GarySeven -- from the UK

Photo of the week: 3 Mar 2002, no.5

Every Sunday one of my photographs - past or present - and the story behind it

Photo of the week
Photo of the week
Photo of the week

There's a BBC tv series showing at the moment called Life Laundry. In it, people have to face up to parting with the junk that is cluttering their home and their life. I could do with them around here! In last week's programme, the presenter suggested keeping a photograph, while disposing of the actual item itself. 'Photos take up much less space,' she explained.

I won't even try to get into the psychology behind why that works for people. But, on a basic level, it illustrates how a photograph can preserve a vivid memory of something, either as a comfort or a less-pleasant reminder.

This week's photo was taken partly as a reminder... After I left University, I spent autumn and winter working for a thoroughly-awful film editing company. A large part of my job was delivering cans of film -- between the processing lab, our company and the tv studios. I did this on foot and, being Manchester, it was nearly always raining. So, I had blisters all over my feet and often I was soaked to the skin.

In the 1980's parts of Manchester city centre were pretty run down. My route took me through Castlefield, which has since been transformed into a fashionable place to be. I always carried my camera and I took shots, partly to remind myself of the awful job, but also to record some of the marvellous derelict buildings and run-down back streets that I passed on my daily route.

I don't think enough is done to record the changing face of our cities. Too often it is left to chance. Buildings come and, a hundred years later, they go -- sometimes without even a photograph to prove they ever existed.

Besides my photographs, one good thing that came out of that job, was self-employment. I was determined I would never work for anyone like that, or do a job like that, ever again :-)

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