Right time to capture hour town

Barnsley Market by Adele Haywood

Barnsley Market by Adele Haywood

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WELCOME to Hour Town.

These stunning pictures are part of a collection of 168 snaps capturing a week in the life of a South Yorkshire community.

Penistone Market Hall roof by Joel Fryer

Penistone Market Hall roof by Joel Fryer

One photograph was taken every 60 minutes in Barnsley for seven days in a bid to record its architecture, people and natural environment in 2011.

The results - set to go on show in the town this summer - are a random but jaw-dropping archive recording everything from dawn breaking over the empty M1 to dusk in a Cawthorne field, from traders at Barnsley market to a shopper eating tea in a supermarket cafe and from the sun shining on Barnsley College to clouds gathering over the Gateway Plaza.

Seven different photographers were commissioned for the project, thought up and led by former Dearne FM radio presenter Joel Fryer, with each snapper responsible for one particular day.

And the results have so impressed the art world it has already been displayed at Gateshead’s prestigious Baltic contemporary art gallery - albeit in one of the centre’s bars rather than an exhibition space.

Barnsley College by Gavin Joynt

Barnsley College by Gavin Joynt

“Still,” says Tracey Johnson, creative and digital industries specialist with Barnsley Council, which has supported the project, “We can officially say we’ve had an exhibition at the Baltic and not many people can do that.

“The project was a very simple one really - we wanted to show off the enormous range of creative talent here in Barnsley but also try and show how that talent can be directly influenced by the place itself.

“It was an experiment but we’re delighted with how it’s worked out. I think it definitely captures a moment in time and offers a snapshot of a Barnsley that is inspired but also honest and raw.”

The seven photographers were given a single role of film with 24 pictures and asked to take one shot every hour on their day.

Gateway Plaza by Gavin Joynt

Gateway Plaza by Gavin Joynt

There were no second chances, no digital manipulation, no 21st century trickery or delete buttons - just one opportunity to capture each moment.

“I like that idea that you just got one shot at each shot,” says Joel, of Walkley, Sheffield, himself a photography enthusiast. “With a digital camera you just keep taking pictures until you have what you want but this was about something a bit less smooth round the edges.”

At the end of the week, the photographers - James Sheriff, Maggie Marciniak, Anton Want, Chris Sedgewick, Gavin Joynt, Adele Haywood and Joel himself - handed in the films for development.

“That was the exciting part,” says Joel. “I’m old enough to remember when there weren’t digital cameras and you couldn’t see the pictures you took instantly and there was that romance of getting them developed and you never knew how they’d look or if they’d worked. That’s what we wanted this to be like.

Street Scene by Joel Fryer

Street Scene by Joel Fryer

“The plan was that whatever they contain, however they turn out, they go on display just as they are.”

As it turned out, however, they turned out pretty well.

Each photographer interpreted the task differently, creating vastly different pictures; from the ordinary (knocked over street cones, anyone?) to the extraordinary - the Gateway Plaza gleaming in the sun; from the grimy - litter in a gutter, perhaps - to the glorious such as Pensitone Market Hall’s stunning roof, it’s all here.

“And yet when they’re together they look like they belong as part of one simple collection,” says Tracey again, “They look remarkable.”

The collection was gathered together for an exhibition at the Thinking Digital Conference in Gateshead which claims to bring together the world’s most innovative technological ideas and cutting edge creativity.

They were shown in the town’s Sage gallery before being transferred to the Baltic for the event’s closing party, while a simultaneous set was put up at Barnsley’s Digitial Media Centre, in County Way, for two days.

Tesco Cafe by Craig Burgess

Tesco Cafe by Craig Burgess

There are now plans to display them through the summer at the Hive Gallery, at Elsecar Heritage Centre, Elsecar with dates currently being finalised.

Mini Me Nursery, Worsborough  by Adele Haywood

Mini Me Nursery, Worsborough by Adele Haywood

Tanktop Bridge by Joel Fryer

Tanktop Bridge by Joel Fryer

M1 At Dawn by Adele Haywood

M1 At Dawn by Adele Haywood

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