Take a trip back to 90s Manchester and its famed music scene in Amelia Troubridge’s nostalgic series
Tony Wilson, Shaun Ryder, Terry Christian, Dave Haslam, Eliot Rashman and New Order’s Stephen Morris are just a few of the well known names featuring in the British photographer’s acclaimed series.
- Jyni Ong
- 1 September 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
1997 was an historic time for the city of Manchester. It was a city alive with hope of a new kind of politics (Tony Blair had just come to power) and the music of Factory Records was experiencing wild success. It was also the year that British photographer, Amelia Troubridge, journeyed to the northern city on an assignment for Esquire magazine. Tasked with documenting the electric atmosphere alive with culture, she photographed some of the most influential figures in film and music scene.
Stars such as Tony Wilson, Shaun Ryder, Terry Christian, Dave Haslam, Eliot Rashman, Stephen Morris, Peter Hook all feature in her photography back then. And, following on from this, the acclaimed photographer was hired to work on the 2001 cult film 24 Hour Party People, directed by Michael Winterbottom. Now, the work has resurfaced in a new edition of Café Royal Books, the imprint dedicated to British documentary photography.
Amelia's Manchester series is just one small piece of a bigger puzzle that the photographer has been working on, focusing on communities she photographed during the 90s. “I wanted to start working on my archive properly,” she tells us, discussing the publication of the Café Royal Books release, “and create a calmer reflective space to begin this process last year.” In the mindset of “looking back to find ways to move forward,” the resurfacing of the near 30 year old photographs highlights the sense of community in the established photographer’s work. Back in February this year, she also published a photo book on Dublin.
Each photograph has its own individual importance to the photographer, in differing ways. A particular highlight however, is the striking black and white image of a woman pushing her four wheeled trolley with both hands outside Woolworths. “It reminds me of my mum on a bad day when I was a kid,” says Amelia. Filling a different kind of nostalgia, are the rave photographs – which have a distinct in-the-moment presence, capturing a specific expression or beat to the music that fills the room.
One image of the renowned British record label owner, Tony Wilson “in the rubble of The Hacienda” is an example of this. For Amelia, it’s these kinds of image that serve a reminder that “great moments come and go.” She says of her meeting with the man that 24 Hour Party People is based on: “We got on very well. He understood the work and narrative I was focused on back then.” Looking back on this time, Amelia reflects on how her practice has changed with the decades. At the turn of the millennium she started working on more commercial projects, the start of a long list of clients stretching from the likes of Google, Sony, HSBC, Penguin Books, Cancer Research, Jimmy Choo, MTV, Universal Records and Studio Canal; just to name a few.
She’s become “more grounded in [her] practice,” and with that, she started working with a Mamiya medium format and Pentax 67 camera, putting down her 35mm. Gradually, she developed her craft, learned how to work with a team on one hand and on the other, work on her own. “Lighting took time to understand,” she goes on. As Amelia became more established, she discerned what kind of lighting she wanted and incurred more time to set up and prepare for the image. “When you’re young and get these challenging assignments, you don’t really know what you’re going to do on the shoot. You have to really let go and trust the process.”
And continuing to trust her process, recently, Amelia has taken a U-turn back to her roots in the medium, social documentary. “Slow it down. Look at the world and being present in the time we are living in right now.” It’s with this attitude that she’s approaching this new chapter of her work. Hoping to carry on with the archive work in the future, she’s currently working on an edit of work from America in the 90s while preparing for a group show at Dellasposa Gallery in September. Finally she goes on to say: “Create honest work.” Though Amelia can always appreciate the beauty of the world through an image, sometimes, it’s the social importance that really shines through.
GalleryAmelia Troubridge: Manchester 1997-2001, (Copyright © Amelia Troubridge 2020)
Tony Wilson Where The Hacienda Once Stood
About the Author
Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.