Library Walk and Cornerhouse, the campaigns that made me return to Eyewitness

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I produced my old website Eyewitness in Manchester from 1997 to 2005 and major part of it was campaigning. I protested against Manchester City Council’s disastrous changes to Piccadilly, as well as several other projects.

Since then I have become very disillusioned with how Manchester has developed for many reasons. Family involvements took me back to my home town of Stockport and I started to spend more time in Liverpool and other parts of the region.

When Manchester City Council’s plans emerged for a glass ‘pod’ to be inserted into Library Walk, I was astonished and horrified. How could they do such a thing to a well loved spot. Luckily a friends group was formed and a group of individuals, far more focused and dedicated then myself, moved ahead with the Save Library Walk campaign and I have supported it and with them, submitted letters of objection.

As for Cornerhouse, we have been aware of the move to the new location at HOME near the site of the Hacienda for a long time. What we didn’t know was that Manchester City Council have plans to – possibly – demolish the Cornerhouse building. I was very upset, and wondered if others felt the same. Then a protest group appeared, almost overnight, and immediately I ‘liked’ and shared their Facebook page.

For some time I have felt that my blog, Twitter posts and Facebook updates need to be more focused on one theme, and the one theme that still motivates me is my anger at the continuous eroding away of the essential character and uniqueness of the city, just like it did when I was documenting Eyewitness in Manchester.

Therefore I have decided to go back to using the Eyewitness name, but not Eyewitness in Manchester. I am too disillusioned with Manchester to focus on it solely, the place I call home is not Manchester or Greater Manchester but the North West region. I regularly spend time in Liverpool and prefer being there to Manchester. I love to travel around Cheshire, Lancashire and beyond.

So the name of the Twitter handle, new Facebook page and this blog will be @AidanEyewitness (with our without the @). The name identifies me and re-uses the name I called myself in times past, not a trademark or copyright name but one that is associated with me. Do a search under Aidan Eyewitness to find many archive pages.

To be effective, I really must post very often and I hope to do so, drawing on my archive of photos as well as taking and posting new ones – many on my iPhone – highlighting what’s best in our local area, and also places further afield – I can’t be limited to just one city, one region or one country – I’m well travelled and I have interests overseas. There are plenty of examples in places I’ve visited that could be a model for us here and I will highlight them.

The theme makes use of my photography, writing and video as well as my writing projects, including a 110,000 word coming of age story set in the North West, to be launched in a few weeks.

The new drive will be mainly Facebook based. I don’t have the time to spend on a detailed blog with large numbers of photos. It would be good also to find a channel in other media such as print and on other online publications, we’ll see.

I hope that I will achieve a higher profile and that will be good for my overall publicity and general success as a writer, tutor, speaker, photographer and video maker.

So that’s it, goodbye @TutorWriterUK hello @AidanEyewitness

TutorWriter-AidanEyewitness

And I picked up one new follower in the process, my namesake, the brilliant Scottish-based fiddle player Aidan O’Rourke @obanfiddle

History of the railway from Piccadilly to Crewe – A new book with archive photos

I’ve always been fascinated by local history. I love to imagine how things were in different times, whether during my childhood or 100 or more years ago. I have a special interest in railways. I grew up near Cheadle Heath station and travel between Stockport’s Edgeley station and Manchester’s Piccadilly Station on most days.

I was contacted by Manchester-born railway author, Eddie Johnson, whom I first met 14 years ago. He told me he has just published the second part of his detailed history of the railway from Manchester to Crewe. The first part, published in 2007, covered the part of the route via Styal known today as “The Airport Line”.

Piccadilly to Crewe Eddie Johnson

This newly published book covers the railway from Manchester London Road station (now Piccadilly station) via Stockport to Crewe. All the intermediate stations are covered, including Levenshulme, Heaton Chapel, Heaton Norris, Stockport, Cheadle Hulme, Handforth, Wilmslow, Alderley Edge and all stations to Crewe. To help commemorate the First World War, there is a special section on railway traffic along the line during the period around 1916.

The book comes with a detailed map and of course there are lots of local photographs including many unpublished ones from Eddie Johnson’s collection.

The book is 144 pages long, and is available from the Ian Allan bookshop on at the bottom of the approach to Manchester Piccadilly station, price £23.99.

I haven’t obtained my copy yet but when I do I will write a bit more.

