Manchester-based Chris W Parker holds a BA (Hons) and a HND in photography, and has 10 years experience as a studio, events, product/still life, portrait, and fine art photographer.
You’ve probably seen his pictures gracing the walls of Almost Famous amongst other places.
Chris is a regularly featured artist in the quarterly literature and arts journal Red Light Lit. He also partakes in a little writing from time to time, some poetic musings, a little fiction, and a smattering of occasional blogs and reviews.
We asked Chris to share five of his favourite Manchester photos and tell us a little about each one.
I think many people who have never visited Manchester envision it as wall to wall terraced houses, intersected by Metro and train tracks, and those people have only ever seen Coronation Street. We’re very lucky that not only are there areas of outstanding countryside beauty so extraordinarily close to the city, but there are so many green grassy parks within the city. Some hidden, you might never have realised were there. Andrew McKeown’s Breaking The Mould sculpture is hidden behind the 3 Towers residential blocks on Dalton street, one of many examples of the surreptitious pieces of art, hidden throughout the city.
I’ve been friends with Duncan, from the Manchester band Silverclub for quite a few years, and have done photography for them on and off during that time. He approached me a year or so back, wanting some new images for their latest EP release, having seen some double exposure type images I had been playing around with. I came up with these images of the band (now a 5-piece), which were extensively used on their marketing material, and gig posters. It’s always wonderful to see my work used in print, and put to use. A great sense of pride whenever I stumbled across the images on posters.
But if we’re going to mention my photography being used prolifically in Manchester, it would negligent of me not to mention Almost Famous. I first was asked to create some images for them a few years ago, shortly after the Northern Quarter restaurant was closed down due to fire (now thankfully re-opened!) This image is of course from their Great Northern restaurant, which opened not long after, with my second batch of portraits. I’ve just been shooting the third set, so hopefully we’ll see those up on the wall soon!
It’s often a small adventure to wander around the city centre at night, armed with a camera, just trying to find an interesting building to capture. There are often streets, and back alleys, like this one of Back Thomas Street in the NQ, that take on a whole new character in the dark. Even just a ten minute walk can make you realise why Manchester is used so often as a giant film set. Even back before Captain America was filmed in the NQ, I was often transported to New York City whilst out and about around Dale Street and Tariff Street. The next time you’re outside in the back alley (having a cigarette in my case) at the back of Kosmonaut or El Capo, look up at the old fire escapes, and just remember the last time you saw a film in NYC.
But not everyone wants to be skulking around the city centre in the dark, and Manchester is a beautiful city in the sunshine too. Go up high, take a look around. This was from the top of Shudehill Bus Station car park. Even night owls such as myself need to get a little vitamin D, and I always carry a camera. Take some time to look around, even if you’ve lived in the city for many years, there will always be a viewpoint or an angle that will make you realise there are things still to see!