BELOW NEW UNION STREET, ANCOATS, 4.21AM
When I awoke I had that moment a lot of us experience, of not being quite sure where I was. I wasn’t really free of sleep an hour later when I was staring at the sky, and waiting on the cusp of Redhill and New Union Street in Ancoats for a reluctant night to finally leave. A large, square board opposite me proclaimed the potential joy of the New Islington development, depicting a couple of silhouetted kids, who appeared to me like an illustration from an Enid Blyton novel, sitting in the half light on a bridge wall.
The wind gusted through the trees, causing them to moan and to flick shadows across the walls and cobbles. I was reminded of Disney films from when I was younger, in which a spell that would forever change a child’s life would be signalled by a chorus of whispering branches. I noticed a brightly lit passageway beneath the bridge on the advertising hoarding, that took you from the road bordered by old mills and new apartments to down by the canal side. It was clearly where I should photograph, and yet the sound of the disturbed air and the fact that I would have to disappear from view caused me to hesitate and search for alternatives.
A young couple passed nearby, and they stopped talking as they observed me biting my lip and looking towards the water. Feeling stupid, I was propelled, finally, to step into the shadows and capture the light before me.
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