Manchester is a rapidly changing city.
Even though the essence of the city, the heart of the people who inhabit it, and the unique buzz it possesses will always remain relatively unchanged at its core, we cannot exactly say the same for the landscape around us. Whether its a new high rise building added to the skyline, streets becoming pedestrianised one by one, or new green spaces cropping up, Manchester is not what it once was over 40 years ago.
Perhaps nothing illustrates this more than two photographs by a prominent Manchester photographer taken a total of 41 years apart.
Kevin Cummins – an award-winning and highly revered photographer born and raised in Manchester, who is best known for his work with the NME, on the Madchester and Cool Brittania music scenes, and for photographing famous musicians such as Joy Division, Oasis, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Mick Jagger, David Bowie and more in the 1970s onward – snapped a photo of the Manchester skyline whilst on a job last week and noticed it look remarkably different to a photo he took in the same place in 1979.
He posted the two comparison photos on his social media platforms this week and residents cannot believe their eyes.
Kevin said: “When I was in Manchester last week to shoot [Manchester band Blossoms] for [Manchester City and Puma], I took a photo of the view from the Joy Division (Epping Walk) bridge to match my shot of it during the Joy Division shoot in 1979.
“It’s fair to say – Manchester has changed.”
The two photos – which have thousands of likes, comments and shares across each of Kevin’s social platforms – have understandably got a lot of people talking about what has changed in the city over time, both the good ans the bad, and sharing their own personal anecdotes too.
A post showcasing the two photos on the r/manchester Reddit has also garnered attention this week as well, with one person saying: “Love this city. It’s constantly improving all the time. Okay we lost some gems, but I get a feeling more will be created.”
Another echoed Kevin’s comment saying: “I visited Manchester after 28 years away. I used to go by train every weekend, shop, play laser tag, generally hang out as a teenager. I was completely lost. I had to put my back to Manchester Piccadilly and walk for about 10 mins before I got my bearings.
“Manchester has changed a lot.”
The famous “Joy Division Bridge” mentioned in his post is also Kevin’s own bit of history in itself.
The Epping Walk Bridge – which is located over Princess Street in Hulme – is famously known for the iconic Joy Division image taken by Kevin in 1979 and is now branded as “a must visit [attraction] for music lovers” by the city’s tourism board to attempt to recreate the famous photograph.
What Manchester will look like another 40 years then?
We’ll just have to wait and see.
You can find more of Kevin Cummins’ work via his photography portfolio website here, and you can find him on Twitter and Instagram too. You can also pre-order Kevin’s upcoming photography collection book titled ‘While We Were Getting High: Britpop and the ’90s’ from the Rough Trade website here.