Update – May 2012

It’s almost been two months since the last post here so here’s an update to share what’s next.

Since finishing the project in March 2012 I’ve been busy starting a new job and another blog over at England-Is about urban and rural English landscapes. It’s a kind of guide to England’s mundane and picturesque sights with a bit of culture on top.

In the week between jobs I starting making a book of the project for myself. It’s turned out to be quite a nice way to present the pictures so I’ll try and integrate this with the blog in future. As part of the finalisation I went through the entire set of portraits trying to make the processing, composition and style of the photos consistent, including turning a few landscape orientation shots around (I plan to post about these changes). I’ve also been making [very] slow progress in the possibility of having the project exhibited somewhere in Birmingham but funding could be a hurdle. If you have experience of this please tell!

Many people viewing this project have probably only seen the latter half of the hundred portraits so I’ve a planned series of posts focusing on themes and motifs within the greater set. Initial ideas are hats, glasses, stories, couples so stay tuned for those.

In the meantime check out the work Talk About Local do for hyperlocal bloggers (they were also kind enough to ‘award’ this blog with the Best Photography 2012 title which was a nice surprise last week).


All one-hundred portraits ordered in the location they were taken from near Birmingham city centre outwards.

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Hall Green – 23/03/12

Yasin was on his way to shops in Springfield from Hall Green today. He’s studying internal design at college and looks forward to joining the family business of property development afterwards. [1080]

Annie was late for a salon appointment but hadn’t had to travel far from her Hall Green house. She moved in eight years ago thinking it would be a home for life and beneficial to her late son but the changes to the local parade since warrant a change of scene for her. Annie works for the NHS Stop Smoking Service and visits schools to give advice on how to lead a healthy lifestyle – something the numerous local fast-food outlets don’t help. [1130]

Mark has lived in many Birmingham districts over his 90-odd years but now resides in Hall Green. He served in two wars, having kept getting called up again, and spent 44 years at Birmingham City Council in an administrative role. Mark had a stroke more recently but luckily he is still able to get out and about relatively independently. [1061]

Shiraz was picking up one of his sports cars from a Hall Green garage today to return to his home near-by. I’d noticed it around for years and he also owns another unusual car – one the same as mine. For work, Mark has been running Carpet Elite in Dudley and seemed to be enjoying success with it. [1191]

Rob graduated as a Civil Engineer in 2008 but was made redundant two years into his first job. He was fortunate enough to find another role quickly and being able to work from home, found time to start a photographic project. Rob moved to Hall Green in 1998 but hasn’t stayed in anywhere for long in the last eight years. He’s currently enjoying the community spirit in Stirchley and is due to start a new job soon. [1205]

So that concludes this phase of the project; 100 people on the Stratford Road photographed and told. I’m planning a few best-of, analytical and written posts over the coming months so stay tuned and thanks for looking. Photos also on flickr.

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Hall Green and Shirley – 02/03/12

Michael has always lived in Birmingham and started his career as a solicitor in the city centre during the 1980s. Although living in Moseley, he now works in Hall Green specialising property and was on his way to a near-by bank. [1144]

Nikki was heading to her sister’s house in Shirley after a day at college training to become a security guard. She said she’d always tended towards typically male jobs based on the theory that they’ll be easier to get as a woman. Nikki lives in Winston Green and doesn’t travel on much of the Stratford Road, sticking to the Hall Green and Shirley areas when possible. [-134]

Steve (and Amy, below) were on the Stratford Road today with their baby girl. Steve has lived all over Birmingham following various jobs but originates from the Hall Green area. He’s just got a new band going so keep an eye out for FEA. [-231]

Amy (with Steve, above) is a full-time mother said things were going well with her first child. She’s originally from Leicester but came to Birmingham when she was 11. Amy and Steve have just settled into Hall Green primarily because of the good value home they found. [-231]

Also on flickr.

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Shirley (Environment)

The Shirley length of the Stratford Road is dominated by shops in a similar way to Springfield, Sparkhill and Sparkbrook. These however reflect the different demographic of a large retired population who are predominantly white. Grocery, fast food and textile outlets are replaced with charity shops, supermarkets and restaurants. The parade appears to have suffered slightly worse than other areas in the on-going recession with some premises remaining empty rather than being resold to the next business-person. There are plans to add a new shopping centre and supermarket to the area but it remains to be seen if this can draw people from the Birmingham and Solihull shopping centres.

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Also on flickr.

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Hall Green (Environment)

Hall Green is perhaps the most residential stretch of the Stratford Road with a couple of miles of semi-detached houses, flats and retirement complexes. Businesses are still scattered throughout but are concentrated on Hall Green parade, near it’s station, and Robin Hood Island, near Shirley Tesco. These photos briefly profile the mix of business and residencies found in the area.

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Also on flickr.

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Hall Green to Sparkbrook – 23/02/12 and 24/02/12

Fahad is a new resident in Sparkhill after moving from Pakistan three weeks ago to read a masters in Travel, Leisure and Tourism – something that his five languages will no doubt help. We discussed some differences between Pakistan and the UK in education and life but Fahad seemed to embrace his new environment. [815]

Shamus was put forward by his business partner Khan for a photo after we discussed their new business serving the car electronics and window tinting market in Hall Green. Shamus has been here all his life and Khan mentioned he was getting married in Spring. So, if your car needs fixing or tinting try RS Auto Electrics on 07828614702! [970]

Chris has always lived in the Shirley area of Birmingham and has had a variety of jobs since leaving school. He is currently unemployed but has been taking courses to expand his skills base. [1046]

Ishtiaq is currently studying Computer Game Design at university. He said he likes the area and would definitely call it his home despite others considering their motherland of Pakistan their real home. [66]

David is a retired mechanic and has enjoyed living in Hall Green for the past six years, enjoying the diversity and nature of people in the area. [976]

Oli has lived in Hall Green all his life and works at a restaurant near Robin Hood Island. When asked about the Stratford Road he appreciated how busy it was in respect of business. [1092]

Also on flickr.

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Sparkbrook to Springfield – 11/02/12

Catrina (and Tariq, below) were on their way to see family in Sparkbrook today. She is originally from Sheldon, west of the city centre, but has recently moved in with Tariq… [40]

…Tariq (with Catrina, above) is currently training as a courier driver and was as excited about moving in with his girlfriend. We both nagged Catrina about work aspirations. [40]

Abdul is currently training as a dental technician and has already arranged future work in Sparkbrook, whilst hoping to own a practise one day. He has been in the UK for 6 years and is originally from Somalia. [162]

Mick was visiting his parents today in Sparkbrook where they have lived for around 30 years. Whilst currently unemployed, Mick is a Gardener/Groundsman by trade. [664]

Sugar was on his way home after visiting his kids in Sparkhill. He was going to walk back to Acocks Green but the ‘crisp’ weather persuaded him to catch a bus instead. [610]

Also on flickr.

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