PROFILE: Hazel Plater & Maria Maza | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Maria Maza

It’s universally acknowledged that Newcastle does nights out in a pretty big way. The city’s party scene is revered, and perhaps reviled, for many of the same reasons: whether you want to drink expensive sugary booze alongside Geordie Shore ‘stars’, down trebles in the Bigg Market or dance the night away in a mega-club, it’s all here for the taking.

What’s not always immediately obvious is the beauty in these late night scenes: lasses wobbling on high heels into cocktail bars (and then, later, takeaways); eager lads looking for action; and those who work amongst the chaos. It’s these often intimate moments that street photographers Hazel Plater and Maria Maza set out to capture in their one-night-only collaborative exhibition for The Late Shows, On The Lash, at Star & Shadow Cinema on Friday 17th May.

Having taken part in photowalks for several years, and with a background in the region’s music industry, Hazel discovered a love for photographing interesting corners of the city, but she was always reluctant to take pictures of people. “I was always extremely worried about photographing people in public places, until I discovered it was completely legal to do so!” Maria, a freelance photographer with an eye for candid, reportage-style work, enjoyed a newfound confidence in street photography. “I realised what really made me happy was looking at people and capturing those fleeting moments, feelings, tender gestures or funny contrasts you get on the street.”

Hazel cites Newcastle’s vibrant nightlife and revellers’ determination to have a good time as an inspiration for their work. For Maria, the relationships between alcohol and partying were a factor: “As someone not originally from here, I was always fascinated by the nightlife culture in Newcastle. I grew up in Spain where alcohol is everywhere, but mostly as an accompaniment to food. Here it is a way of life and people know how to have the best time!”

What’s striking about Hazel and Maria’s work is the vibrancy of the images; the photos aren’t grubby or derisive, but have a celebratory air. Their work isn’t about poking fun at scantily clad girls or rowdy lads, but merely observing a culture that’s deeply ingrained in the city. “My experience has always been very positive.” Maria says. “I’ve always found that people go out with incredible cheer and ready to have a great time, and if and when they noticed us they were nothing but very friendly.”

 

Image by Hazel Plater

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