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.