In 2016 I curated and opened a one man show of my work at Redcar Palace Art Gallery. The photographs are based around a series of community events that occurred in the late Summer and Autumn of 2014. The following is from the Gallerist Mark Hickson's introduction to the accompanying exhibition book, that was sold at the gallery.
"In ‘Between the Sea and the Sky’ Francis Fitzgerald presents a documentary record of a number of communities based in his home, Redcar and Cleveland.
A major difficulty with this kind of work has always been to avoid creating a set of images which end up titillating the viewer with a voyeuristic experience of ‘other’ social groups and individuals. One way to avoid this is to valorize the subjects, to present them as heroically overcoming the odds stacked against them. The author of such work is frequently cast as the subject’s benefactor, aiding them by drawing attention to their plight.
Fitzgerald has avoided these problems by fully involving the community in his project as it has developed. The sharing of images through the communities’ social media streams has provided what he describes as an ‘instant feedback loop’. All involved have been invited to take some ownership of the images and share them electronically through their own social media streams. This is not an exploitative work but, rather, the recording, sharing and celebrating of quotidian lives, something to which we all can relate. The stories told here are lived by each generation, enduring truths about the human condition. They also have the photograph’s unique attribute – they are indexically linked to a particular moment in time and will thus acquire the value of historical source material in the future".