Mike McWade - Metropolitan CathedralLife in Hope

Anglican Cathedral, Hope Street
4th October - 30th November 2010

Reviewed by Charles McIntyre

Life in Hope continues the contemplative tour of the Hope Street area which began back in August with the Hardman's Hope exhibition. In true Liverpool style, scousers everywhere have been donning their cameraman's capes in hope of out-doing Hardman himself in a competitive clash of the lenses.

This cleverly conceived competition - trendily named Cathedral2Cathedral - has drawn out the city's artistic flare to coincide with the Biennial festivities. This has resulted in a refreshingly diverse outcome, as a healthy mix of professional, amateur and - to be brutally honest - bad photography has come to adorn the walls of the exhibition. In a cathedral, this sense of Christian tolerance isn't misplaced.

The impatient exhibition-goer may find the apparent 'open door' approach to entries frustrating, but in a time of pretentious, overworked and overpriced art, seeing someone's raw enthusiasm rewarded with a place in an exhibition is surprisingly satisfying.

Although repetitive (stained glass windows feature ever so slightly too frequently), the exhibition benefits from its varied sources, in age as well as ability. Holly Radford's picture – which was the winner in the junior section – captures the tunnel to St James' cemetery with real amateur style. Meanwhile, more distinguished photographers, such as Eilish Culley (see Elements of Curiosity), bring a more refined perspective to the exhibition.

Life in Hope may not be the most extravagant or accomplished exhibition, but it does offer a revitalised appreciation of Liverpool's unique Hope Street area and the community it supports.

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