A passion for photography in the frame

IN THE PICTURE ... photographer Donna-Lisa Healy with her image of Lord Melvyn Bragg.
IN THE PICTURE ... photographer Donna-Lisa Healy with her image of Lord Melvyn Bragg.

A PHOTOGRAPHER with the write stuff is putting literary heroes in the frame at a South Tyneside museum.

Donna-Lisa Healy captured images of poets, playwrights and novelists as part of a fundraising appeal for a famous Tyneside library.

Called Creative Passions, the photographs will be on display at Bede’s World, Jarrow, from today. TERRY KELLY reports.

Visiting the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland, was a life-changing event for Donna-Lisa.

Previously, the world of painting and photography had played no real part in the life of the former barmaid and waitress from Chester-le-Street.

But seeing art up close and personal in the famous Scottish gallery changed her life forever.

She said: “It really was a turning point in my life.

“I realised I wanted to get involved in some kind of art and I later studied for a foundation course and then a degree in photography at Sunderland University.”

Last year, Donna-Lisa’s academic star rose even higher when she gained an MA in photography from Sunderland University.

But she also saw her work shown publicly for the first time, after taking a series of pictures of leading poets, novelists, journalists and playwrights, for an exhibition called Creative Passions, at the Literary and Philosophical Society, in Westgate Road, Newcastle.

This included photographic portraits of leading broadcaster and novelist Lord Melvyn Bragg and North East reporter Kate Adie, plus numerous other writers from throughout the UK.

Proceeds from the sale of the photographs went to an appeal by the historic Lit&Phil private library, which is raising cash for restoration work.

Now Creative Passions has transferred to Bede’s World, in Church Bank, Jarrow, where the photographs will be on display in Jarrow Hall, until May 31.

The subjects for the display range from Jarrow-born poet and playwright Tom Kelly to novelists Ann Cleeves and Alasdair Gray and popular crime writer Val McDermid.

Ms Healy added: “It was great photographing writers for the Lit&Phil exhibition, and people like Melvyn Bragg were lovely to work with. Plus, the library is a great setting. The exhibition was later shown at the Queen’s Hall, Hexham, and Jarrow Hall will be the last venue for Creative Passions.”

The talented snapper is currently the house photographer for The Gala Theatre, Durham, capturing numerous actors and performers at the venue.

She added: “I would like to put another exhibition together, again using some of the photographic portraits I’ve taken over the last year or two.”

Pictures featured in Creative Passions are on sale at Bede’s World, with all proceeds again for the Lit&Phil appeal.

A poetry reading to launch the exhibition, featuring Tom Kelly, Joan Johnston, Kathleen Kenny, Lisa Matthews and Bob Beagrie, will be held at Jarrow Hall, at 6.30pm tonight.

Call Bede’s World on 489 2106 for more details.

Twitter: @terrykelly16