Paul McMullin — lockdown Liverpool photographer

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Paul has been a photographer based in Liverpool since 1977, starting out as a young assistant with Photoflex, based on Bostock Street. In 2008 Paul was the principal photographer for the Grosvenor book ‘Liverpool One: Remaking a City Centre’ and ‘Liverpool: Shaping the City’, a book commissioned by the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Paul has also published several other books about Liverpool, including ‘Portrait of Liverpool’ and ‘Liverpool The Great City’.He is currently working on ‘Liverpool: City of Architecture’, and will be including some of his images of Liverpool during lockdown.

A photographer and an artist have much in common, they study beauty but also pain and joy and sometimes they happen in the same moment.

That sums up how I feel about this assignment.

Liverpool City Centre is a strange place at the moment, it is quiet as it should be under a ‘lockdown’ order.

I have been documenting the streets devoid of traffic and pedestrians whereas normally shoppers or business people going about their day to day activities would make the streets hum with the hubbub of daily life.

It is unprecedented in my lifetime probably in everybody’s, so I felt it needed documenting properly, not mobile phone snaps but proper images seen through the eyes of an architectural photographer who knows the city well…

I only started this project on the 18th April (permissions to be out and about had to be secured) and I started at Lime Street Station on a beautifully sunny day, at a time when the concourse and steps outside would be exceptionally busy with commuters either rushing for their trains or enjoying sitting in the sun waiting for departures often with a coffee in hand from one of the four popular establishments. Instead it was eerily empty, round stickers on the floor indicating the ideal social distancing measures, not that they were needed.

Perhaps in the next couple of weeks those floor markings will be needed when people start to try to go back to work. The neon signs applauding and thanking the NHS heroes for the work that they do will surely stay? I hope that they will remain for quite a while longer as these workers and all others in the carer sector need to be revered.

Every now and again a prospective traveller would wander across the concourse, outnumbered by the Network Rail and station staff, station announcements would announce the departure of the 15.47 to London which was made up of 11 carriages!

11 carriages perhaps more in hope than current economic sense.

Liverpool One on a warm Saturday evening normally buzzing with shoppers and restaurant goers, silent and deserted with the occasional Deliveroo bike rider rushing to make a destination, Castle Street full of business people, cars , buses and taxis again quiet and still

The same for Dale Street, North John Street, Church Street, The Albert Dock and Pier Head — the list goes on.

Historically one hopes that this will never happen again, but in the meantime I will continue to photograph the city and capture something rare, something unusual and something wonderful — a silent City of Architecture.

I will update this blog and my web site as my work progresses.

More images of ‘Lockdown Liverpool’ can be seen on my website . www.paulmcmullin.com

In the meantime — stay safe.