Liverpool, home of The Beatles, is one of my favourite locations for one of my favourite types of photography. A genre with raw edge and a degree of cool that doesn’t really happen elsewhere.
Urban portraits, street portraits, there are loads of different names for them but they are amongst my favourites to do. Being able to mix a family portrait with an urban setting is brilliant. It’s not ideal for all age groups but is perfect for families with older children, late teens and young adults. For late teens and young adults there are so many outstanding backgrounds. Abandoned shops where windows are covered with faded gig posters, bits of graffiti, peeling paintwork, rust and general decay gives me the chance to take photos that wouldn’t out of place on an album cover.
The grungy feel of the background, sometimes thrown out of focus with a wide-open telephoto lens makes for really cool images. All this can be contrasted with the sleek lines of contemporary office and retail developments, the cozy feel of the inside of a bar or cafe and heady breeze of the waterfront which sweeps hair into interesting shapes. The urban environment is such a rich place for a portrait photographer to work. Liverpool is an iconic city with a well documented past and hopefully a successful future.
Last summer when Ian and Liz and their family wanted to have a family portrait session they thought we might take pictures in their garden but I was determined to get into town so we popped over to Hope Street in Liverpool City Centre. The Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral is at one end and the Gothic style Anglican Cathedral is at the other end. In between there are bars and restaurants, The Everyman Theatre and the Philharmonic Hall. Diagonally opposite is the Phil, more formally known as the Philharmonic Dining Rooms. The building is Grade 1 listed and the gents toilet, fashioned from rose-coloured marble are highlights on the tourist trail.
We started the portrait shoot at the southern end near LIPA snd worked our way along Hope Street, finishing at the Metropolitan Cathedral using various local architectural features as backdrops as we went.