BLY Project Introduction
I've had an idea for a project kicking around inside my head for too long now, so here's a form of it...
The town of Burnley typifies many former mill towns in 21st century Britain. It has high rates of poverty, drug use and redundant housing; and it is populated by a largely working class and fiercely proud group of residents.
The story is familiar; with the decline of Britain's manufacturing industries, the closing of the pits and mills left a gaping hole in a small town's power of employment - in this case, a town that was once the pinnacle of the whole world's cotton production (however briefly this may have been, it is lore which folk from the town all learn about from their elders). Nothing has been left to replace this void. Nearby towns have become thriving social, artistic and touristic centres, but the only well known outside draw to this particular corner of East Lancashire is the town's football club. Whenever the nations T.V. cameras come to screen a live game, they make an effort to ensure they capture the rows of terraced housing and disused chimneys behind the Bob Lord stand.
But that is an outsider's view, there is more to the place than that and there are people living here. If you follow the thingandwhere instagram (@thingandwhere), you will regularly see a promotion of 'the other side' of Burnley's landscape; i.e. picturesque countryside mostly, with the odd labrador thrown in, taken out on the hills above the town, but BLY aims to get inside the town, capture some of the day to day life and give some background to the easy and repetitive shots shown by MOTD and Sky Sports cameras. All of the people I spoke to today were sound and interested to chat about the project and anything else that came up. What was great was that nobody batted an eyelid that some stranger was walking round taking pictures of back streets and shop fronts. Maybe it helps that I started on the streets near to my first home.
This is the first instalment and more will be coming. Hope you enjoy it.
See the project in its growing entirety here.