Liverpool as a muse

 October 23, 2009         4 Comments

I used to really love photography and cut my teeth on a few antique SLRs, getting to grips with apertures, film and shutter speeds, tripods and all the rest of it.

I bought lenses and filters and read books. But most of all I just took photos, figuring stuff out for myself. This was before the days of digital photography and photography could be a pretty expensive hobby.

Luckily I had access to the Liverpool Gazette’s account at the Guild of Students print shop in those days, so I was able to indulge my experimenting.

Kid watches riot

I did a lot of stuff for the student newspapers of the day, but also got some work doing various freelance jobs for a few different magazines.

Among some of the stuff I did was a photoshoot with Mick and John Head and one of Moby, and I later did a bit of stuff for NME, though the bastards never paid me.

Film was expensive and precious, so you had to scope out locations, wait for the right light, line up shots and test the patience of whoever you were shooting.

I preferred doing reportage stuff – urban decay, protests, workers and everyday life. I wasn’t good enough at staged shots but with a bit of luck and willingness to walk around town with a camera at all times you could reel off some good shots, especially with a good backdrop.

Needless to say, Liverpool is a great backdrop. Most obviously the architecture – both classical and industrial – provides a great background for any shot. Add in the river, iconic buildings such as the cathedrals, Victorian terraces, enormous parks – there’s so much material.

Toxteth Tiguan

And that’s without getting into the melting pot of Liverpool people and culture, which I waffled on at great length about a couple of weeks ago.

I drifted out of photography for a good few years, but bought a Canon EOS 450D a year or so ago and set about trying to get to grips with it.

I’ve yet to master it, and have struggled to get enthused in the same way as I did years ago. It all seems a bit too easy, and I can’t get away from questioning the level of skill involved in shooting something 100 times to get one good shot. It doesn’t seem as valuable to me.

Getting a good shot seemed to be about making your own good luck and relying on instincts when you had five shots left. I can’t look at one image I’ve taken out of 20 others with the same pride.

Anyway, I’ve not really been on a walk around Liverpool simply to take some photos for a while. But a demo car from Volkswagen I had this week seemed to lend itself to taking it around the city on a visual journey.

It was probably only a partial success, but it reawakened that enthusiasm to just mess about taking photos, and the visual scope offered by the city was fun to investigate again.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, here’s a couple of photos I took of a Volkswagen Tiguan in Liverpool, hopefully marrying something of the car with the character of the city.


  1. I wouldn’t normally like car stuff, but I think the locations worked and they turned out well.

    Hopefully they do another photowalk in Liverpool soon? Then you can mingle with the other togs on twitter.

  2. Hmm, not really my thing I don’t think. I’m not sniffy about the idea, just rather fanny around on my own when it comes to photography.

    Thanks for the kind words though!

  3. Robin,
    I bought an SLR with my 21st birthday money. Loved it to start with. Took lessons and all, and even ended up doing the wedding shots for one of my mates. Then I bought a digital camera and the SLR has sat in a cupboard unused. I’ve even got a roll of film that I never got round to getting developed, can’t even remember what is on it. Maybe you’ve inspired to me to get involved again. Love the shot with the graffiti in the background, nice one.

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