I have today completed my Documentary Photography Feature on the regeneration of the Anfield area of Liverpool. I spent two afternoons wandering the almost abandoned streets and came accross some interesting people and places. You can see the images I chose to submit here. In addition to these, I decided to create a short slideshow video showcasing a selection of images from the assignment and have set these to a backdrop of the sounds of the area, which I recorded whilst there. Check out that video here below.
The Anfield area of Liverpool is famed for being the home of one of the world’s most successful football clubs – Liverpool FC. In the shadow of the club’s iconic stadium, plans to regenerate are now finally under way. Around 1800 properties are to be demolished in total, with brand new homes, schools and business properties being constructed in their place. Sadly, the community has been pulled apart over the past decade and the streets, for now, are an otherworldly ghost town. Fences have been erected to cut off areas to the public and slowly houses are coming down brick by brick. The set of images I have created are a documentary on the closure of the area, its disrepair, demolition, and finally, its resurrection. The images have been created with inspiration from photographers Len Grant, Robert Polidori and Don McPhee, with the aim of publication in national newspaper The Guardian and local regional newspapers The Liverpool Echo and the Liverpool Daily Post.
When thinking about how to document my subject, I took into consideration the look and feel of the typical photographs featured in The Guardian, both online and in print. Looking at the typical photographs showcased in a Guardian article the images tend to be creative and artistic. They pay attention to traditional artistic rules, such as the rule of thirds and the golden number. Block colour also tends to feature heavily, where the subject allows. The resulting images therefore appear more attractive to the human eye and somewhat more commercial. The subject comes first, however, and the accuracy of documenting what the scene portrays is vital in capturing an accurate image with historical value. Typically, the images are used as an illustration of a story, and so the the main subject of the article is not always the main focus of the image. This is useful when creating an attractive and interesting image and I utilised this technique in creating my photographs.
The set of images I have created document the cycle of construction and destruction present in Anfield at this point in time. This cycle begins with an introduction to the area and the clear dilapidation signified by the graffiti. Immediately we are shown signs that the area is run down signified by closed down businesses and their burnt out premises. One could easily walk with eyes on the pavement and ignore the destruction within. Only when we bring our eyes above the level of the first floor do we see that many of the buildings are in a clear state of disrepair. This brings us to the second stage of the apparent cycle – closure and disrepair. The houses in the area are almost all exclusively boarded up and have been vandalised and abused before being demolished. Visible signs of this are the graffiti, left items and damage signifying the awful state of the area. The following stage is demolition, which is shown by the image of the inside of what used to be someone’s home. We are looking at the remains of the front of the house with no surrounding walls. The shear destruction is apparent and we can see the crumbled bricks lying on top of an old mattress in what would’ve been the front room. In the next stage rebuilding starts to take place, we see the grounds of an old school and its colourful fence, which now surrounds a construction compound housing building materials. We leave the sad scenes of the derelict streets and begin to see signs of a revival. We see builders putting the finishing touches to a series of new houses and the story seems to be concluding with a somewhat happy ending. We can see Christmas decorations lighting up the windows of someone’s brand new home. They signify the warmth of their new life in a new community.
The angle I wanted to portray was the angle which I heard from local business owners and residents. They feel that the regeneration has taken far too long and that there have been several injustices in the entire process. I heard how a local business owner believed that construction companies employed in the area to complete demolition and building work were lining the pockets of politicians. A young couple who still remain in one of the largely abandoned streets said that they were quite happy with having to wait until April 2012 for their brand new home up the street. Despite being somewhat lonely, as the only occupied house on their street, they were looking to the future.
I feel that the set of images I have created portray accurately what I experienced and heard in Anfield. I captured the empty streets, which go unnoticed on a match day at Anfield and the slow collapse of what used to be a healthy community. I decided to keep my images in colour, despite being tempted to add the atmosphere by changing the photographs to black and white. I felt that by leaving them in colour they would fit better into my target publications. If I were to return and add to this series, I would like to shoot portraits of some of the residents with their old and new homes. Overall, I feel this task went well, and if anything I came away with too many images which I would’ve liked to include.
I have formulated two ideas upto this point. The first deals with the global issue of mass food production in the modern day. I would photograph mass farming (crop and livestock), factory production and meat preparation for human consumption. The second idea looks at the revival of the river Mersey and how it is returning from a putrid, almost lifeless state to a clean, healthy bed of life.
After looking into my two concepts in more detail I have arrived at a number of problems. Due to the time of year I am unable to find farming subjects of a quality and feel that I can return to this subject during the warmer months to create the article as I envision it.
I turned to the second concept and through my research have found that the sea life centre, which used to house all sorts of life from the mersey, along with tons of information, has closed its doors. Due to this, I have decided to create an entirely new concept. I still want to work within the merseyside area and have arrived at the issue of the regeneration of Anfield – a place I spend most Saturdays watching Liverpool FC.
