New Outdoor photography exhibition in Brunel Square

29 December 2021


29 December 2021


Local photographers provide contemporary perspectives on the SS Great Britain

From 9 September – 31 December 2021, a free outdoor exhibition featuring young Bristol photographers will be on display on Brunel Square, located beside Brunel’s SS Great Britain.  

‘Opening Up’ showcases the work of four young Bristol photographers. These new generation creatives were commissioned to share new perspectives on the historic ship, responding to any dimension of her design, history or conservation which sparked their ideas. 

Kate Rambridge, Head of Interpretation at Brunel’s SS Great Britain said: 

“At a time when people are asking new questions about Bristol’s heritage, and the histories behind the symbols of achievement, this exhibition creates space for young people to show us what they see, value and seek to understand. We’re thrilled with the images they’ve created – the range and depth of their work here is inspiring.”  

The four photographers were commissioned through Eight Creative Agency, who also identified two mentors, Alastair Campbell and Qezz Gill, to support and facilitate their developing practice. 

Shadille Samuels invites empathy for steerage passengers with warm still life images. Dee Hassan reanimates passenger spaces by filling her images with motion and shifting perspective. Kitty Reeves-Short has created sensitive studies of light and enclosure using chemical film. Grant Thame responds strongly to the textures, colours and shapes of the hull in a series of imaginatively framed shots. 

This exhibition invites audiences to look again at the SS Great Britain, to see her as a space for new creativity and new discussions, and to make their own decisions about what she represents. Following the launch in Brunel Square it will remain on display for the rest of 2021. 

Kitty Reeves-Short spoke about the connection she saw between the Covid lockdown experience, and passengers’ lives on board: 

 “I was really drawn to the ship’s windows. The sense of being stuck inside and only seeing things through a tiny porthole of hope… Looking at these people’s lives, and the way they used to live, through a lens really fascinated me. I enjoyed being able to adapt these stories into images. The cabins play a huge role in their stories and personalities.” 

The SS Great Britain returned to Bristol in 1970 and has become an iconic symbol of the city. Visitors can explore the ship set within her original dry dock, surrounded by museums that bring the stories of passengers and crew to life and delve into Brunel’s extraordinary life and engineering projects. 

Tickets to visit Brunel’s SS Great Britain, which include free revisits for a year, can be booked at 

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