In March 2022, Hartlepool Art Gallery, in partnership with the Northern School of Art, commissioned the artist-photographer Alice Hawkins to collaborate with students to create new work which captured the contemporary character of Hartlepool.
The exhibition 'The Female Gaze: Revisited' was on display at Hartlepool Art Gallery at the time and featured highlights from Hawkins' 20-year career, showcasing an extraordinary panoramic portrait of women around the world. In her portraits, everyday people are given equal billing with the rich and famous. To Hawkins, character is paramount, transcending money or status.
The exhibition examined the power of the female gaze, questioning perceptions of sexuality, gender and personal agency.
Hawkins used the same approach to capture images of Hartlepool residents. Students were encouraged to seek out models with a strong sense of self-cultivated style and identity, and to scout out distinctive locations. The resulting portraits are unique. Glamour contrasts with industry and urbanity; people and places are frozen in a snapshot of time.
The 24 digital images have now been accessioned into the permanent collection of Hartlepool Museums Service, where they will remain preserved for future generations.
The project was funded by Tees Valley Museums Group and the Northern School of Art.
Angela Thomas, Art Gallery Curator at Hartlepool Borough Council
About the artist
Alice Hawkins is a London-based photographer and filmmaker who graduated from Camberwell College of Art in 2002. Her work has been championed by photographer Nick Knight (a long-time mentor), the advertising guru John C. Jay and the editor Katie Grand.
Alice has worked for a variety of commercial clients including Agent Provocateur, Diesel, Miu Miu, 3mobile, Sony BMG, Topman, Island Records and Samsung.
She has shot editorials for Pop, i-D, LOVE, Vogue, L'Uomo Vogue, SHOWstudio, Arena HOMME+ and British Vogue. Her celebrity subjects have included Donatella Versace, Paloma Faith, Pamela Anderson, Gisele Bündchen and Tom Jones.
Alice loves adventure, road trips, and meeting and photographing people from all walks of life. Her idol is Dolly Parton.