Alice Longstaff is a remarkable figure in photography. Her career is one of the longest in photographic history, starting in 1921 when she was 14 and continuing until her death in 1992 aged 85. An archive of her photographs and negatives is now cared for by Pennine Heritage, a charity promoting the heritage and culture of the South Pennines, who are digitising and documenting Alice’s life’s work.
Incredibly, Alice’s photographs are not widely known, even within the photography communities. Very limited selections of photographs were exhibited at last year’s Hebden Bridge Arts Festival (‘The Lost Negatives’) and long term plans are in place to create a major exhibition and book. In the meantime, volunteers are still uncovering exciting, previously unseen photographs from the vast holdings in the archive, creating a growing body of work and knowledge about Alice’s practice and the history of her subjects and place.
As interest in photographic history shift towards the vernacular, documentary testimony and the real, this film will mark a particular moment in the history of the development of the archive, and will celebrate Alice’s talent and photographic eye. The film is narrated by Ian McMillan and produced by Greg Hobson and Pete Rush, in partnership with Pennine Heritage, Pennine Horizons Digital Archive and Hebden Bridge Arts Festival.