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Looking north from Stockport Edgeley Station across the railway viaduct. Photo by Aidan O’Rourke

My first photos in New York – Lament for Kodachrome

In this video I talk about at one of the first photographs I took with my first film camera, the Fujica STX-1 SLR. I bought it while I was working in New York in the summer of 1981. It was the very first long exposure shot I ever did.

I’ll never forget the excitement of buying my first good quality camera. It was a basic and affordable single lens reflex (SLR) which I found in a camera shop not far from Times Square. It came with a simple 50mm lens. My first film was Kodachrome 25. I wanted to achieve the best possible image quality and so I felt I had to choose colour slide film.

I taught myself photography from the book by Andreas Feininger entitled ‘The Complete Photographer’. It was quite technical and very thorough and methodical. I loved the mystique and fascination of photography and film, and the classic photographs of the past.

This is one of the first videos in my new YouTube channel The Audio-Visual School. I intend to post instructional videos on a range of subjects including photography, video, travel, local interest, art, English language and foreign languages.

A selection of Twenty of my favourite books and films


Here I’ve selected twenty of my favourite films and books. For me, books and films are of equal importance. They are stories, life experiences, fantasies, but told through through either words on a page or images on a screen. My own story ideas often encompass both writing and moving images. This is just a small selection, listed in the order that they came to me.

2001 illustration1) 2001 A Space Odyssey directed by Stanley Kubrick (film and book)

My favourite movie of all time, I saw it when it came out in 1968 and it had a huge effect on me. I also read the novel of the same by Arthur C Clarke.

2) Dr Faustus  by Thomas Mann  (book)

I read this as an student of German at TCD. Allegory on 20th century Germany focusing on a composer who makes a pact with the devil in order to be creative. Riveting and unputdownable!

3) Der Tod in Venedig / Death in Venice by Thomas Mann (book and film)

Also by Thomas Mann, a novella or shorter story about a man who becomes obsessed with a boy in Venice. Read it for A Level German.  The film, starring Dirk Bogarde  is good too.

4) The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (Book)

Reading this inspired me to write. Hilarious and intelligent.  Preferred the book to the TV show

5) The Catcher in the Rye (Book)

A classic piece of literature but very readable and mind-changing. About the troubles of youth.

6) Die Neuen Leiden des jungen W (Book / Play)

A kind of East German Catcher in the Rye, about young Edgar and his treatment by colleagues, relatives and friends. Saw the writer Ulrich Plenzdorf when he visited Manchester University.


A Taste of Honey7) A Taste of Honey (Film / Play)

My favourite local film of all time, based on the play by Shelagh Delaney. Saw the play in Oldham and met Dora Bryan, who sadly died just after I wrote this post. I’d still like to meet Rita Tushingham!

8) Double Indemnity (Film / Screenplay)

Classic 1940s American movie about betrayal. Classic film noir style and dialogue. I read the screenplay and it is still electric.

9) 12 Angry Men (Film)

Based on a play, it takes place in one room where a jury of 12 men decide on the fate of the young accused. Riveting.

10) [UFO book - name forgotten]

I was once given the present of a book about UFOs by a friend. Unfortunately I don’t have the book now, and I can’t remember th title. but I remember being captivated by the first chapter, which was about a mysterious and spectacular UFO event. I was inspired to create something in the second chapter of my book Stargirl of the Edge.

Kes11) Kes (Film / Book)

A Kestrel for a Knave turned into a film directed by Ken Loach. Grim, realistic and brilliant. Inspired me to make a short film.

12) Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Film)

One of my favourite films of all time, it has influenced my writing. I love the narrative style and the portrayal of  ‘Anytown America’.

13) Wuthering Heights (Book)

Classic of English literature, as effective for its moody portrayal of the Yorkshire Moors as much as the story.

14) Dubliners (Book / Film)

Vivid pictures of people from different backgrounds, captures a strong mood of Dublin in times past.

Christane F Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo15) Christiane F. Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo (Film / Book)

The shocking story of a girl caught up in drugtaking and prostitution in Berlin in the 70s. I watched the film and read the book. I lived in West Berlin from 1979-80.

16) Tess (Book / Film)

By Thomas Hardy, a classic portrayal of the beauty of the landscape and of the woman, Tess. I enjoyed the movie too.

17) La Modification (Book)

Groundbreaking novel about a man on a train travelling between Paris and Rome, uses unusual time perspectives and disjointed storytelling techniques. Maybe I just liked it because it’s set on a train.

18) L’année dernière à Marienbad (Film)

A bizarre, dream-like film set in a palace, disjoined, incoherent, pretentious perhaps, but visually fascinating. In French with English subtitles.


