Work of famed photographer captures a city’s story

Fascinating photographs capturing decades of life in Leeds will go on display in the first major retrospective exhibition to showcase the work of British documentary photographer Peter Mitchell.

Leeds Art Gallery is thrilled to present Nothing Lasts Forever, opening on May 17.

Peter Mitchell, widely regarded as the one of the most important early colour photographers of the 20th century, became best known for his photographic chronicles of Leeds, which include a series of striking photographs of the city through the 1970s and 80s.

The exhibition will take audiences on a journey through his remarkable career, reflecting upon key bodies of work in the context of his deep connection with Leeds.

Capturing local Leeds landmarks and the socio historic narrative that enveloped them, works on display from Leeds Art Gallery’s own collection include Priestley House Entrance (1978) and Neilson House (1978), part of a haunting series which documents the demise of the Quarry Hill Estate, once the largest social housing complex in Britain.

The exhibition will display works for the first time from Mitchell’s personal collection and feature personal ephemera and found objects that contextualise his close association with the city.

Nothing Lasts Forever will also mark a return to Leeds Art Gallery for Mitchell, who had his first exhibition in 1975 in the Education Gallery at Leeds City Art Gallery.

Jane Bhoyroo, Principal Keeper at Leeds Art Gallery, said: “We are thrilled to be working closely with Peter on this major exhibition. As one of the UK’s most trailblazing colour photographers of the last century, Peter’s historic links with Leeds Art Gallery – having first exhibited here nearly 50 years ago – make this opportunity even more special. And for those that call Leeds home, we hope this exhibition will shed an intriguing new light on their urban surroundings.”

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture and education, added: “These remarkable images capture a series of important moments in the story of Leeds, and they will give visitors a real insight into how life in the city was decades ago as well as a fresh perspective on how much it has changed in the intervening years.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to exhibit work by such a renowned photographer in the beautiful setting of Leeds Art Gallery.”

To coincide with this major exhibition of Mitchell’s work comes the launch of a new publication, Nothing Lasts Forever. The book acts as a visual guide to navigate the artist’s long rooted and poetic connection with Leeds.

Nothing Lasts Forever is on display at Leeds Art Gallery from May 17 – October 6, 2024 and is free to visit. The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive programme of events, including Peter Mitchell in conversation with Martin Parr at Hyde Park Picture House on Friday August 9.

Nothing Lasts Forever published by RRB Photobooks is now available to order in soft cover or limited edition hardcover from – Trade Edition £30 / Special Edition £135


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