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Manchester fashion photography: combining feminine chic with city views

Manchester cityscapes and other views of Manchester are heavily featured on this site. A less prominent though important theme is fashion photography. In early 2008 I decided to bring the two together in my first Manchester fashion shoot.

The concept is simple: Introduce some cool young feminine chic into my familiar views of Manchester. For me, the city is a visually fascinating place full of endless possibilities. Why stay within the confines of a fashion studio using expensive props and backgrounds when you can use the city as the backdrop?

Actually, there are many reasons to use a studio, but for this project, the studio is the city, the familiar urban environment we live in every day.

But there's a further aspect I wanted to introduce, and that's the idea of contrasts. Most of the time, chic fashion models will be photographed against a chic backdrop. I wanted to juxtapose opposites, for example place a chic young fashion model next to a middle aged train spotter. That's something I've seen in classic mid-20th century fashion images.

There are many more juxtapositions and oppositiions I want to explore and I will be trying to bring disparate worlds together.

in front of B of the Bang sculpture

The idea came to me during a visit to Jutland Street, the steep cobbled street near Piccadilly Station, which I've photographed a few times. I had taken a group of female students there for a video interview, part of their coursework. I photographed two of them walking down Jutland St and was struck by what an excellent backdrop it would be for fashion photography.

The idea took hold and I began to visualise other locations around the city. I looked on the site Model Mayhem and within a couple of days I'd found a model who was interested in developing her portfolio. Friend Bazzor from North Manchester volunteered as assistant photographer, and he recommended Roxana as make-up artist.

A week after coming up with the idea, I was out in the city taking the photographs.

I intend to follow up with a variety of models and locations, adding a new element to the site and hopefully attracting a more diverse audience.

Helping me out on the first shoot were:

Model Briony Rose, from Blackpool, student of fashion technology at Manchester University. See also Model Mayhem

Make-up artist Roxana, of Irish and Iranian parentage, currently a student at City College, Moston north Manchester. To find out more please contact Bazzor via ModelMayhem.

Assistant photographer Bazzor, alias Barry of Irish and English parents, ex-student on the A Level Photography course Moston north Manchester.

I can recommend all three as excellent and highly professional people to work with.

I have been interested in the history of fashion photography since 1991 when I saw the exhibition 'Fashion Photography since the Second World War'. I was so impressed with the photographs I saw that it switched me back onto photography. It was the spark that led to my career as a photographer writer, though ironically I have not done much fashion photography - until now!

Aidan O'RourkeAidan O'Rourke has been active in photography and online media since 1995. He has documented the development of the local area in his Eyewitness website (1997-2005) and as a contributor to books, publications and the Manchester Evening News. He runs his Eyewitness photography walks in Manchester, Liverpool and other locations. He offers one-to-one tuition in Photography and Languages. He is a high-level speaker of German and can offer photography walks and tours through the medium of German. Visit www.aidan.co.uk

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