A lifestyle blog all about Birmingham, UK.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Meet Birmingham photographer Verity Milligan

After meeting Birmingham photographer Verity Milligan over two years ago, I have become a huge fan of her incredible work. Her huge variety of photography across the city has allowed me, and many others, to fall in love again with out favourite places and discover picturesque spots.

Nowadays, she is hosting more and more exhibitions showcasing her work across the city, including her current show at The Printroom at 70b, which is part of Park View Gallery in Kings Heath, titled 'Brum and Beyond'.

Hi Verity! What have you been up to recently?
Hi! I’ve been super busy juggling commissions, teaching, workshops and my own personal projects. 2018 has really been one of the busiest years yet, and we’re only just about halfway through, so I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me.

Tell me about the exhibition and what people can expect from it?
The exhibition is something I’ve been working on with The Printroom at 70b which is part of Park View Gallery in Kings Heath. It’s probably been about a year since we started planning it and I have to say that the crew at The Printroom (Roger, Steve and Ali) have been brilliant.

The exhibition is called “Brum & Beyond” and features ten never before exhibited images of Birmingham as well as ten other images from further afield. This collection of images were captured and crafted over the last couple of years and stand as an exploration of Birmingham’s urban evolution juxtaposed with pastoral imagery of beautiful landscapes from the graceful meres and fells of the Lake District to the rugged, wild coastlines of the Outer Hebrides.

The prints look amazing, and it’s been a truly amazing experience seeing them hanging up in the gallery. I think that’s the part I’ve loved most, seeing these images come to live in print. The exhibition runs from June 30th till July 28th, is free to visit and is open Tuesday - Saturday.

How many exhibitions have you had in Birmingham now? 
This is my second exhibition, and I was worried about having it so soon, but really it’s a completely different affair and none of the images I’ve exhibited previous pop up again. I really enjoyed my first solo exhibition and the Museum of the JQ, it was one heck of a learning curve and I hope I’ve taken all that experience into this current exhibition.

How does it feel to have your photos displayed across the city and sold it shops? 
It feels pretty nuts to experience people, especially strangers, buying my work. I’m not sure it’s ever going to be something I get used to. There’s something very special about knowing that someone else enjoys your work enough to invest in it and hang it on their wall. I put a lot of myself into my images, verging on a ridiculous level of perfectionism at times, and it gives me the warm and fuzzies to see someone recognise that and be willing to purchase a print.

How did you get into photography and how has photography changed since you first started?
I didn’t really get into photography until I was 25 when I first picked up a camera. I grew up in a small town where the countryside was accessible on all sides so an appreciation for the natural world was instilled in me at an early age, but I thought my path would be that of a painter or artist. That dream was somewhat shattered when I was 18 and I found that my often literal take on the world was not going to get me through my A-level in art. So I diverged into a much more academic career, and was happily going down that route until I picked up a camera and realised that this was the way I could be creative.

It took a few more years for me to think about it as a serious career choice. I think Photography as an art form is having a bit of a fight back. Yes, there is a proliferation of imagery and cameras out there, but only a small percentages of people are creating great work. I think that people are realising that there is a value to what they do and giving work away for free not only devalues the industry, but their own creative endeavours. It’s not a hard and fast rule of course, I tend to give imagery away for free to people and organisations I have strong links with because we already have that establishment professional arrangement.

In terms of Birmingham, the photography scene has exploded since I moved here in 2012. Back then, there were only really a few of us shooting and sharing on social media, but now there are literally hundreds and this is mostly down to great work of the IGersBirmingham community who do fabulous work organising instalments and basically being a conduit for talent in the city.

What is your favourite part of Birmingham and what is your favourite building to photograph? I would say one of my favourite places is the top of the Rotunda. Birmingham doesn’t really have that many rooftops and from there you get this amazing view over the city. I also really love Oozells Sq when the cherry blossom is out. Going further out, I love Sutton Park, it’s such a wealth of habitats all in one space and makes you feel like you’re a million miles away from the city centre.

What plans do you have for the future?At the moment I’m gearing up to start a YouTube channel which will hopefully be a mix of behind-the-scenes, tutorials, locations etc. So that’s going to be my focus for the next six months. I think there is an audience out there, it’ll just take a little bit of work.

What is your favourite part of what you do?
I think the favourite part of what I do is that every single day is a little bit different. The light is always changing, and I could photograph anywhere on two separate days and they would be differences. I also really enjoy engaging with clients and bringing their vision to life, that’s really satisfying.

Photography can be a tough field these days, and I always feel grateful that I’ve been lucky enough to build a career out of it.

Verity's exhibition 'Brum and Beyond' is at The Printroom at 70b until Saturday, July 28th.  

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