Say hello to one man’s mission to document Liverpool from across the street.
We’re all used to looking at Liverpool very up-close and personal but sometimes, you have to leave to appreciate what you’ve got. To see things from a different angle, from a further distance and from a different position makes us see things in new ways and appreciate aspects we’ve never noticed before. Antonio Franco, a local photographer who was raised in Venezuela, has made it his mission to document the beautiful Liverpool facades we often never give a second glance. Liverpool is full of beautiful architecture, both regal and timeless, that seem to fit together like a game of perfect Tetris. So often we’re looking down at the ground and at our phones that we can’t appreciate our surroundings. The power of looking up is one that is not to be underestimated and Antonio’s mission is to remind us to do so.
From mobile repair shops to your favourite restaurants, Antonio has taken us on an alternative tour of the city through his lens and we’re extremely pleased he decided to do so. Much like the famous “Doors of Dublin” poster, Antonio has created polaroids of the portals of Liverpool that offer a different perspective to our everyday life. So often we’re inside these establishments, eating, drinking (or fixing our phone after too much of the second one!) to ever really appreciate the time and care that has gone into the building and how the business has made it their own. Much like our own mission, Antonio is out to show how unique every shop front can be if you just stop to look.
We caught up with the man behind the camera:
What is your story?
I was born and raised in Venezuela, where I had my education and finally got an engineering degree in 1998. Photography was just a hobby – until 2006 – when I decided to become a full-time photographer. That decision opened the door to a new life for me. Photography allowed me to travel to new places, meet interesting people and document the world around me.
I have shot a lot since then. Concerts, bands, model portfolios, events, weddings, babies, sports, family portraits, editorials, etc. I regard myself as a broad spectrum photographer.
In 2014, I moved to Liverpool where I look forward to establish myself as a commercial photographer.
How did you get into photography?
From an early age I could spend hours looking at family albums. My grandfather was a big influence in that regard, he had a Kodak instant camera that he let me use sometimes. That was enough to get me hooked.
What encouraged you to start this mission?
Liverpool is an amazing city. I fell in love pretty much since I arrived. It became usual for me to take long walks around with my camera capturing everything that caught my attention. Shooting the shop fronts came out naturally as part of this. It’s a way to say “I was here, and this is what I saw”. As I say, Liverpool from across the street.
A few months later, I decided to take this further as a photo project and did some research about this. I found a book by James and Karla Murray called “Store Front, The disappearing face of New York” and after seeing their work I became reassured that I was in the right direction.
Then I started posting the photos on Instagram, Tumbler and now Facebook, and I’m really pleased to see people’s response to them.
Will you be keeping it up?
Of course. This is a work in progress and there’s still a lot to do. This is just the beginning.