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  • Ali Bell

Liverpool, A world in one city!


Liverpool is changing dramatically, Month by month, Year by year and a cosmopolitan adventure for the new age romantics is well and truly alive. One thing that strikes me dearly though is the city never allows itself to forget its past, and its with that thought that a docu-tographer really has their fun.

Setting off to catch the ferry with my 6 year old son at 10am on a Tuesday morning, and the anticipated rain never really materialized, stormy weather can often add to dramatize a scene within a photograph and that certainly wouldn't have worried me, nor my boy who was looking forward to "stormy seas"...well he had to settle for slightly bumpy river!

Liverpool City Center now visibly separated between what it was, what it is and what is yet to come and you don't have to go far in any direction to get a taste for any one of those options. Edgy architectural lines and a skyline that will now rival even the most picturesque waterfronts, I cant think of many. As you cross the Mersey passengers are informed of the city's current privilege of being one of the worlds famous UNESCO heritage sites, in particular this relates to the waterfront and the history within the docklands and service to industry within the UK's greatest time of economic growth. During the 1800's the city's population increased three fold and the port of Liverpool developed into the second busiest port in the country and an incredibly important resource during war time. The museum of Liverpool tells this tale in immense detail and clarity and even to those not loyal to the area can learn allot from these fascinating scriptures.

Sticking momentarily with the theme of wartime then and the "Pier masters house" is another insight into how this city thrived in spite of great loss and tragedy to its heartlands. The house remains in great detail a showpiece of what was, a gas mask in the master bedroom, small wooden toys decorate the children's small and dusty bedroom and board games make up the final touches to early years entertainment. "Where is the I Pads?" my son asks....i'll leave that there!

The surrounding area is increasingly developing a feeling of European influence which is amusing in itself given the current direction the country is going in. Railings next to the world famous Albert Dock are beginning to become decorated with padlocks, initialed and inscribed with messages of love and luck, much in the same vein as a famous Parisian tourist attraction. This is certainly not an official move by the power makers but another sign of the blueprints of what a future Liverpool may look like. Road side eateries line the cobbled walk ways of the dock side selling fresh cooked food and the odd smattering of candyfloss and ice cream. I visited Berlin a few years ago and the same cultural feel is present in this city today.

Cross over the road then and you can literally take your pick from any world leading high streets, nightlife or sightseeing city anywhere, this place has it all. Its only when you look a little closer though that you begin to see how clever the architects really where in their design of the Liverpool one area. As you can see from my images, art deco staircases and leading lines are everywhere, hidden among the concept of a modern stylistic approach to retail design.

One street back from the main shopping well and you will find a street for the rich and famous to happily splash their cash until their hearts content. High end retailers await, ready to offer a glass of champagne while you shop or even a head massage to take the stress of such luxuries away! I'm afraid those luxuries are a stretch to far for me and a flying visit to catch the moment is all I afford this area normally.

I have lived little over 3 mile from the city center my whole life and yet it is quite hard thinking back to remember this place even a few short years ago. What was life like before Liverpool one, The cinemas, The restaurants, Bars, Coffee shops, Museums and so on and so forth. Of course the answer is we have always had those things only now it seems the streets are paved with gold once more, tourists flock and the man on the street can earn his buck on trade. It is far reaching however as stated at the start of these jottings that you don't need a time machine to acknowledge the past. To remember the struggles, the indiscipline and the triumphs. Just one mile from these streets and some of the bloodiest street riots ever see on these shores took place. Toxteth a reminder of governments inability to listen to the people at times of crisis. This city has never been afraid to speak up and a modern day socialist movement remains prevalent to this day, weather you agree with these values or not it remains a stronghold for those that seek to tell their story in one form or another.

And so onto the photography. Today was a great opportunity to test drive my new Fuji X-T1 and 35mm F/2 lens combination. Let me tell you this camera feels incredible! Since the newer X-T2 was released earlier this year you are now able to pick one of these up brand new for as little as £700 and having used the T2 I struggle to really find drastic difference especially when used for street photography or even wedding photography. The lines available within this city offer a unique opportunity for street photography in that you really don't have to search to far to find the right frame, getting the right image amongst the hustle and bustle is a slightly bigger challenge however and patience is needed.

I love my clients and Wedding and Portrait photography will always be at the forefront of my mind however there is a brilliant freedom with street work in that the story really does write itself. These streets tell their own tales, just looking at images I can smell and taste the vibrancy of a now modern yet historical hot spot. Why did I write this blog? yes in part because I was asked to but also because to me it makes sense. I would love to look back many years from now and re call where it all started. The first wedding I shot was in this city, the first portrait session I worked on was in this city and just like this city I too am beginning to write my own history. I hope in some way to be able to record it just as well as the historians and genealogists within L1 have done for us.

Next up for me is two very busy months of Wedding and Portrait sessions in the build up to Christmas! Isn't that bizarre to say..Christmas! time flies.

Speak to you all very soon,

Have a great Week

Ali


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© 2016 by Ali Bll

 

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