Manchester is a city that has many different faces. From the shiny steel facades of Spinningfields, to the backstreets of Chinatown, the City offers inspirational views, from the dark and dingy to the ‘aspirational’. The city’s army of Instragram users or ‘IGers’ are documenting the city in an intimate way.
Instagrammers Manchester is particularly active. This group, which acts as Manchester’s Instagram community hosts regular Instameets, where Instagram users roam the city taking photographs in groups, share ideas and network. The group held such an event on Saturday, which involved a group of urban photographers setting off from Salford Central.
Manchester City Council has also been keen to engage with Instragram users. The Council’s Instagram site has nearly 2,700 followers and even allows one user to take over their Instagram profile each week. In an Urbanitymcr exclusive, we caught up with this week’s MCC happy-snapper in chief, Craig Griffiths – known as @warhols_boy a 35 year old Marketer from Prestwich.
Craig’s photographs largely focus on Manchester’s burgeoning street art scene. His Instragram account commands an audience of nearly 1500 followers. Craig has also worked professionally at events including a corporate event at Manchester Town Hall. We started by asking him why street art was important to him.
“I’m an art lover in general. As I have got older my tastes have varied from renaissance to Warhol to Marina Abramovic. I’ve been to Berlin a few times and this is where my love of street art started. Here I started to gain more exposure with each visit. The sheer beauty of street art, the talent these artists have and how powerful it can be, still blows me away. We’re lucky in Manchester that we have places like the Northern Quarter that have great artists updating spaces on a regular basis. Through Instagram I have connected with these guys and on occasion have been lucky enough to see them working. It’s a way of expressing yourself, a political view or just an idea. Everyone has access to it. We don’t have to pay £30 to go and see it. It’s art for everyone!”
Intrigued as to whether anyone can pick up their iPhone and become an ‘IGer’, we asked him what an aspiring photographer should look for in taking a good photo.
“I was once taught, what makes a good photo? Just one person liking it. I still believe that to this day. It’s about a moment, an experience and capturing it. There rules you can be taught but my advice would be go with how you feel, take a step back and look at what your shooting. Don’t be scared. There are always good and bad pictures but practice makes perfect. Instagram is the tool that got me into photography. I started taking pictures, gaining followers and getting great feedback. It’s opened many doors for me including meeting people through the app, connecting with artists, business and even the council. Everyone should go for it.”
At Urbanitymcr, we obviously love this great city. We put it to Craig, a native of Luton, what it is about Manchester that makes photography here so special.
“I came to Manchester in 2001. Straight away it had a great feeling for me. It was full of friendly people and it was on the up. Still recovering from the bomb, the city has grown and grown. It’s now a flourishing city full of industry, creativity and diversity. I always say that Manchester has everything London has but it’s smaller and more obtainable. I’ve seen so much creativity in Manchester. Through music, art, street art and events. We have massive universities bringing in new students with new ideas. If we look back to the cotton mills, Turing, our adopted son, Manchester United and City. Madchester and the Hacienda. All exciting eras in our history. I’m sure that that excitement and creativity will only continue.”
Who can argue with that!
In a similar vain to Manchester’s Urban Sketchers, many of Manchester’s prominent Instagrammers are people who are turning their city into art. How better to see the city in a different light than through someone else’s eyes.
For more, why not follow Craig a.k.a @Warhols_Boy on Instagram.