Sometimes Liverpool city centre feels like a bubble. Stepping outside that bubble can be a bit of a shock. This isn’t because I’ve lived in a city centre all my life. I used to live in west Wirral in an industry standard middle class area. 2 cars, few kids, plenty of grey Vauxhalls and such. A nice enough area to grow up in. I now live in New Brighton which is different to west Wirral but not shockingly so. The contrast between Liverpool city centre and its surrounding regions is very noticeable. Its not something I’ve noticed with other cities but maybe I haven’t been paying attention.
Around the city you have areas like Toxteth and Kensington, both of which are under heavy regeneration. Edge Lane has been eradicated. Streets around Anfield are dead. Smithdown road has pockets where communities once where. The same is due to happen around Princes Avenue too. I did a photo-shoot there in 2008 in a street full of boarded up houses. They’re still there. What’s happened to the community there? Maybe its the scale of this regeneration that I find shocking. It reminds me of post war photos. There’s nothing like this on the Wirral. Communities are being wiped out and I can’t say if thats a good thing or not. I’m not in a position too. I did meet a woman back in 2006 living in Toxteth whose street was in this condition, due for regeneration. She didn’t believe it was for the better.
Part of what I do as a photographer is to photograph change because I can’t travel back in time. There’s big change going on here, real change affecting real people. I feel like I should be using my camera to document that. I plan to. The few times I’ve worked in Toxteth I’ve got this sense of a great community there. Its just a question of being accepted, somehow, and being able to document it.