Side Photographic Collection

Through its own production, support, purchase and retrieval, Amber has built up a significant photographic collection. Where possible, we're putting this work online.

The photographic engagement with the North of England has produced a remarkable enough body of work, but since Side Gallery opened in 1977, this has been extended through exhibition purchases and donations to include a wide-ranging representation of the international classic and contemporary documentary that continues to inspire us. Where we hold the rights and/or where the photographer gives permission, we're committed to putting as much of this work online as possible. As funding allows, new exhibitions will appear and some exhibitions will be developed further. Side Gallery, through the work of which so much of this collection has been achieved, is supported by Arts Council England.
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Nowhere Called Home

Peter Bialobrzeski (Photographer)

A Sicilian immigrant community in Germany and, on holiday, in Sicily, late 1980s, documented by one of the photographers involved in the Crook International Photography Workshop in 1993.


Richard Grassick (Photographer)

Documentation of the working lives and campaigning of members of the National Union of Public Employees, 1978 to 1993, initiated by the photographer as part of union journal Northern News & Views.

Peaceable Kingdoms

Graeme Rigby (Writer), Peter Fryer 2 (Photographer)

An exploration of allotment garden culture in Newcastle upon Tyne, developed in 1991/92 in a commission by the city council. It became an exhibition and a book (now out of print), the full text of which, based on interviews with the allotment holders, is included here.

People of the Hills

Richard Grassick (Photographer)

A long-term documentation of life in the upper Durham dales, which began to be fully developed in the early 1990s, linked to the photographer's co-ordination of the Crook International Photography Workshop in 1993. The work continues.

Post Industrial

Richard Grassick (Photographer)

The lives of four ex-miners and their families in East Durham, 1998 to 2004, compared with post-industrial experience in Bremerhaven in Germany, documented as part of Amber's Coalfield Stories programme of production and commissions.


Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen (Photographer)

A documentation from 1979 of the area of Newcastle where the collective is based, then under threat of redevelopment. The exhibition and publication (full text included here) featured photographs by Sirkka and, fellow Amber member at the time, Graham Smith. The work is linked to Amber's film Quayside.


Ian Macdonald (Photographer)

Documentation of the traditional game of Quoits, as played in the Esk Valley, North Yorkshire, late 1970s. The text includes the game's rules and an explanation of its terminology.

Ramar Goodbye

Richard Grassick (Photographer)

Documentation of a South West Durham clothing factory taken in the weeks before closure, 1991, part of an engagement with Weardale industry that led to the photographer's People of the Hills.

River Project

Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen (Photographer)

Photographs of the coal industry and shipbuilding on the River Tyne, 1970s. They are linked to Amber's films High Row, Launch and Bowes Line and Amber's The River Project, which brought together photography, film, visual art and writing.

Sander Collection

August Sander (Photographer)

Photographs from the classic portrait survey of German life in the 1920s and 1930s, People of the Twentieth Century.