The launch of the Capital of Culture year

Fireworks launch from major venues in Liverpool

10 years ago today I was on top of St Johns Beacon with a very special view of the start of Liverpool’s year as the European Capital of Culture. What a view and what a year! There were so many highlights. This was one of them and the other clear standout event was La Princess, the spider. It was something straight out of science fiction. A mechanical spider walking around the city. Even with the visits by the Giants over the years I don’t think they’ve topped that sheer spectacle that was the spider.

Over the past 10 years there’s been a lot of changes to the city. Tourism has certainly boomed. I’m typing this in the Museum of Liverpool’s cafe which is filled with tourists. The Cruise Liner terminal has been a massive success. The Baltic Triangle is something to be championed. I remember walking around there in 2009 when it was still just 2 venues, both of which closed but were then taken over and new spaces grew out of them. That whole area is growing a new side to Liverpool that I don’t think anyone expected. It was all about Liverpool One back in 2008.

The Open Eye Gallery’s relocation has worked out well and RIBA have moved in next door as a sort of seal of approval on Liverpool’s architecture. Speaking of which the newly opened Everyman is incredible and award winning. Since 2008 there’s been multiple nominations for Sterling Prize architecture in Liverpool. It’s not just about the events.

The city really is an amazing space and it’s been a joy to photograph it over the past 10 years. I’ll be documenting 2018 as much as possible but here’s how it opened 10 years ago.

I remember standing at the top of St Johns Beacon watching the crowds grow. It was just me and the guy from BBC filming. It was quite something to see how the crowds grew. All of a sudden the road was packed and then the event kicked off. I didn’t see Ringo and I couldn’t make out the music but it was an amazing event. My job was to get the key photo of the fireworks. I had one chance. Nailed it (lead image). Originally I was to be on top of St Johns Beacon but it was a bit too windy. Phew! Amazing event.

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