Tall Boys. Have a brew and a gander.