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Matthew Jacobson ‘On the Streets I Ran’ with 3 Liverpool photographers;

A box of photographs sits quietly in the family home. It is safe, secure, comfortable and warm. A treasure chest of snapshots of life gone by. Each photograph is a window into the past, capturing a period in time and the contours of the world. The photographs may not have voices, but each one says a thousand words and more.

Loosely they sit, scattered in a box, but some are strategically placed in the plush and padded photo album. But the photo album has been polarised by technology, forced to walk away with paper photographs under its wing. Watching in envy as the computer and phone memory walked in, brushing and editing everything to the side.

On reflection, I have zoomed through life as fast as a camera shutter shuts – happy times and not so happy times. And through the years, I have always felt looking through personal photographs depended on my emotions of the day, time or place.

Mostly and importantly, each picture fills the heart with so much love and so much pride. But some days, I cannot see the reason for the personal photo, all I can see are the things that irk me about myself. The harsh truth of the camera eye – showing me things I didn’t want shown. And on those bleak days when sunsets are lonely and rainbows are dark, photographs are difficult to look at through tear filled eyes.

But then, the personal photograph captures the very silly things other than the reason for the photo. Photographs of family and friends displaying unity and love should be the focal point, but I smile at the Commodore 64 game that never uploaded. The Evil Knievel toy that forgot the Knievel aspect and sliced my fingers apart. The first division football that caused brotherly division by bursting in 42.4 seconds. And zooming in on the disbelief in my face as I opened The Best of Dance 1992 CD, as I stand by the Christmas tree – in my Smiths T-shirt.

The importance of the photograph may differ from person to person, from home to home. Some families are proud and comfortable with many photographs in each room, on every shelf and strategically placed in every cabinet.

Photographs capturing cuddles, kisses and smiles to the lens. Dogs and cars and sports day false starts; days of youth, a world beating cruise. After all, it’s a rolling life, its photographic news.

But, many don’t have any photographs framed, scattered or displayed. No reasons given, but to be honest, no reason asked for. There is no right or wrong way, it is your way and that’s all that matters.

What I regularly enjoy are the photos of my beloved city – Liverpool, and the cultures within. Evoking strong memories for me and thousands more. Places are powerful and not to be underestimated. After all ‘Home’ is just a word but something I carry within me. Home is part of my heart, my blood and my soul.

Social media is awash with photographs of our city. And some social media sites/feeds stand out as local photographers provide, supply and share streams of wonderful images, feeds and posts. A carefully orchestrated classy conveyor belt of photos of Liverpool, its history and culture.

Photographs of Liverpool streets, its people, parks, bands and buildings are compelling, thought provoking and popular. And local artist/bands, trends are again admired liked and loved by those in Liverpool and beyond.

To find out more about their inspiration, love of Liverpool and favourite places, I interviewed three Liverpool photographers;

Photographer; Kevin Elias

When did your interest in photography begin?

My interest in photography started in about 10 years ago. After investing in a telescope to get closer to the planets & stars that I could see from my garden. I researched astrophotography and soon bought my first DSLR camera (canon 450D). Sadly, light pollution in and around where I live put an end to taking images of the night skies, so rather than just putting my DSLR away, I hit the streets of Liverpool with it and soon got hooked.

How has technology changed for photographers and is it for the better?

The transition from film photography to digital photography has happened quickly hasn’t it?! It seems like yesterday that we were taking pictures on a Polaroid camera and carrying hard copies of pictures around after taking pictures, or taking a film to the high street to get developed. Digital has removed all that. Point and shoot cameras are relatively easy to use. Seeing a picture you have taken instantly is a positive too, and if you don’t like it, then you can erase it and take another in a matter of seconds. And no more waiting for developing of images – they can be saved on a card on your camera. So, yes it has changed photography dramatically over the years, it has evolved with technology and is easier to produce from start (capturing) to finish (printing). But there are those that are not for changing and still use film and I envy them for their skill & patience.

What do you look forward to capturing most, the buildings/parks in the city or the cultures within?

Undoubtedly, I look forward to capturing images of the city areas at night. The city is beautiful, but at night it is so colourful and pretty. The buildings seem to show themselves off with bright vibrant colours exposing wonderful brickwork & architectural features.

For any new budding photographers, what advice would you give?

