The lost property office
The Art of Tea
A gentle meander through Manchester’s backstreets, shining a searchlight on its forgotten inhabitants. Time-worn furniture put out to pasture, surplus to requirements. Wheelie-bins fighting to be the bin man’s first choice; a weary old sofa with more tall-stories to tell than a trawler captain.
The subjects are photographed in their natural habitats and shown the respect they deserve. The accompanying map shows the location of each of these characters, encouraging the viewer to seek out these dishevelled outcasts and perhaps make a pilgrimage of their own. South Manchester is a varied, interesting place. Areas like Chorlton and West Didsbury find themselves becoming gentrified almost without the locals noticing.
Zoë Byrne and I wanted to show the characterful side of Manchester's leafy suburbs, as a counterpoint to the sanitised, pseudo-bohemian attitude that seems to be on the rise. After all, for every Danté and Jemima being bundled into a Range Rover after ballet class, there are at least three upside down shopping trolleys and a melted wheelie-bin. For every artisanal delicatessen there are several charity shops, and if you see a young man with Bob Dylan hair and tight jeans you will then almost certainly see two old ladies wearing Reebok Classics and rain hoods.
The map was a stupid idea, though. It took so long to get all the strings attached and in the right places that I was still sitting with a pile of pins, string and picture frames about half an hour before it was due to go on the wall at The Art of Tea.