1984 George Orwell cover19) 1984 (Book / Film)

I read the novel in 1984 and watched the film. Utterly riveting, shocking and a fairly accurate prediction of what happened in the Soviet Union and East Germany, which I visited in the 70s and 80s.

20) The Singing Ringing Tree (Film)

A fairy-tale in the style of Grimm turned into a film for children. Made at East Germany’s DEFA studios in the late fifties, it had groundbreaking use of colour and special effects. Its weirdness and foreign mystique had a deep effect on me and my generation in the UK. Available on DVD.

Manchester Architecture canvas prints – a unique artwork

8 Manchester Architecture canvas prints

This set of eight canvases on the theme of Manchester Architecture was created in 2013 as part of a special project. I needed to express the idea of architecture in Manchester, old and new in the form of tall, narrow images.

In each image, I placed an example of modern architecture on the left and traditional architecture on the right. This is quite different to how I normally take buildings, with the camera aligned in horizontal orientation.

In Photoshop, I juxtaposed a number of buildings, famous and not so famous, with a blue sky in between, except for one image.

The buildings featured in the images are:

111 Piccadilly (former Rodwell Tower, built 1962) and the chimney of Murrays Mills Ancoats, built around 1800.

Residential apartments Spinningfields (2000s) and City Police Courts Minshull St (c1870)

Former Daily Express building (1939( and Brownsfield Mill (1825), both on Great Ancoats Street

The Civil Justice Centre (opened 2007) Spinningfields and Brownsfield Mill, Great Ancoats Street

The new Co-op building, One Angel Square (2013) and the Albert Memorial (1865)

The north east corner of the Corn Exchange (1905) and the Urbis building (2002)

The corner of the Athenaeum, Princess Street (1825) and Urbis

Manchester town hall (1878) and the CIS tower 1962

The Corn Exchange and Urbis image is the only real life juxtaposition. In all the other images I placed the two images together in Photoshop.

I produced a larger set and a smaller set. This larger set measures 1 metre 30 by 40 centimetres. After keeping the canvases in storage for a year, I put them on sale in mid-2014.

I am very proud of this set of canvases but they are not suitable for the average home! They would look stunning in a large home or office.

For the price and purchase details go to www.aidan.co.uk/canvasprints/

Obscure fact about photography: There were cameras in the Middle Ages!

We may think of the camera as a modern invention, but not many people know that cameras were used in the Middle Ages.

View from the Window at Le Gras

It’s speculated that they were used secretly, as those who used them didn’t want the wider world to find out about them.

These cameras were used to make amazingly detailed and vibrant images, many of which can be seen today.

Just like today’s cameras, these ‘secret’ cameras of the past consisted of a light-tight chamber, with a lens or pinhole at one end and a surface at the other end on which the image was captured.

What sort of camera am I talking about? Okay, I’m not telling the complete truth here, actually, these cameras didn’t use any film, light sensitive materials or image-fixing agents.

The only light-sensitive agent was the artist.

The camera I’m referring to is the camera obscura, a device used by artists in the Middle Ages to make accurate pictures.

And actually, they were used beyond the Middle Ages, up to and beyond the invention of photography and they are still used today.

There is a camera obscura at the museum of the same name in Edinburgh and the world’s largest is in Aberystwyth.

In Latin, the word ‘camera’ means ‘room’ or ‘vaulted chamber’ and obscura (ending with an -a to agree with the feminine gender) means ‘dark’, let’s say ‘darkened room’.

The large size one was the size of a room, a kind of light-tight tent, and could be set up to look out onto a view. Inside, a picture would be projected from the small hole or lens at the front onto the rear wall at the back.

The artist would then trace over the image and obtain remarkably accurate – almost ‘photographically accurate’ – sketches that could be used as the basis for a large scale painting.

Artists like Canaletto used this method to do paintings of Venice in the 18th century.

There were also small sized ones that could be carried when out and about. Joshua Reynolds used a camera obscura concealed as a book.

I have always been fascinated by the paintings of Vermeer, which seem to have a photographically accurate quality combined with a painterly softness.

It is speculated that Vermeer used a camera obscura in the making of these paintings.

David Hockney and Charles M Falco came up with the thesis that artists of the past secretly used a camera obscura and that it changed the course of art. That claim is disputed.

I haven’t investigated it but in the case of Vermeer, it seems to be to be entirely plausible.

The artists probably would have kept their use of the camera obscura secret, so as not to be accused of ‘cheating’ and to preserve an aura of wonder.