My aim is to document the urban decay, demolition and re-construction – the revival of Anfield. I will talk to residents, business owners and the builders working in the area and try to photograph what they tell me.
Since arriving at my final concept, I have been researching similar photo stories and articles. Surprisingly I have found very few sets of images like this, which actually tell the full story from closure to rebuilding. National newspaper The Guardian appears to be the most active in publishing stories on issues like these. I came across a set of photos in their gallery by photographer Len Grant on the community of East Manchester. The Guardian is a publication, which I admire for publishing accurate images, which remain creative and eye-catching. I will aim my article at this publication considering their typical approach and aesthetic.
Two other publications I will also be taking into consideration when creating my piece are the Liverpool Echo and Liverpool Daily Post. These are regional newspapers, which regularly feature stories and galleries of Liverpool and its issues.
I have spent some time in the Anfield area, and regularly visit to watch the football, but I have never really taken into consideration what is actually going on in the area. Clearly it is in a state of disrepair, but it wasn’t until I investigated the regeneration plans that I realised the extent of what is going on. Plans to revive the area have been on the table for the best part of a decade, but largely nothing has really happened. Slowly streets have been emptied of their inhabitants and all houses boarded and gutted. Around 1800 properties will be flattened in seven phases, clearing space for a whole new community to be built.
After researching on the Internet, the general feel I have come across is that things aren’t moving quick enough and that residents feelings aren’t being held high enough in the list of priorities. I’ll be interested to see how this unfolds when I spend time talking to people around the area. In addition, it seems as though the current dilapidation is creating a more dangerous environment for remaining citizens with crime and dangerous refuse having risen greatly.
Similar Projects & Relative Photographers
As I have already mentioned, Len Grant is one photographer who works in the area of urban regeneration and community. He has made an entire career out of photographing the issues faced by smaller communities, specifically in Manchester.
Today we were tasked with planning and developing our assignments further. I managed to get my list article Liverpool’s Top 10 Christmas Charms 2011 completely finished and submitted last week, so I have been able to concentrate on work for other modules. I was really happy with what I managed to achieve in such horrendous weather and came out with some fairly decent photos of Liverpool’s festive treats, which included Christmas markets, Paul McCartney, and plenty of shopping.
As the list article assignment is out of the way, I’ve been able to concentrate solely on my case study. I’ve come to a final decision on the title and have decided to go with ‘From Apple to Aardvark: An overview of the life and work of Andrew Zuckerman’. I think it expresses exactly what I am aiming present – a brief biography of where Zuckerman came from, what he has achieved, and the photographs he has created in doing so.
Below is some research consisting of links, photos and videos I have collected today, which will help me to put together a strong article.
http://www.photographymonthly.com/Tips-and-Techniques/Pro-Zone/Andrew-Zuckerman-Graphic-Portraiture Magazine/website article
http://vimeo.com/19755808 Andrew Zuckerman Creative Mornings presentation
http://www.thefstopmag.com/?p=309 Interview in a magazine
I’m happy with what I’ve managed to put together in today’s class. I’ve collated some really useful resources that will make up the basis of my article, and I now need to crack on with writing and designing it.
So, your Christmas tree is up, you’ve sent all of your Christmas cards and you just can’t figure out what to do next? Here are 10 festive treats Liverpool has to offer you this Christmas.
Christmas is the time for joy and giving, but somehow we still seem to end up running around like headless turkeys and locking antlers over that one remaining super-toy that every child must have. If it’s not the kids then it’s the bumbling, drunk uncle dancing a jig and squawking his way through the annual Christmas playlist. Wouldn’t it be better if we could all just take the night off and enjoy some real Christmas cheer?
Liverpool has a packed winter calendar, so finding something to suit your tastes will be easy! How about a festive four course feast, a cup of tea with the Mad Hatter or a serenading from Paul McCartney? This Christmas list will help make your winter that extra bit warmer.
1. Christmas Lights
On November 9th Liverpool’s Christmas lights were unveiled by 2010 X-Factor runner-up Rebecca Ferguson with an aptly dazzling show. Visit the city’s sparkling Christmas tree on Church Street and follow the lights as they lead you around the streets on a tour of some Europe’s best shopping.
2. Moroccan Market of Handicraft
Head down to Whitechapel, next to the Met Quarter where you can experience some of the traditional arts and crafts of Morocco. A stunning range of products made by Moroccan artisans are available, such as handmade rugs, clothes, pottery and even herbs and spices.
Whitechapel, 9am-Late everyday. 24th Nov-22nd Dec.
3. Boutique Shopping at Met Quarter
Liverpool’s Met Quarter is the perfect place to pick up that extra special gift. Showcasing high quality brands, like Illamasqua, Links London, Hugo Boss and a brand new Jack Wills store it’s great if you have a bit of extra cash lying around.
