A few weeks ago I hosted the immensely talented Photographer Andy Feltham to a morning's shoot in my fair home town of Birmingham. The urban sprawl and fine examples of brutalist architecture had my guest in eager anticipation for the shoot, however; there was only one problem - the examples of 1960s concrete creations are rapidly disappearing. Prince Charles's favourite carbuncle, The Central Library has been razed to the ground to make way for a new modern and characterless identikit office complex, and many of the City's subway walking routes have been filled. Ironically, I found myself in a position of trying to preserve Birmingham's concrete credibility but could only think of one bonefide spot; The Gravely Hill Interchange, Junction 6, Spaghetti Junction. To my embarrassment, as a Birmingham photographer interested in the urban environment, it is somewhere I had not explored before. Perhaps one reason for my reticence was the prevailing trend to try and see Birmingham in positive light and challenge its reputation to say "see, I told you it isn't as bad as you think". The trouble with this chocolate box, positive image orthodoxy is it stifles other views of beauty within the city. Or maybe I'm just making excuses. Either way, armed with rolls of Kodak Portra 400 and Tri -X 400 film and Mamiya 7II medium format camera I attempted to make up for lost time.
I'm hoping to go back in the next couple of weeks as with so many things changing in the City, I as I can pretty much guarantee it will be the same when I go back.
Till next time...