Manchester Photo Walk with Matt Granger
Although there are thousands of camera clubs up and down the country, I have never actually participated in any organised gatherings. However, when Matt Granger (That Nikon Guy of old) announced he was doing a Photowalk in Manchester I did prick my ears up. He was in the UK to do workshops in Edinburgh and London, and was stopping in Manchester for a couple of days on his journey between.
Living only 6 miles outside the city centre I jumped on the tram and arrived at the meeting place around 10 minutes early, I was surprised by the number of people there. Looking back at the group shot taken before the walk there were 62 people in attendance (2 children are not visible in the pic). Actually there were more as we were joined by others during the walk but I know not the numbers....
This is a group shot taken by Tim McAndrew before we start our walk:
Photo by: Tim McAndrew
At the agreed meeting time Matt sauntered around the corner with coffee in hand and proceeded to introduce himself and swap pleasantries. I have to say he's exactly the same as in his videos, although as the evening progressed his wicked dry sense of humour is more apparent in person.
After standing chatting for 15 minutes or so (allowing time for late arrivals), we proceeded to make our way through the city to our target of 'The Northern Quarter'. This is the location if you're a photographer new to the city (or even a seasoned regular) you have to visit, it's a treasure trove of hidden gems.
Walking the line Cattle Build it
Matt set a challenge (optional) of approaching 3 strangers to get their image, a challenge which I decided I would take on (capitalising on being in a large group). Although I'm an outgoing person I don't usually approach people but instead capture them candidly. All of the people I mustered up the courage to approach were subsequently swamped by others of the group (having seen they were happy to be photographed). At the end of the meet I was pleased I managed to complete the challenge and then some.
sure Expressions Pucker Inhale
I have to say all in all I had a great time, I only have one negative of the whole event; As we were making our way around the northern quarter, in a formation akin to a wolf pack. Everyone was looking for THE shot, which is difficult enough in it's own right but in a group of 60+ similarly motivated individuals it's even more of a challenge. Especially when you do see something that little bit special (be it an angle or a shard of light) you know as soon as you've taken your picture a dozen or so others spot you and do likewise :)
Anyway, I digress... as we made our way we came upon an individual that clearly lived on the streets. He was holding a plastic cup and upon seeing so many people with cameras was more than happy to perform, dancing, gurning and talking/dancing enthusiastically. I didn't take any pictures of him, but not because he wasn't photogenic or interesting. I hadn't asked him as a stranger (the afore mentioned challenge) and it wasn't going to be candid. So for me personally there was no point.. besides, many other members of the group were doing!
So why do I consider this a negative?? After he'd performed for photographs he held out his plastic cup and asked for a little contribution (spare change)... to be greeted by people's backs as they scurried away! As this point I felt a little ashamed, these people were walking around with their gear draped over their bodies (many of them several thousand pounds worth) and could not even give a few pence. I felt bad and did give him some (although I didn't take his picture), not a huge amount only £0.85 but it was something. I should add, as I was walking away I noticed Matt was digging deep also... I have to say my impression of the group is they were decent people, so I would like to think this was simply an oversight. If you find yourselves in a similar situation maybe this will make you at least consider financial compensation of some sort (no matter how little).
I see you Hog Look up Watching
After we'd finished our walk we made our way to the dry bar for a quick drink and chat, the bar staff look shell shocked (when we entered there were only around 4 punters). I managed to chat with Matt about a few different things and even got him to pose for an amusing/insulting picture to share with my good friend Dom Bower (who was also Matt's tour guide in Edinburgh on the earlier leg of his tour).
My biggest regret was not getting a decent photo taken with Matt, we just did a quick iPhone selfie (in which Matt kindly used his hand to hide the glare of the bar lights off my head - hmmmm)..
However, I suspect that Matt will return to Manchester in the future and I can highly recommend you take advantage of the opportunity if he does.
Hey Rigby, thank you for your comment. I totally agree with the blanket idea, I recommend anyone wishing to help the homeless in Manchester to check out Cold Nights https://www.facebook.com/coldnightsmanchester/?fref=ts
Also, in relation to your friend please encourage away!! :)
taking photos of the homeless/desperate has been a bugbear of mine for along time.. i understand if you're recording your own but like you said these people have at least 1K on their backs and just wandered in
it's pretty revolting
good to see Granger understands this too and if you're in the area you might want to give the guy a blanket and encourage the rest of the manc group to do the same
they are not exhibits they are human suffering beings
love your stuff btw and a friend has a wedding coming up so i'm encouraging her towards you.. haha
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