The Mistaken Identity Project was birthed out of the dissatisfaction of young people with the way they felt the media continually misrepresented them. In discussion with young people, we developed an idea for a digital photography project, to expose media myths and negative portrayals of young people in Longsight and to show young people as they see themselves. This idea became the foundation of a successful funding application to Mediabox, which grew into the project, which young people called "Mistaken Identity".
Working in three separate peer groups, the 20 young people started with the creative concept process… writing, drawing and exploring ideas of the possible themes, issues and images they wanted to create. They then moved on to think about how they could translate their personal ideas and issues into pictorial form, using storyboarding. From here they organised themselves and delegated responsibilities, thinking about the locations and props needed to portray their images. The young people were taught how to use a Digital SLR camera by a professional photographer, before staging and capturing their photos. These were immediately transferred to a laptop on location, so the young people could see how their images appeared on screen and could make any necessary adjustments out on the shoot. Later they reviewed their images again on a large screen desktop computer and made selections as to which photographs to edit for their final prints. The young people then learned and applied the skills of photoshop image editing to their photographs. The final edits were printed, framed and exhibited in a local venue.
The young people also recorded an audio commentary on their pictures to explain the thinking and process behind them, which was made into an audio DVD and put together with a collection of the finished images in book form. We also had the images printed as a series of postcards.
The Photographic Art Exhibition was held in the heart of the Ardwick community, and the Lord Mayor, Cllr Mavis Smitheman attended the launch along with other dignitaries, local people and families. All were impressed with the transformation of the local venue into an ‘Art Gallery’, but were most of all impressed with the young people and their arresting images.
From the success of the exhibition, one young man gained photographic employment to cover the GMEC Awards at the Hilton, whilst the rest of the participants
were invited to attend this event as guests. Other photographic work has since been offered to two of the artists.
As a result of the local exhibition, in September 2009 Corridor Manchester sponsored a week long exhibition, plus a launch event for Mistaken Identity at the URBIS Art Gallery in Manchester City Centre. This was an amazing opportunity to further showcase the young people’s work to a wider audience.