Whitechapel, open everyday with 7pm closing on Thursdays.
4. Christmas Markets and Stalls
What better way to spend a chilly winter’s evening than cruising through twinkling streets, tasting all the Christmas goodies on offer. A variety of cultural markets, stalls and tents from across the world are stocked with treats and stocking fillers aplenty
Lord St, Church St, Whitechapel, Paradise St.
5. Christmas in the Park
Check out the enchanting array of attractions atop of Chevasse park in the Liverpool One complex. Visit Santa’s Grotto in the Ice Palace and enjoy some ice skating before warming yourself with a mince pie and hot cocktail in the Polar Bar.
Chevasse Park, Liverpool One. Nov 9th-Dec 24th.
6. Shopping at Liverpool One
Liverpool One, as the UK’s largest open-air shopping centre, has everything you could possibly want this Christmas, whether for yourself or that special someone. Be sure to pick up something unique for Christmas dinner at the Harvey Nichols pop-up food market.
Open 9am-9pm weekdays, 8pm Sat & 5pm Sun.
7. Christmas Dinner at Alma de Cuba
Where better to eat Christmas dinner than in an old Catholic Church adorned with a floor to ceiling mirror and chandeliers made from antlers. It really has to be seen to be believed. Keep an eye out for the petal shower and Brazilian dancers. Book early not to miss out!
Prices between £30.95-£34.95.
8. Alice In Wonderland at Tate Liverpool
Take a journey into the obscure and twisted world of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Tate Liverpool hosts a selection of artworks by Carroll and several inspired pieces ranging from pop art to psychedelia. You’ll see stunning pieces from renowned artists such as Salvador Dalí and René Magritte.
Nov 4th – Jan 29th.
9. Albert Dock
Enjoy a day out at Liverpool’s Albert Dock. Start with a trip around the Beatles Museum before taking in the city’s top sights with Santa on the Yellow Duckmarine. Continue into the evening with a meal at Portico or Gusto before enjoying a few cocktails at Circo and a mulled wine at Vinea.
10. Paul McCartney at the Echo Arena
Paul McCartney brings his spectacular show ‘On The Run’ to a finale in his home town at the Liverpool Echo Arena. The 11 date tour has spanned the entire globe, with shows in Peru, Brazil, New York and now Liverpool. Bring the year to a close in style at this fantastic show.
Hospitality tickets £219 per person.
After debating between Christmas foods and Christmas attractions and considering the resources available to me, I have decided to base my list article on things to do in Liverpool this Christmas.
As for the title, I have been playing around with a few ideas:
Liverpool’s Top 10 Christmas Attractions
Liverpool’s Top 10 Winter Warmers
Liverpool’s Top 10 Winter Attractions
Liverpool’s Top 10 Christmas Charms 2011 – I chose this as my title as it stood out to me as being poetic, yet specific, and definitely the most catchy of the bunch.
- Albert Dock (shopping, food/drink, nightlife)
- Christmas Markets (various around the city)
- Art Galleries/Museums (open eye gallery, tate, williamson art gallery, museum of liverpool)
- Theatres (empire, royal court, philharmonic)
- Shopping (cavern walks, bold st, liverpool one, met quarter)
- Christmas Decorations/Activities (ice skating, ice bar, fair, reindeer, lights at albert hall/all streets, craft activities clayton square)
- Restaurants (il forno, alma de cuba, the noble house)
After returning from photographing as many of the above researched attractions as I could, I am now selecting the best attractions to go in to my top ten. I found the trip fairly hassle free, with the only real problem being a challenging gale-force wind and rain combo. That said, I think I’ve managed to get some pretty decent images and I’m looking forward to seeing them with put together with some text.
Here is my finished list article – Liverpool’s Top 10 Christmas Charms 2011
During today’s class we reviewed what we need to hand-in for both modules and recapped where we are individually regarding our assignments. I briefly spoke to Karl and clarified my ideas about the work I am yet to do on my list article and case-study pieces.
I now feel more comfortable about what is required for the list article assignment and have a good set of ideas, which I can start improving and setting out as a rough plan. At the moment, I am thinking of creating a list article along the lines of favourite festive foods or drinks, or attractions featuring in Liverpool this Christmas. This will inevitably develop depending on what I can achieve through my photography over the next few days, as we are required to illustrate the article with our own images.
As mentioned here in week 7, I have been looking at the work of Andrew Zuckerman recently and intend to create my case-study piece on him and his work. The layout will be a double-page magazine article profiling him by showing some of his images and talking about his past, present and future (if possible) works. I shall be researching relevant, and similar, articles for a better understanding of what content and layout I should be looking to include.
I am happy with how beneficial today’s class was for an informal session. I now have a much better idea of what I need to get on with and where I need to start.