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Taking Stockport: A Photo Walk With Elle Brotherhood

Updated: May 4

A bleak, grizzly (grey and drizzly) day in Stockport, Manchester and as I was loading up on layers and debating adding my heated gilet and hat as I charged up my camera battery, ready for a photo walk. I had no idea what I had signed myself up for but my friend said it would be a good (and free) day - so off I went.

I arrived at On the Brink studios into their main workshop space and already felt the inspiration senses tingling. The room was full of wood working machinery, hand written signs and the whole place just had a hand made feel to it. The kind of space where creative potential is just oozing out of every inch.

a dusty pink background with green foliage in detail

A small group of us sat down with photographer Elle Brotherhood for a quick introduction and a coffee before we grabbed our cameras and set off into town.

Between us, our group had a good mix of smart phones and cameras to take our photos on. We very enthusiastically snapped the buildings, trees and general life of Stockport as we headed out of the gates and into the urban areas. Elle pointed out shapes and lines within the buildings, reflections, railway arches, textures and patterns as we marched along the street.

A black and white angular building

Although I've lived in Stockport for a few years now, it was really special to actually stop with my camera and to take some photos of the parts that I would normally rush past without a second thought. What a great excuse to stop and really look at what's there.

There's also something very refreshing about meeting a new group of people and doing a creative activity together, especially when walking and the elements are involved.

two men looking at a camera next to an art mural

After a quick mooch around the main shopping area, we headed down Little Underbank for a nosey at the independent shops, some partially derelict buildings and some weathered artist murals. This area is one of my favourite parts of Stockport, there's a real sense of community and a sort of gritty unpolished-ness about the place and it's bursting with character and friendly faces.

a blue shop front

After a quick nosey down some side streets and pointing out our favourite places to eat, drink and socialise, we set off to the Hat Works Museum where we finished the walk with a warming drink and a quick chat.

*Just reflecting back over the day, there was something nice about there being 'safety in numbers' with the group. It can feel a bit daunting sometimes going into urban spaces to take photos on your own. It was also a great excuse to take my big camera out for it's annual outing (shameful) it's so much easier to point and click my phone at things but today I made the conscious effort to learn some of the settings and just have a go.

floral architectural details

a mill with chimney, a crane and flying birds

This photo walk was created for the Women + Archives collective created by Manchester Metropolitan University and Stockport Hat Works Museum. An exhibition of all of the work produced will be held at Hat Works Museum 8th- 23rd March 2024. (My photos will be included in the exhibition too!)


P.S. Some of my favourite places to visit in Stockport:

- Rare Mags - Beautifully crafted magazines, bursting with inspiration

- Laco Cafe - Huge fan of their goats cheese salad!

- Plant Shop - Beautiful plants and homewares

- Bohemian - My new favourite hair dressers

- Hilgate Cakery - Vegan cake deliciousness

- Cafe Sanjuan - Delicious Colombian food

Of course The Hat Works Museum will be reopening soon after a big refurb!

Add your favourites to the comments, where would you recommend?

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