BROUGHTON STREET, CHEETHAM HILL, 7.41AM
I was driving home and Joni Mitchell came on the radio. “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.” I sang along, of course, and then, when I’d got back and made a mug of strong tea, I was stirred to look revisit the folder of pictures from Not Quite Light that have had no work done on them, that are forgotten and perhaps destined to be forever deleted.
I happened upon this picture of Cheetham Hill, it hadn’t yet been despatched, and so I searched my journal for the notes that I’d made on the morning it had been taken, a day in October when I was apparently feeling rushed. I’d written “It was only after the lights had gone off, and I’d walked back to the car, did I realise that I’d missed the photograph I really should have taken. I was left feeling a bit irritated with myself for not looking more carefully”
I’d therefore, probably, dismissed this image as being irrelevant and had built up a certain blinkered prejudice as it didn’t conform to the arbitrary criteria that I’d set myself for this project, such as the fact the street lamps weren’t on.
Now, at the start of 2016, I stared at the shuttered businesses, bathed in the warm light of the past. With each dawn comes fresh hope, and these wholesale businesses were yet to begin their day of trade. Only a few minutes earlier the pock marked tarmac would have been under a sodium, orange glow, and my opinion of the picture would have been very different. Soon this part of Manchester will become attractive to the developers massing in the nearby city centre. One day these places of endeavour will remain closed and then be destroyed. If nothing else, the photograph deserved to survive and see the light of day as a record of what they took away before it all changed.
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