Yes that’s right, Birmingham (UK) is a photogenic city. Maybe you would think of Paris, New York, Sydney (or in my case Varanasi, Granada or St Petersburg) but Birmingham is just as interesting. Here, let me show you:
I suspect that it may take slightly more evidence than just these few photographs to convince some people as Birmingham does not always have the most positive of reputations, being seen as grim, unfriendly and with nothing to do. Well this was true twenty odd years ago – when Elizabeth worked there for a time – but since then the regeneration has transformed it into a vibrant city with a thriving arts scene. The response of the French couple we met in a B&B in Hay-on-Wye to our tentative enquiries about they liked Birmingham sums up the new atmosphere: “it was wonderful, so friendly… and the shopping was great!”
Possibly a more reliable justification than the views of random French tourist can be found within the Birmingham Flickr Group. This is an open group, with the only restriction being the maximum number of photographs that can be posted in a day, but it still manages to consistently have a large number of both beautiful and fascinating pictures. It’s almost as if the 700+ members are deliberately trying to make it a showcase for the city (something which is sadly lacking in other local groups which often consist of out-of-focus snapshots of a dog in the local park).
The Birmingham Flickr group is closely connected with various sections of the local arts community and was, for example, given passes to Artsfest (the results of which can be seen here) and one of those administering the group is local blogger extraordinaire Pete Ashton
There are many fine photographers in the group but two of my favourites are Suselstahl, for her amazing street photography, and kate&drew who manages depict the heart of the city through its everyday details.
So ignore what you may have heard about Birmingham: come and see it for yourself.
— words & pictures by Paul