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SHERBOURNE STREET, CHEETHAM HILL, 7.22AM

strangeways at dawn

SHERBOURNE STREET, CHEETHAM HILL 7.22AM

I was a still a boy when I first saw Strangeways prison. My mother drove past it, and the strange tower, rising up from amongst the dense walls, haunted me during that night’s sleep. Was this the future of men? Since then it’s inescapable presence, poking into the Manchester sky, has fascinated me.

I’ve decided that Strangeways and Empire Street should form one of the boundaries for my project, and that the best place to get a proper look at the tower, and the world that surrounded it, was from Shelbourne Street. Here the hidden lives of guilty men are framed by the frivolities of ladies fashion, providing yet another one of those schizophrenic moments so often apparent in this city.

Strangeways stood proud in the early dawn, against a slight mist that softened the distant competing towers of Beetham and the Premier Inn. Two prostitutes, their arms folded, huddled together in the chill air, half heartedly imploring passing cars to stop.

I’d arrived at the location in a rush, trying to redeem the mistake of the previous day, when I’d not seen the picture that I really wanted. I fumbled and managed just 2 frames before the lights popped off. The tension was gone and a simple, grey light surrounded the men and women walking briskly to their work. I was done, and set off for home.

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