Playing The Long Game: Outdoor Photography With Telezooms

Brutal North - a Review


I hope you enjoy browsing the images in my Portfolio - all comments are welcome!
...Read More

Brutal North - a Review

20 Nov 2020 11:28AM   Views : 676 Unique : 477

I've always been interested in architecture, not in a highly technical way, but as an aesthetic. I know what I like to look at, and I like well detailed, quirky buildings, so the Victorian and other older buildings are the ones most likely to appeal. So this book popped up on Twitter and I thought it seemed an interesting contrast to what I like - Brutal North by Simon Phipps, September Publishing, 2020, ISBN 978-1-012836-16-4. This shows black and white images of the concrete montrosities of the later 1960s onwards, and I say monstrosities because no matter how clever the architects think they are, given a few years, water damage and neglect and they are generally not a pretty sight. There are also all those bleak public areas, bereft of relief from the oppression of all that concrete, with overgrown gardens and solitary ailing trees, none maintained no doubt because of lack of ongoing funding.

The photos in the book are actually all very well shot, and actually exaggerate the bleakness by being in black and white. An example is the Lancastrian Hall and Library in Swinton, Manchester. Apparently closed since 2015, this is a building I am well familiar with, along with the Swinton shopping precinct that continues the bleak concrete behind it. Here's the back and white image from the book.

And yet, is this entirely fair? A different look might be gained from my colour slide shot in the early 1970s, which shows a much warmer effect, with some colour in the concrete facade. There's also no argument with the building inside, which fulfilled its functions very comfortably.

It may be the sledgehammer design of huge concrete blocks that is the cause of my architectural lament. Stone or brick, breaking up the detail as it does, is so much friendlier and so much more human.

However, the book itself is fascinating, and well worth the price being charged for it on Amazon. Highly reommended!

Recent blogs by johnriley1uk

The Pentax and the Butterfly

I always carry my trusty Pentax MX-1, probably the best compact camera that I have ever used. It is staggeringly useful in terms of functions, not too large or heavy and sturdily made. It also has a great lens, the SMC Pentax 8-25mm f/1.8-2.5, comple...

Posted: 25 Sep 2023 3:37PM

Historic Tyldesley - Frank's Cafe and More!

There was a cafe in this building for many years, well loved by local people and run by Frank and his wife. Eventually, of course, Frank retired and the building has been under restoration for some time now. If you look on YouTube one of the urban ex...

Posted: 24 Sep 2023 10:55AM

Historic Tyldesley - The Technical College

There is a road sign that says "Welcome to Historic Tyldesley" or something similar, and for a while we scratched our heads wondering what excatly was historic about Tyldesley. Well, slap on the hand for us, because there are plenty of things that w...

Posted: 23 Sep 2023 2:41PM

Buile Hill Greenhouse - Progress Report

We were down at Buile Hill Park in Salford today, just to see how the mansion and the Greenhouse were getting along. The mansion is under restoration at the moment, but the greenhouse was set to be demolished. This was such a wonderful place, with bi...

Posted: 11 Sep 2023 12:42AM

Always Carry a Camera

I make a point of always carrying a camera, just to capture anything and everything that catches my eye as we carry on with the minutiae of life. I was in Atherton and just heading for the shop that sells fuses and passed a small alleyway that used t...

Posted: 7 Sep 2023 8:59PM

There are no comments here! Be the first!


You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join for free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.