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Alfie Pearson, Hull, 2017 by Olivia Arthur

New photos of British teens by Martin Parr and Olivia Arthur

Olivia Arthur and Martin Parr shoot intimate stories from Hull including a 12-year-old Elvis impersonator

England’s city of Hull has been in a state of flux since it was heavily bombed in World War II. Located four hours north of London, Hull revived itself over the 50s-60s, and in 2001, it received its landmark, The Deep: the world’s only submarium. A decade-and-a-half later, in 2017, Hull is undergoing a rebirth of such, having been named the UK’s City of Culture. Partnering with over 70 cultural companies, the award raised over £32 million and enabled Hull to host 365 days of cultural events. 

A highlight of Hull’s cultural year is Hull, Portrait of a City held at Humber Street Gallery between October 13 – December 31, and featuring Magnum photographers Olivia Arthur and Martin Parr, who were commissioned to create their own unique portrait of the evolving city. While documentary photographer Parr captures the rich culinary culture of Hull, Arthur snaps Hull’s diverse youth culture with black and white portraits that tell individual stories of being young in rural Britain. “I have tried to show a broad spectrum of young people from Hull to capture the diversity of people and cultures. Of course, I have not been able to cover everything, and there are probably more micro-cultures and ethnicities but I’d like to think that this gives a balanced view of young people in the city.”

One subject who caught the photographer’s eye is 12-year-old Alfie Pearson – one of the world’s youngest Elvis impersonators. “I read about Alfie Pearson in the Hull Daily Mail when I was up there for my shoot... The article was about him being bullied at school and how winning an Elvis competition helped him to overcome his bullies.”

Hull, Portrait of a City is on at Humbler Street Gallery between October 13 - December 31 2017. You can find out more about the exhibition here