‘Wildelife’ at Patricks

wildelife07 copyright Ben Zuhlcke
is a newish bar at the North John St. end of Victoria St, I hadn’t been there before, seems a nice place with the customary sofas in the corner, I thinks its a gay bar and at the far end is a small dance floor whose walls now show this exhibition of photographs of local gay or bisexual people.
Ben Zuhlcke is the photographer, originally from Germany but now based in Liverpool,
The title ‘Wildelife’ alludes to Oscar Wilde who said that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about but then the incessant talk about Wilde led to his imprisonment and death.
Ben took two pictures of each person. He let them decide how they wanted to look but the basic idea was to have one picture in ‘work’ mode as the public see them in the office or other everyday workplace and a second picture in more relaxed or family or party mode.
Unsurprisingly for those of us who have open minds and are not informed by the gutter press the message that comes across here is that gays are just like everyone else, they work in all kinds of professions, they have loving families, they dress the same as everybody else, they even play rugby and feed the ducks!
But I also find the pictures quite moving because you know, and in some of the faces you can see, that because of their sexuality some will have had a very difficult time over the years especially in Liverpool which is not the most gay-friendly city. Maybe this annual Homotopia festival will help change that.
In his notes Ben says “All the cool people who have been taking part in this project are courageous individuals and deserve our respect. Their diverse faces and backgrounds make a mockery of attempts to label and stereotype human beings. Each portrait wants to tell you: I am me and I’m not afraid”

You can read more about this in an article by Laura Davis for the Daily Post

Wildelife by Ben Zuhlcke at Patricks, Victoria St until November 14th 2005


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