How two photographers from Blackpool and Lytham have inspired visitors at exhibitions in London, Italy and America

Marianne van Loo
Marianne van Loo
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Two female photographers are making big waves across the Atlantic with their iconic work.

Marianne van Loo, of Ansdell, and Dawn Mander, of Lytham, currently have photos exhibited not only in London, but also in America.

Marianne van Loo and Dawn Mander

Marianne van Loo and Dawn Mander

The pair have work showing at a gallery in Mallord Street, Chelsea, as part of the Representation on the Line: (Un)framing our Identities exhibition, which was curated by the Royal Photographic Society and runs from now until the end of June.

The display is a series of conceptual portraits and photographs that explores the themes of identity, culture, representation and heritage.

View some of the work here: See the talented work of Blackpool's Marianne van Loo in capturing fellow photographer Kate Yates at a London exhibition

Meanwhile, across the pond, Marianne, 52, is showing photos through Curator Space at Blue Mind Reggae Arts Centre in Jamestown, whilst Dawn, 64, is depicting portraits of women in a collection, Two Way Street, in San Francisco.

Dawn Mander

Dawn Mander

The women are no strangers to having their work seen internationally as they have both exhibited with Loosenart twice in Rome over the past two years and are both regular contributors to Italian Photovogue.

Dawn, a mother-of-three, with three grandchildren, said: “It is exciting to be on a Vogue page, but when we are getting other offers from people saying they would like to show our work elsewhere, it all feels very real. All the hard work is getting somewhere. I saw a page on Facebook for the Two Way Street exhibition and my work got chosen to be shown in San Francisco. I am also presently working on an ongoing video and photography project 40SecondsStreet, documenting Blackpool, with an image used for the front of Seaside Special: Postcards from the Edge, published by BlueMoose Books.”

See her work here: See the talented work of Lytham's Dawn Mander in capturing the loss of identity through poverty, austerity, addiction and mental health as part of an exhibition in Chelsea

Marianne, who has lived in Holland before moving to Blackpool in 1995, added: “It is great putting your work out there and it getting accepted. My work in Jamestown was as a result of an online collaboration, where curators were asking for work to be shown around the world.”

Marianne began her photographic journey in 2006 when she completed a diploma in photography at Blackpool and Fylde College and followed this up with a masters in the subject at University of Central Lancashire. She moved to India for her husband’s work, and the scenes out there inspired her even more.

She said: “I took a career break from my job at Progress Housing group when I had my son. Within that time I did a diploma and masters in photography. I never went back to Progress as we moved to India.
“I have always liked taking photos. It helps create memories as when I take a photo, I can look back on it and remember it all.
“At first I was focused on derelict buildings but now I am more focused on American fine art. When I was in India I took loads of pictures of people as it was a fascinating place.”

Dawn is self taught after her career in theatre and dance led to a fusion of the arts. She said: “I do more documentary and street photography. I like to take pictures of what I see in front of me, which is more candid and not staged.”

The pair, who had been working independently for years, met three years ago on the Blackpool art scene. They began attending regular meet-ups at Shaws Art House Cafe in Blackpool with other fellow artists.

One of their most recent collaborations includes Burger and Noodles in response to the recent EAT-Lancet Commissions report on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. Last year, they were nominated for 100 Heroines, an initiative by the Royal Photographic Society to celebrate women in photography.