Holgate Gallery closes but stays online. ‘Potentially eyeing up city-centre location,’ says photographer-curator Duncan Lomax

Closed: Holgate Gallery

YORK commercial photographer and gallery curator Duncan Lomax has closed Holgate Gallery, in Holgate, York.

Workmen have removed the signage and the window frames already. “All change. We’re turning the property back to its original residential format, so that ultimately we can sell it and downsize,” says Duncan.

“That was always our long-term plan, so for now, the gallery will move to online [holgategallery.co.uk] and via our socials, but potentially we’re eyeing up a city-centre location, so watch this space.”

Duncan reflects: “The advantage of the gallery being at our house was that it was easy for me, especially during lockdown when my commercial work tailed off. The downside was that it wasn’t really practical to get someone else in to manage it when I’m out shooting commercial work, but that would be easier with a different location.”

To contact Duncan, email hello@holgategallery.co.uk. “Or message us on Instagram or Facebook @holgategallery,” he advises.

At the time of launching Holgate Gallery in his front room in October 2020, Duncan told CharlesHutchPress: “It’s a strange and challenging time to be opening a business.

“Why now? I think people are looking for some good news. People are stimulated by visual art, perhaps now more than ever. They’ve been stuck at home in lockdown, observing their walls on Zoom, and they’re now more aware of their homes, so in that sense maybe it’s a good time to set up a gallery.”

Duncan Lomax: Photographer, curator, tutor, Nineties’ guitarist

Duncan reasoned: “People are looking for a connection with what they put on their walls or in their rooms, so why would you buy three stones with a white stripe for your mantelpiece?

“That’s why, at Holgate Gallery, it’s not just pretty pictures of York, though there’ll always be a demand for that, but I’d like to think that we can challenge people more. With the creative photography I do, it’s deliberately imperfect and more abstract than the commercial work, which has to be perfect and generally done to someone else’s brief.”

The gallery address is 53, Holgate Road, a Grade 2-listed building that previously housed Bridge Pianos before Duncan and his wife Tracy moved in, turning the frontage from white to a deeply satisfying blue.

Holgate Gallery became only the second contemporary photographic art-space to be set up in York since the much-missed, pioneering Impressions Gallery deserted Castlegate for Bradford’s Centenary Square in 2007.

From July 2013 until last year, fellow commercial photographer Chris Ceaser ran Chris Ceaser Photography in early 15th century, Grade 2-listed, timber-framed premises at 89 Micklegate, focusing on his own landscape photographs of York, Yorkshire and beyond.

By comparison, Duncan complemented his commercial and abstract photographs and humorous faux Penguin Book cover prints with a regularly changing stock of work by other artists “who might not otherwise have the space to exhibit”.

Mostly they were local, but in the first instance, the spotlight fell on Cold War Steve, the alias of Birmingham digital-collage political satirist Christopher Spencer.

Chris Ceaser: Moved gallery from Micklegate, York, to Scrooby, near Bawtry

Duncan, who runs Ravage Productions Photography, provides commercial, portrait, event, PR, creative, architectural and travel photography services. He has been the official photographer for York Minster for some time, notably for the 2016 York Mystery Plays, and has shot portraits, marketing images and PR material for all manner of businesses both in the city and at large.

He also has taught photography to degree level and his pictures have appeared many times in the local and national press, from The Press and YorkMix to the Yorkshire Post, the BBC and The Times.

Born on the Wirral and brought up in Warrington, Duncan played guitar in early Nineties’ Widnes “baggy wannabees” and two-time John Peel Session band 35 Summers, but he was just as likely to be holding a camera as a guitar.

Meanwhile, after ten years in York, Chris Ceaser has relocated to a new studio and gallery at Ryton Studios, Scrooby, near Bawtry, South Yorkshire, home of the Pilgrim Fathers. In his landscape galleries can be found images from all over Yorkshire, the Lake District, Peak District, Northumberland, Scotland, London, Rome, Prague and Venice.

Together with his prints, Chris publishes more than 320 greetings cards designs, on sale through outlets across Great Britain. He hosts photography workshops and courses, open studio weekends and one-day editing courses and presents talks at photographic clubs and societies.

Did you know?

HOLGATE Gallery was previously a piano shop; before that, a hairdressers; before that, a painters & decorators.