Around the 1820s, inventors Henry Fox Talbot and Joseph Nicéphore Niépce adapted the camera obscura using light sensitive chemicals and so the modern camera was born. The picture at the top is the world’s oldest surviving photograph, taken in 1825 on an 8 hour exposure.

I estimate that 95% of people don’t know that the word ‘camera’ comes from Latin, ‘camera obscura’. It’s amazing how ignorant we are of the origins of such a basic and universal word, a word used to denote a device we use every day.

I’m a linguist so I’m interested in words! Deciphering obscure words – jargon – is one of the keys to learning photography!

That’s all I’ll say for now but I have decided that I am going to acquire a small camera obscura and try it out as an aid to drawing. I’ll see if I can pick one up on eBay!

A new way to learn English: A TEFL workshop using my short film drama with subtitles

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People learn languages in all sorts of ways – by reading books, listening to the radio, chatting to people.

I have developed an interesting way to help learners with their English. I’ve made a short film drama that aims to be both entertaining and educational and I present it as part of a TEFL workshop. (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). I’ve found that it is a very powerful vehicle to help people learn English.

It’s a 19 minute short film called The Train to Funky Island. It’s a nostalgic story about a 12 year old boy who is unhappy at home and departs on an imaginary journey.

What's the matter Michael?

I developed the story and wrote the script, including all the dialogue, over a period of a few years.  I created it with learners of English in mind, especially foreign learners.

Thematically, the story raises questions about: childhood, domestic problems, British attitudes to food, foreign travel, weather and family, the effect of music on our lives, the power of the imagination, bullying.

The language is authentic – there are mainly northern and working class voices. With subtitles it’s not too difficult for most learners to understand. I’ve included many phrases – often repeated over and over again – for students to learn:

Are you listening to me?

Have you ever been to…?

What’s the matter?

Tell me… tell me.

No, I've never been to Nassau.

Foreign learners of English often say ‘He listen me’, ‘I never went in London’, or ‘What is problem?’ and ‘Tell to me’.  The film aims to help them move beyond these errors and produce correctly formed English. There are many more like this in the dialogue.

In one scene, a phrase spoken in a northern English voice is repeated alongside standard English.

There’s a station be’ind the ’ouses.
There’s a station behind the houses?
Yeah, there’s a station be’ind the ’ouses.

This helps to clarify local the accent. There are other interesting words and phrases, but not too many. In much of the film there is very little dialogue.

So what happens when I use the film with a class?

Stage 1) I play the film – with or without subtitles, depending on the level of the students. I might pause between scenes to check they understand.

Stage 2) I play the film through scene by scene, we read the subtitles, the students repeat them, I explain vocab and correct pronunciation and we discuss the situations and characters.

Stage 3) We do follow-up work, which can include the students doing role-play, improvisation, reading excerpts and – at home – downloading and reading the short story version of The Train to Funky Island, which has some extra scenes.

Are you listening to me?

Reactions have been positive! The first time I showed the film, the class applauded and on the feedback forms, they said that they found it enjoyable and useful. With another class, the 19 minute film led to over two hours of useful discussion and language learning.

At the end of another course, a student remarked that it was a ‘new way to learn English’, which I suppose it is. Very few teachers of English language have made a short film drama for use in the classroom, but I have!

A screen drama has lots of elements to help language learners: Spoken dialogue, written language presented as subtitles, moving images that can be paused, a wealth of visual detail, sound effects, special effects and of course a story with characters that people can empathise with.

sound of thunder

Most films and TV dramas are too long to be used in a lesson and are often unsuitable due to content and level of language. My short film, tailored for teaching, works in many different ways to engage students and help them to learn.

I’m proud of what I’ve achieved with The Train to Funky Island, and I look forward to using the film with lots more students in the future!

The film can only be seen in my classes and presentations. It’s not available to view online. Please contact if you’d like to find out more.

Where to go and what to see on a three hour bike ride around Berlin

I was asked where is the best part of Berlin to visit on a three hour bike ride. I came up with this short tour around the historic central part of Berlin. The route starts at the Brandenburg Gate and follows a ‘crooked rectangle’ along Federal routes 2 and 1 marked in yellow on the Google map below.

We start at the Brandenburg Gate, once inaccessible behind the Wall, now the top tourist attraction in Berlin.

Brandenburg Gate 1982

Brandenburg Gate 1998

Nearby is the Reichstag, home of the German parliament, the Bundestag.

We continue through the Brandenburg Gate onto Unter den Linden with its magnificent buildings on both sides.

