A Flash of Inspiration | Monochrome Manchester


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Monochrome Manchester

December 28, 2015  •  9 Comments

We want to open our doors and for nobody to walk through them. 

The Wellspring, Stockport. 

By far one of my favourite places to photograph is the Castlefield area in the city of Manchester. A beautiful grungy tangle of historic waterways and railways - a reminder of Manchester's grand industrial past. This urban heritage site was perfect location to test out my Fuji x100t in an city setting. Although in recent months I've been using the camera in a wide variety of situations I always envisaged that urban settings would be where it would prove most productive. 

Castlefield is a paradise for photographers. I like to visit early mornings on a Sunday when it  feels like the city is still asleep and recovering from the revelry of the night before. The downside is that certain areas can leave you feeling vulnerable and especially more so as a female. At times I can be oblivious to danger as I'm absorbed in creating. Add expensive camera gear in to the mix and the chances of getting mugged can be perceived to be increased.  There are dark hidden spaces and uninviting deep  murky areas of water. A place where the imagination can run wild. Nevertheless, there is a certain thrill which makes a great capture all the more worthwhile. 

photo at Castlefield Manchester

I waited and waited for a lone figure to cross this bridge. When a bloke in a dark hoody crossed I knew as soon as I'd captured the scene that it would convey perfectly  the sense of place.

photo at Castlefield Manchester

Looking up from the dark shadows below and I'm fascinated by the different structures crammed together - styles, shapes and textures. I would imagine not very welcoming after dark though!

photo at Castlefield Manchester

The criss cross of cast iron tructures add interesting shape and texture - and with beer barrels and graffiti thrown in the mix for added interest. 

photo at Castlefield Manchester

Looking up again as a train rumbled overhead. Home to the pigeons!

photo at Castlefield Manchester

I battled with my conscience whether to post this or not. This is someone's child. To be so alone. But then, like it or not, this is reality in the city. There's no avoiding the rough sleepers. I can not imagine how difficult survival is for these people. Homelessness in Manchester has been a controversial topic in the news headlines in this winter. And whilst politicians and pressure groups and even those on the streets argue amongst themselves on how to ease the problem the desperation continues. 

photo at Castlefield Manchester

Finally I had to sneak in a colour shot. I love to shoot reflections. A perfect blue sky would've popped the colour but I'm in Manchester and, as the saying goes, "it's grim up north" and yes, it was a grim day but that adds to the drama of the location!

photo at Castlefield Manchester

The Fuji x100t is now my camera of choice for urban photography. I won't go into the technical aspects of the camera here  - there are plenty of reviews online for that - except to say that the quality met my expectations and it feels so very good in my hands.  The big plus for me is that I feel safer shooting with a smaller and more discreet camera and don't have to compromise on quality. Having said that I must tell you that my one scary encounter came not from a human but from a butch looking pit bull type dog who almost cornered me and made my heart race by the water just behind the far barge in the top photo! 


PS My charity of choice to support the homeless and disadvantaged local to my area is The Wellspring in Stockport. The link is here if you'd care to take a look. 





diana foster(non-registered)
wow, Manchester in monochrome. so cool! Seriously.
Diana Foster(non-registered)
Oh how I would love to see some of the wonderful places you go. Just wonderful. Always love coming to visit.
Your black and white images are always stunning!
Great post, love the way you have captured the urban decay. My favourite is the guy on the bridge, so atmospheric
Oh Helen, you are brave...the description of the surroundings made me quiver. However, the stunning shots you now have, and the beautiful black and white process on them, make them a treasure with a story. I love architecture, black and white, and urban. Beautifully done, and I'm also happy to hear about your love of the X100t...hoping to add a similar one to my bag this year.
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