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'Faces of the South Downs' exhibition comes to MERL – University of Reading

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'Faces of the South Downs' exhibition comes to MERL

Release Date 17 January 2006

a photograph from the exhibitionA photographic diary of the people who live and work around the South Downs is now being shown at the University of Reading's Museum of English Rural Life. 'Faces of the South Downs', by photographer Anne Purkiss, is a personal view of the people she met in the area between 2002 and 2005, and the exhibition represents the various ways in which they live with this landscape and continue to change it. "During the time that I took these photos, the draft boundaries for a South Downs National Park were drawn up and a public enquiry held," said Anne. "I came to see not only the landscapes, historic buildings and tourist sites but above all the people who live and work with this landscape and whose lives might be affected or changed with the creation of a South Downs National Park. "My main interest for this exhibition was to present a social document of the area, and to photograph the people of the South Downs in a time of change. I tried to photograph people from different social backgrounds and occupations who are in some way associated with the South Downs." Anne Purkiss was born and brought up in Germany. She finished a degree course in Journalism and Photography in 1983 and moved to London in 1984, when she began working as a media photographer. Since 1988, she has been a freelancer and her particular interest is portait photography. Her work has been bought by the National Portrait Gallery and her pictures shown in personal exhibitions both in Germany and in England. The new MERL, now in Redlands Road, Reading, opened its doors to the public in July 2005 following a three-year relocation and redevelopment project. The museum is about life and work in the countryside over the last 200 years and presents its entire collection of over 22,000 objects in a new and innovative display and open store. There is also a vast archive containing historic records, over 1 million photographs and extensive film material as well as a large reference library. The exhibition runs until Sunday 5 March, 2006. The museum is open Tuesday–Friday 10am until 4.30pm and weekends between 2pm and 4.30pm. It is closed on Bank Holidays, Easter and between Christmas and New Year. Admission is free. For further information please call 0118 378 8660 or visit the website End For images and other media enquiries, please contact Craig Hillsley, the University's press officer. T: 0118 378 7388 E:

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