Don’t exhaust your credit card on trying to get the best camera & gear. Take it slow, get a second hand camera, join a photography club in your area & make friends with likeminded people. There is also an abundance of tutorials on the internet for you to learn from. There are also plenty of pro`s out there who give one to one sessions too. 

And name 3 of your favourite places to shoot across Liverpool, and why you have selected them?

1) The waterfront of Liverpool is my go to area and always will be. It has changed rapidly over the last decade and it is so vibrant day & night.

2) Sefton Park is another of my favourite places to go. In any season throughout the year there is always beauty in Liverpool’s parks & gardens, but this park is special.

3) The Georgian quarter, I frequent regularly. The two cathedrals are like magnets to me and then the cobbled streets and nostalgic lamps are just stooped in history.

Social Media Feeds; Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

Photographer; Michelle Marshall

When did your interest in photography begin?

Probably in my late teens – to preserve my dignity I won’t give you the year! I was one of those annoying people always turning up to family events armed with a camera. I have tons of old photo’s now, so it was worth it – if only for the hairstyle’s alone!

How has technology changed for photographers and is it for the better?

Digital photography has changed things tremendously, there is so much you can do with it. You can immediately see if your shot is any good and if not, take another. And the editing tools available are superb. Although nothing can beat the excitement of waiting in Max Speilmann’s for your packet of photo’s to see how they’ve turned out! There was always a surprise or two – especially if someone else had got hold of your camera!

Fran Doran; Red Rum Club – Studio 2019

What do you look forward to capturing most, the buildings/parks in the city or the cultures within?

For me, it’s got to be live music. I feel most at home in front of the stage in a hot, sweaty venue with music blasting out. I love nothing more than capturing the energy of a performance. It’s all about creating memories of the event that will stay with you.

Miles Kane – Skeleton Coast 2019
Rick Astley – Haydock Racecourse 2019

For any new budding photographers, what advice would you give?

I would say just to enjoy it! Don’t worry too much about the technical aspects, these will come with time and practice. Whether you have a professional camera or your mobile phone, you can take some amazing images. It’s a great feeling when scrolling through your shots and thinking ‘that’s the one’!

And name 3 of your favourite places to shoot across Liverpool and why you have selected them?  

1) The Pier Head/Albert Dock area – the architecture is amazing and unique to the city. It’s great at night too when it’s all lit up.

2) St Brides Church; I’ve been to a couple of gigs there – including Nick Ellis, I love the setting and the atmosphere, plus it combines what I enjoy most – music and photography!

3) Sefton Park – I’ve had a couple of photoshoots there and I’m really proud of the results.

Matthew Jacobson – Article/Promo shoot, Sefton Park 2019

Social Media Feed; Twitter & Instagram

Photographer; Barrie Dunbavin

When did your interest in photography begin?

I always had a latent interest in photography but only bought a ‘proper’ camera about twelve years ago after I’d seen, and was inspired by Bill Brandt’s pictures of Northern England taken during the 1930s.

How has technology changed for photographers and is it for the better?

Digital photography has made a huge impact. It’s now possible to make a great photograph without having to concern yourself with the technical aspects of shutter speed, ISO, aperture etc. As a result, photography has become democratised and that’s definitely for the better. Creativity really is in everyone’s hands.

What do you look forward to capturing most, the buildings/parks in the city, or the cultures within?

I started with architecture, I’ve always been into buildings and the built environment. Liverpool is obviously brilliant for that. Latterly, I’ve been shooting around the vibrant local music scene. Nick Ellis must think I’m an obsessed fanboy as I’ll often shoot him, he has a great look and talent. My ‘halo’ picture of Micheal Head taken in Manchester may be the best live pic I’ve ever taken. He’s pretty much regarded as a saint in Liverpool anyway.

For any new budding photographers, what advice would you give?

Always carry your camera. You never know when a brilliant pic will appear in front of you.

And name 3 of your favourite places to shoot across Liverpool and why you have selected them?  

1 Dock Road; there are some beautiful old buildings and textures.

2 Albert Dock – always lots of events and interesting people about. 

3 St Brides Church, for local gigs, it has become a favourite, it’s possible to get really close to the artists and also capture some of the atmosphere of this great venue.

Social Media Feed; Instagram

“Thank you to all for time and fantastic images and pictures”

Matt Jacobson; Explore Liverpool.

READ MORE: Liverpool Music Festivals 2020

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