Stirchley High Street Stories was a community photography project which ran from March to June 2019. Last night it launched its popup exhibition and newspaper at Artefact in Stirchley. The gallery runs to Saturday, with a print run of 100 newspapers for visitors to view or take away.
The project was organised by Ghost Streets CIC led by Tracey Thorne and funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. A group of volunteers met three times for photowalks along Stirchley high street, from Fordhouse Lane to Bournville Lane junction. We attended a workshop run by Photo School on how to tell stories with photographs. Then we each chose a theme or story to focus on.
First I collected colour in the form of Stirchley's shutters (which made a vertical grid on the back cover). But post-workshop I decided to get a different perspective and take a 'camera dog' for a walk down the high street – essentially a GoPro on a monopod.
I'm really pleased with the results. The wide angles and foot-high shooting position were perfect. I decided to process them in black and white because that's how we used to think dogs saw the world. Apparently they do have some colour vision and see the world as basically yellow, blue, and grey (no red or green).
Other themes from the rest of the team include: curry houses, Hunts Road junction, Browell's tobacconist, Stirchley swatches, shopfronts, things for sale, uncommon places, and fusions and tensions (with some lovely poetic captions from P-Bantz, aka Phil Banting).
A selection of photos is on Stirchleyhighstreet.tumblr.com and under the Instagram hashtag #stirchleyhighstreet. Here are some of my A Dog's Eye View photo stories, including new ones not in the newspaper.
Final thoughts on 'what next' after the scroll…
Hopefully there will be a followup from this. Stirchley is changing massively at the moment and already the high street looks different with the Wild Cat reopening and others due to follow. See:
- Stirchley seven years on
- Viva Stirchley!
- A baker called Tom Baker…
- The new Stirchley Village in pictures
With everything in flux and several wastelands awaiting development, it would be great to have an Issue 2 next year at the least.
Personally I'm hoping for more multimedia stories, using video and audio – to create a living record of the transition and the community that is creating that change. A 'Humans of Stirchley' piece maybe, to bring the high street to life for future generations.
Who wants to be videoed or photographed/interviewed so I can practise my storytelling/photojournalism?
Or I might start to take my interest in Stirchley in new direction. I've enjoyed getting back to photography and taking a more artistic approach to my local area.
Ideas are forming… get in touch?