Soon we cross onto the island formed by two arms of the River Spree. This is the historic heart of Berlin.

To the left is the Museumsinsel – the ‘museum island’ with several major museums.

The Cathedral with its large dome stands nearby, and just across the wide avenue is the site of the GDR’s demolished 1970s style ‘Palace of the Republic’. Now, the Kaiser’s Palace is being rebuilt.

Berlin cityscape with TV tower

We continue further and we see the Television Tower built in 1973 and nearly 1200 feet high.

In the middle of the gardens is the statue of Marx and Engels and the Neptune Fountain

Alexanderplatz station is up ahead. Here you can take your bike on suburban train to all corners of Berlin, but there’s no time for that today!

Alexanderplatz Berlin 2004

The Alexanderplatz is a wide square that retains the architectural style and atmosphere of the GDR. In the corner is the World Time Clock, built during the GDR period.

We continue round onto the wide Grunerstraße. Now we are on Federal route number 1 and heading through the Fischerinsel district and onto Leipziger Straße. Soon we are at the intersection with Friedrichstraße, and turning left here, we come to the site of Checkpoint Charlie, the famous pedestrian crossing point between West and East Berlin. The Haus am Checkpoint Charlie museum is a must-see.

Berlin Potsdamer Platz 2004

From here we can follow the line of the Berlin Wall. There are metal strips in the ground marking its path. We pass Martin-Gropius-Bau – venue for the 2014 David Bowie exhibition and onto Potsdamer Platz (Square), once a wasteland caught between East and West, now a busy traffic intersection again, overlooked by office towers and a shopping centre.

A short distance from here is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews. It’s a rectangular plot of land with large stone squares.

Berlin Jewish Memorial 2004

We can see the Brandenburg Gate from here and in just a couple of minutes we are back there again after a very quick tour on two wheels.

To see all the sights of Berlin you’d need more like three days or maybe three weeks – or years but these three hours will have to suffice for now!

A longer version of this article will appear in the articles archive section

Has digital damaged Photography?

My answer to this question would be: Yes, in some ways, but from another point of view, maybe it’s for the best.

Digital transformed my own experience of photography and there were two key years: 1995 and 2000; more about those later.

But going back to the late 70s and early 80s when I first became fascinated by photography, I loved the inherent quality of photographic materials and equipment, black-and-white negatives, colour slides, high quality prints. I loved the Hasselblad camera and bought this one second hand in 1991.

Hasselblad 500C film camera

I particularly loved Kodachrome transparencies, they were like tiny richly coloured stained glass windows set in a cardboard frame. I had a fascination with the expensive, exclusive cameras used by professional photographers, that were beyond most people’s reach. Now you can buy them cheaply in second hand shops.

At that time most people seemed to use a camera only for holidays or family shots. I went to music concerts in the late 70s, and hardly anybody had a camera. Sadly I didn’t either. Otherwise I would have a prime collection of early photos of U2, Joy Division and Buzzcocks.

Around 1993 when I was working in Abu Dhabi teaching English, a colleague mentioned this new type of photography called ‘digital imaging’. I was sceptical. I never imagined that the quality would be as good as film, but soon after, on the work computer during a free period, I discovered a program called Adobe Photoshop (version 2.5). That was on 18 October 1994.

It was a liberating experience. I could do things in Photoshop that took me ages in the darkroom such as improving contrast, burning in and dodging. Previously I had tried hard with black and white developing and printing, but had become very frustrated with it.

Digital image enhancement set my creativity free. I could do things that were never possible with film and ordinary prints. Being able to combine photography and art was one of the great attractions of Photoshop. I bought my first Apple Mac PowerPC and Photoshop 3 in 1995, and a Nikon film scanner soon after.

For five years I took photos on a hybrid basis: I captured the photos on film SLR cameras, scanned them in the film scanner and enhanced them in Photoshop.

I created thousands of photographs in this way, and then around 2000 I got my first usable digital camera the Nikon Coolpix 990. Since then I’ve taken photos digitally.

When in 1996 I first started taking pictures of Manchester I was only one of a few people doing it. In the meantime nearly everyone seems to have a camera and is taking pictures of the city around them.

Photography has become a hobby and pastime for people who previously would never have picked up a camera

Wherever you look nowadays, people are taking photos with digital cameras. Young people at school are using them in art and are studying photography too.

I once did a photo walk in Manchester city centre with a group of special school pupils, along with their teachers. They were taking scores of images of everything around them. I complimented the most disruptive looking one of them for a photo he had taken. At the end he thanked me politely for the tour.

