Round Our Way: Sam Hanna's Visual Legacy by Heather Norris Nicholson


Sam Hanna (1903-96), a pioneering filmmaker from Burnley, Lancashire, was once dubbed the ‘Lowry of filmmaking’, after meeting BBC broadcaster, Brian Redhead, back in the 1980s. The well-meant label stuck, even though it misses the variety of Hanna’s remarkable output.

Hanna’s intimate glimpses into the lives of strangers – sometimes named but often anonymous – enable us to imagine the possible stories that lie behind the images. Away from mid-century exponents of documentary filmmaking and photography, Hanna shows us humanity and a microcosm of a world in change, where his subjects are caught up in issues far beyond their grasp that we, as onlookers years later, encounter and see afresh. Past lives briefly caught on celluloid are reminders of our own strengths and vulnerabilities and the trajectory of time.

Written and curated by historian Heather Norris Nicholson, Round Our Way combines stills, essays and archive photography to document Hanna’s unique visual record on film, particularly in northern England, but also further afield, during decades of profound change.