I’ve some things in common with Tony Corbell, the award-winning photographer. We both shoot with Canon, we’re both heavily involved with training and photography; it’s just that for him the latter is his main wage earner and the former is something he believes in very strongly; sharing knowledge and experience. Those roles are reversed for me of course but this week I found something else in common with him.
He describes himself as the “biggest fan in the world*” of an English group of musicians who achieved some success in the 1960’s, and so one of his personal projects has been to document things and places mentioned in their songs over the years. Coincidentally in the same week that I was watching one of his training videos explaining this, I found myself in the same city where he has shot so much of this project.
It’s a city I’ve worked in before and so I didn’t come expecting to capture any great shots; I won a ViewBug challenge last year for images from this city, so felt I’d been there, done that. I had an entirely different landscape in mind to shoot nearby, but in the short excursion from my hotel in search of food and drink I couldn’t help myself. Like Glasgow the architecture here seems to have so many autobiographical tales to tell of the city’s past.
One of the world’s major ports, there are tales of slavery and immigration, heroism, death, artistry, poverty and wealth to be discerned from the names and decoration of the buildings and public spaces here. As I was staying in the commercial district it was predominantly the wealth that I encountered through banks and insurance companies and building names such as West Africa House and New Zealand House.
The Town Hall is 18th Century, and whilst it lacks the braggadocio of Manchester’s structure it is a fine Georgian building with some unusual decoration that again reflects the city’s international role and is topped of course by Britannia, ruler of the waves that brought this affluence.
My intended subject on this trip was a location aimed at protecting the city and its important trade. Money talks.
Which brings me back to Tony Corbell and his fandom. In case you haven’t yet recognised the city, here and some images that might just clinch it for you, and a couple of lines from one of the songs his idols recorded:
The best things in life are free
But you can keep them for the birds and bees
Now give me money
That’s what I want
(Further clue – I’m not talking about The Flying Lizards!)
*A claim that would surely be disputed by my old school friend and bass-player, George Mitchell. We never rivalled these guys: