I have been exchanging TWEETS with a guy called Andy Thelwell. He’s a photographer who has just started a blog of his pictures of Manchester.
My blog isn’t really a photography blog. It’s an online diary of my wandering about the city and recording the things that take my fancy. It’s a way of organising my pictures in such a way that I can see them when I want to. Before I started this they just piled up on the computer never to be seen again. This way I can find them and other people, if the are so minded, can look at them and hopefully get some pleasure from them. I have been surprised by the number of people who have found them and have been kind enough to let me know.
But it isn’t a photography blog. I just have my point and press digital camera which I keep in one mode and snap anything I see that I like. The new camera has lots of options but it’s all too much for me being a bear of very little brain and I don’t have the patience to work out what they all do. By the time you have sorted through the menu to find whatever you want the moment has gone. Occasionally one of my pictures does look professional as if it has been set up but that usually happens by accident. Most go on the blog as they were shot with no cropping or any other kind of alteration. What you see is what you get!
But Andy’s new blog is a different thing altogether. Much less wordy than mine (I like to write and we get so little chance these days) and his pictures are much more considered and carefully put together. I suspect he has a much better camera than my little point and push job and also knows his way around the menu and has the patience to use the features.
While on my blog you get to see the big set pieces of Manchester, the impressive Victorian architecture and cutting edge modern architecture. Andy’s blog, so far, captures the atmosphere of the city by photographing some of the city that is little seen or not considered. He has a way of taking the mundane, the unnoticed or even the ugly and bringing out the beauty that you don’t see at first glance. Or even the fourth…
He’s allowed me to use some of his pictures to illustrate this post. I’m using two. I won’t use more because he’s only just started and if I did there wouldn’t be much point on clicking on the link to his blog.
This first one is of Great Bridgewater Street where the road runs under where the rail tracks that used to come into Central Station. I always feel unsafe walking through here even if it’s in a very safe part of the city. It has the Hilton Hotel at one end and the Bridgewater Hall at the other so the dodgy looking characters you see walking through it are likely to be tourists staying at the Hilton on the way to listen to Beethoven played by the Halle at the Bridgewater. It’s usually dark and sombre in here even on a warm sunny day, water drips from the roof. Superficially it isn’t an attractive place, But Andy has managed to bring out the beauty with the three stripes of colour across the picture, the texture of the bricks, the pool of light from the street lamp and the blur of something as it rushes through the tunnel. Great care has been taken with the composition of the picture and I wonder how many pictures had to be taken until he got the blur of light?
I’ve taken pictures of this myself. It’s Northern Flower in Tib Street in my favourite stomping ground of the N4. I love the busyness of this picture with all the flowers and plants arranged on the pavement outside the store. This is balanced by the relative simplicity of the upper part of the building with the windows reflecting the buildings across the street and the sky. It must have been Christmas, trees are on the pavement and on the wall above the store. Even the street signs add to the composition with that bright blue of the direction sign. I think you can just see Andy himself reflected in the store window.
If you would like to see more of Andy’s work click the link below or the one in the blog roll to the right. And return often. I will be to see how it develops….