Pete Zulu opens new photography exhibition at The Customs House

Last Tuesday saw the opening of ‘Don’t Smile for the Camera’ at arts and entertainment venue The Customs House. The photography exhibition is the first in more than 20 years by the multi-talented chef, musician, writer and photographer Pete Zulu, who was also a founder of The Toy Dolls.
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All of the photos in the exhibition are in black and white, and shot on Zulu's Leica camera, which he regards as 'the best camera in the world'. Though around 30-40 pictures are featured, these were selected from an extensive collection of over 11,000

Once you walk into the gallery, you are immediately drawn to a large portrait of Pete's son, Todd. Once you start exploring the gallery a bit further, you will see pictures that span over a 40-year career, with some taken as far back as the late 80s, and others as recently as last month.

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The photographs offer us an insight into the life of the photographer, with most being shot in the North East of family and friends, as well as some iconic shots from the Eiffel Tower, the streets of Venice and the beaches at Seaburn.

Pete with a picture of his son.Pete with a picture of his son.
Pete with a picture of his son.

Even some of the pictures of unknown subjects feel familiar, with similar themes being placed together in the gallery (by curator Rory Williams) to almost tell a story as you make your way around the room.

The mix of framed photographs, as well as those that are stuck to the wall by drawing pins, gives the exhibition as a whole a really intimate and down-to-earth feel, almost as though you were looking at pictures on somebody's bedroom wall.

The exhibition is running at The Customs House Gallery until March 31, and is a must for any fan of photography or Pete's work. Customers of his restaurant, the Black Horse in Boldon, may even spot themselves!