Incredible before and after photos show Manchester bouncing back to life after lockdown

Mark Waugh / CartridgeSave

An award-winning street photographer has captured images of the ‘new normal’ as the streets of Manchester reopened for the first time in over three months on Saturday.

These images illustrate a rather stark contrast to previous years too.

Each year, one of the UK’s best-known street photographers – Mark Waugh – was joined by hundreds of amateur photographers between 2017-2019 in a unique social experiment to capture the spirit of some of the country’s biggest cities in just 24 hours.

The A Day In The Life experiment compiled thousands of images of the people and places that made those bustling cities tick.

From buskers to office workers, students, skateboarders, OAPs, tourists, and many more, the experiment went on to build one of the most distinctive visual libraries showing what a number of prominent UK cities, including Manchester, looked like on that day in history.

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Pre-Lockdown Manchester

Captured by Mark Waugh in April 2017.

Mark Waugh / CartridgeSave
Mark Waugh / CartridgeSave
Mark Waugh / CartridgeSave
Mark Waugh / CartridgeSave

As we entered 2020 though, life as we knew it was about to change.

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic swept across the world and the UK officially entered lockdown back on 23rd March 23rd, millions of people were now working from home, furloughed from jobs or made redundant; non-essential businesses were forced to close their doors to customers, and public travel was limited. 

Our cities and streets had become ghost towns. 

This posed the question of what type of ‘new normal’ awaited us as lockdown measures were relaxed on Saturday 4th July?

So, Mark once again took to the streets of Manchester, on what was dubbed as ‘Super Saturday’, to capture the people of the city enjoying the reopening of their favourite venues as restrictions were eased nationwide, and in contrast with the eerie photographs taken during the peak of lockdown, these images show the lively scenes of pubs, restaurants and hairdressers welcoming customers again. 

The photographs were collected as part of Cartridge Save’s A Day In The Life 2020 experiment, to show how the city has adjusted in line with lockdown restrictions being lifted.

Event organiser, Ian Cowley of Cartridge Save, said: “The images from Saturday highlight the stark contrast between Manchester before and after lockdown. We worked closely with Mark to ensure we captured a moment of history as pubs, bars and hairdressers reopened for the first time in more than three months.”

“These images captured by Mark are a perfect example of Manchester adapting to a new way of living after months of solitude.”

Manchester is #BuzzingToBeBack.

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Manchester on ‘Super Saturday’

Captured by Mark Waugh on 4th July 2020.

Mark Waugh / CartridgeSave
Mark Waugh / CartridgeSave
Mark Waugh / CartridgeSave
Mark Waugh / CartridgeSave
Mark Waugh / CartridgeSave
Mark Waugh / CartridgeSave
Mark Waugh / CartridgeSave
Mark Waugh / CartridgeSave
Mark Waugh / CartridgeSave
Mark Waugh / CartridgeSave
Mark Waugh / CartridgeSave

The Manc is helping local businesses and venues get back on their feet after lockdown with our #BuzzingToBeBack campaign – offering as much support and exposure for Manchester hospitality as possible.

Read more about what we’re doing for the industry here.

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