The River Mersey is rightly associated with Liverpool, the port city that stands at it’s mouth. This though is only the triumphant end for the river which starts it’s journey high in the Pennines as the Rivers Goyt and Tame.
As it loops through north Cheshire, heading for the sea, it passes through the town of Warrington, a place with a fine industrial heritage and on the southern bank, just by the bridge over the river, is a quiet, rather forlorn space. This is Marshall Gardens.
The Gardens were opened in 1958 and named after a former Mayor and town Alderman. In there pomp the gardens boasted elegant flower beds and well tended lawns, representing a time when people sat and watched the world go by. A time when birdsong and flowers were real and not viewed via a tablet screen. All now sadly gone. The birdsong drowned out by the increasing traffic noise from the nearby expanding road junctions, the flowerbeds and herbaceous borders grubbed out or overrun by weeds.
Plans occasionally surface to relocate the towns War Memorial to the gardens, it to is currently surrounded by traffic on the opposite side of the bridge from the Gardens. It would be good to hope that at some point fresh life would be breathed into this unhappy little corner.
WARRINGTON. A bench in the sadly neglected Marshall Gardens on the banks of the River Mersey.
BOOKS & e-BOOKS
BLACK & WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY
Like every other photographer I am always on the lookout for images, seeing if I can find one with the elusive spark that tingles down the spine. For me it doesn’t have to be a dramatic scene, just one where the elements fall into place. Where there’s a sense of place. It’s a constant search as I look for material for the photobooks I produce.
This shot is from a journey I made into Liverpool, to Calderstones Park to the south of the city. The park was once a grand estate and house with the various elements which went with a house of that period. The open parkland surrounding the smaller, more intimate gardens nearer the house. I visited early in spring this year, it was still cold and new growth had yet to make it’s presence felt. Wandering around the Old English Garden I found this row of gardener’s outbuildings tucked away behind a high hedge. There was something in the quiet, unassuming, workaday scene that caught my eye, so the shot was made. With the starkness of the trees so early in the year I decided that a black and white image would be the way forward, to emphasise the coolness of the day and bring out the regimented lines of the brickwork.
Calderstones Park Information.
My Snapwire Portfolio
My normal photography interests are transport, architecture and travel though occasionally a chance comes along to do some portrait work. I got to know Tony, above, when he worked in a coffee bar I used to use. He also has an interest in photography and has gone on to complete a graphics course at University and I believe is now setting himself up in a freelance capacity. My ‘studio’ was very basic, a couple of sheets hung from the walls and lit by a single floodlight. While it was a basic set up it did prove very useful and gave me useful pointers towards a future set up which I’m in the middle of putting together.
I found Tony an excellent model to work with, he had a clear idea of what image he wanted to put across which made the whole process more rewarding and collaborative, with ideas going back and forth between the pair of us.
As for the props, the jeans were Tony’s own and the riding boots were a pair I picked up in a charity/thrift shop. I find quite a lot of ‘things’ this way and I have props box under a desk which I have to clear out from time to time. Is this something which afflicts other photographers? An innocent walk or shopping expedition turns into a hunting trip as more and more objects catch my eye and I can’t leave them behind.