Thanks to the popularity of digital photography, people contact me all the time for help in understanding the camera, and how to use it more creatively. That’s a main element of my photo walks.

I am very happy to help but there are some things I am not so happy about.

Nowadays we have a deluge of photographs. Millions and millions of them are uploaded every day to various websites and are shared among millions of people.

But often they are uploading them without choosing the best ones! Photographs seem to have lost the value that they used to have. There is something fascinating about the treasured family snapshot, one of only 12 black and white prints from one film or a rare colour photograph taken on holiday by the seaside.

And at a more arty level, I’ll never forget in an exhibition at a gallery in Mayfair, a Polaroid by the Italian photographer Carlo Molino which sold for £20,000. Can a digital photo ever have this value?

Digital has also brought about the demise of many media which I think are unique in their own way, like Kodachrome. I wish that it was possible to have the advantages of digital and also hold onto all the various types of media in traditional photography, but it seems that’s not possible.

We need to remember that today’s digital cameras are a hybrid of technology inherited from film, that is to say the lens, the shutter and also the shape of the DSLR camera, but nowadays the capture and storage medium is electronic and digital.

Digital photography, digital everything, is unstoppable. We can’t rewind time. We can’t go back to those days in the past when photography was a more exclusive affair.

We need to make the most of digital – I certainly have – though I do wish people would be more selective! For instance, they should imagine they had a commission and must choose the 12 best photographs.

All in all it surely can’t be a bad thing if lots of people find fulfilment and self expression in photography as I first did when I first began taking photos on film.

So weighing up the pros and cons, I would say in conclusion that we need to make the most of digital whilst keeping the best aspects of film.

To conclude, here’s one of my first photos taken on Kodachrome, a test shot to try out the aperture settings on my Fujica STX-1 SLR camera, taken 1981.

Gitanes and Ketchup, test photo taken on Kodachrome 1981

Victoria Baths Photography Workshop

The Victoria Baths Photography Workshop is a three hour guided visit, giving you VIP access to take photographs inside this magnificent building.

Victoria Baths Photo Workshop
Photo taken on the Victoria Baths photo workshop by Andy Kilmartin

The photo workshop takes place on some open days, when the Baths are open to the public. Open days are on the first Sunday of the month during the season. Check the Victoria Baths website for exact dates.

The photography workshop is suitable for people of all levels in photography from those with just a tiny compact and not much technical knowledge to veteran photographers with top rated cameras and lenses.

It runs from 10am to 1pm, and during those three hours, you will get VIP access to the interior of this amazing building. During the first hour there are very few people around. Visitors don’t usually start to come in until eleven or after.

I don’t usually do any group teaching, I’m just there as a guide, to offer positive feedback, to give you tips and information, and if you are an advanced photographer I might ask you about the techniques you’re using and why.

We usually start in the room at the front with the amazing restored stained glass windows. You could take hundreds of different photos by zooming in to different parts of the glass, or just standing back and capturing it from different angles.

A tripod can be useful but isn’t always necessary. A monopod is a more portable alternative.

On some workshops a model will be present. Some people prefer just to photograph the building, others take the opportunity of working with the model and come up with some fantastic images.

The Turkish Baths next door have fascinating visual properties, with their shiny tiles and ornate arched doorways.

ManCoMVicBathsTurkish3430

The pools, though empty of water most of the time, offer many visual possibilities and have a unique atmosphere. On special occasions the main pool may be filled with water.

We can also take a look at other interesting features inside the building, including the aerotone, forerunner of the jacuzzi, and we climb a set of narrow stairs to visit the rooms at the top of the building, which are not normally accessible to the public. At the moment you will find peeling wallpaper, crumbling plasterwork and mememtos of the past, including an old rocking horse. There are also interesting views over Chorlton-on-Medlock and the city beyond. The rooms may not be like this for much longer so best to photograph them now!

ManVicBathsPool9513

It’s a sociable event and the people who come chat to each other. We get to talk about cameras, photography and lots of other stuff besides and we might go to the cafe the end of the workshop.

I think I can confidently say that everyone who has been on the Victoria Baths Photography Workshop has thoroughly enjoyed it. Some have even attended twice!

To book just contact me and I will put your name down. The fee is £20 in cash on the day. This amount includes your admission to the Open Day so you can stay on for the rest of the day if you wish.

More information on the Victoria Baths website http://www.victoriabaths.org.uk