In 1982 I started developing my own 35mm film and printing my own black and white pictures in a makeshift darkroom which I’d occasionally set up in my Mothers kitchen in Belle Vale. I think this was one of the factors which helped me acquire a place on the renowned Liverpool Polytechnic Art Foundation Course in 1983.
Some of the photographs are from a college project called ‘Typography in the landscape’ and were taken in early 1984 around Upper Duke Street, near Hope Place where the course was based.
The first thing I think about when I look at these pictures 28 years later is how desolate and derelict this part of the city looks. Almost like a war zone. To me, Liverpool in those days never felt run down. In fact it seemed as lively and vibrant as it always has – maybe that’s the optomism of youth. It certainly had its issues, especially after the Toxteth riots of 1981, but I suppose we were used to this and just took it in our stride.
The images are certainly a contrast to the tailored landscape and vibrant bars that now populate this corner of post-capital of culture Liverpool.
Technical note: The photographs were taken with a 1970s Fujica ST605N using Ilford FP4 or HP5 film. The images are scanned from prints made at the time from the original negatives. In some cases I have adjusted the contrast in photoshop.