Every city has the same genetic makeup. Some iconic landmarks, some tall buildings and steely grey infrastructure. There’s one thing we’ve missed out of that list which is arguably the most important – the people.

It may sound really cliched but what is a city without its habitants? Famous streets are nothing without people walking down the pavement daily and every city’s stereotypes are built on the people who live there, good or bad. Decades ago, the general supposition was that Liverpool was full of people with chips on their shoulders and their plates, but a few pioneers have paved the way for a much nicer view of the city.


One of those people is Jane Macneil, a woman who makes the unseen seen by taking photographs in a reportage, observational, street photography style. For the last 6 years she’s been on the other side of the street documenting Liverpool life and the results are truly beautiful. We’re all so busy admiring the stupendous, we forget about the beauty in ordinary and Jane has captured that. Whether it be tactical chips on a night out, an impromptu nap in the library or being stood at the bus stop – she’s somehow made regular activities look quite extravagant.

We met up for coffee.

How long have you been into photography?

I loved music when I was growing up and I used to pore over record covers and the imagery that would go with them. I remember asking my dad for a camera, I didn’t get one for many years but he would let me use the family camera, an old 110 camera. Gradually, I got more into it, turned my bedroom into a darkroom, done some night school classes, then I got a job in a printers and slowly the interest in photography dissipated, for quite a long time. I got back into it again about 12 years ago. I played about with toy film cameras first and then digital.


Where did the idea come from to document the streets of Liverpool?

I’d been taking photos and uploading them on Flickr. The early days of Flickr was a great community for local photographers. A group came out of that community called The Fab Collective, I loved Fab, they were the catalyst for Streets of Liverpool. I had a coaching session with a friend who was in Fab to get some more focus with photography, It turned out she had registered the domain Streets of Liverpool some years before but hadn’t done anything with it, she very kindly passed it over to me and I ran with it.

What’s your favourite picture?

It’s usually something recent. There’s one that I really like that I took one during this summer during the Brazilica Festival of a boy throwing a ball on Mulberry Street, there was some lovely golden light about that evening. Unfortunately, it’s not in the exhibition as it was all printed and framed by then. But there’s one of the florist on Paradise Street that almost looks like a Renaissance painting, that’s probably my favourite one in the exhibition.
Jane is a photographer who spends most days walking the streets of her hometown with her camera. Her first show, photographs from this series, opens at Liverpool’s Bold Street Coffee on 26th September, 2016, and runs until 28th October.