Mark Power
Black Country Stories

Mark Power was commissioned by Multistory to create a series of urban landscapes responding to his experience of the Black Country – an area hit particularly hard by the economic recession. For many years, Mark’s work has sought to reveal the beauty of the everyday and the overlooked and there is a quiet yet simmering splendour in his photographic observations.


During his visits to the region, Mark noticed an array of thriving beauty salons and gentlemen’s clubs peppering local shopping arcades. Investigating this further, he discovered a number of historical precedents for the success of beauty and sex industries in times of austerity.  This led to the making a series of short films shot in a beauty salons and nightclubs.


A further series of photographs shows elegant footwear seen from pavement level against a backdrop of grey concrete and crumbling brick, while a sound installation turns the names used to describe the colours of make-up and tattooist’s dyes into a mantra-like poem. All this serves to complement the apparent bleakness of the landscapes depicted in the large format photographs. 


Collectively, the exhibition seeks to ask questions about perceptions of beauty and the importance of looking good in spite of it all.


Mark Power’s Black Country Stories is part of a long-term series of commissions by Multistory with outstanding documentary photographers, film-makers and authors.


In Conversation

Saturday 8 September 2012, 2pm


Join Mark Power with Emma Chetcuti from Multistory and Deborah Robinson from The New Art Gallery for an informal tour of the exhibition.


Book your free place by calling 01922 654400.

Image credit: Mark Power, Samantha West Bromwich, 10/2011, 2011, c-type print. (c) the artist