An exhibition by Westminster lecturer David Moore, which recreates a 30-year-old photography project, is now on at London Gallery West and will culminate in a theatre piece to be performed on 20 April. 

The photographs for the Lisa and John exhibition, which were originally published in the book Pictures from the Real World, were taken in the late 1980s by David Moore, Course Leader on the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism MA, while he was a student himself.

For the book, David Moore made a series of colour photographs depicting the everyday lives of working class families in Derby. Among them were Lisa and John, a married couple, who, together with their four children, are the main characters in the photographer’s current exhibition.

Deciding to revisit the photography project, David approached the original families again, asking them to make an edit of the archival images and comment on their context. Lisa and John, since divorced, were invited to make new selections and reinterpret their history. Their dialogue has formed the basis for a 45-minute verbatim theatre piece.

The Lisa and John Slideshow, where the actual characters are played by actors who reminisce about their lives while looking at images from Moore’s project, premiered at the Format International Photography Festival this month. It will be staged again in London on 20 April 2018.

Speaking about the re-creation of the photographs for the British Journal of Photography, David Moore said: “When Lisa and John decided they didn’t want to present their images, there was the opportunity to work with theatre as a device to explore the archive. It was a fantastic experience to work with performers and verbatim theatre, I learned a lot.

“But photography is very much at the heart of all this. The investigation into what photographic representation can be is very much at the centre of my work.”

The exhibition is currently on show at London Gallery West until 22 April and is accompanied by live performances of The Lisa and John Slideshow play, which will take place at 5.15pm and 7pm on 20 April at Regent Street Cinema.

Register to see the The Lisa and John Slideshow play.

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