Mayfield Depot before MIF13: inside and unwrapped in 360°

Look around the panorama above to explore a series of four panoramic 360° views around Mayfield Depot. Click/tap the red hotspots to jump from viewpoint to viewpoint.

Every photographer has a wish-list of places they’d like to explore – there are quite a few in Manchester I’ve always been curious about for years – and Mayfield Depot has always been pretty close to the top for me.

So when this year’s Manchester International Festival announced Mayfield Depot was one of their headline venues, my excitement levels mounted. I’m delighted to be working on a series of 360° panoramas for MIF13, working again with Toasted Productions as we did during MIF11. As such, I finally got inside Mayfield Depot to capture it in all its decaying detail before it’s rigged out for gigs and exhibitions. Above is a panoramic tour of four views, below are unwrapped versions.

As these are now being featured on the MIF, Manchester Evening News and Guardian Culture websites I can share some previews of the interiors of Mayfield Depot, before its transformation for performances by Massive Attack v Adam Curtis and much more. Enjoy looking around one of the most evocative hidden spaces in Manchester…

Update: you can now see a before and after view of the set here, showing the Massive Attack vs Adam Curtis set build.

Large format print: a gigapixel view inside a studio at Islington Mill

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser.

A test piece, shot in Maurice Carlin’s studio in Islington Mill, comprising a 1.33 gigapixel, HDR panorama. My first attempt at a gigapixel HDR pano, using 721 x 24 megapixel photos.

Great for highlighting small detail (check out the plant growing on the inside of the window, amongst other features) but slow and challenging to work on, with some visual quality issues. Definitely a technique I’ll continue to progress…

Technical info: shot with Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon 50mm f1.4 lens, Nodal Ninja 5, Promote Remote Control. 7 bracketed exposures per image.

Inside Fūlbæchop, Bacup

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser. 

A view inside the ‘Chop… Rossendale’s best* record shop and another south Pennine gem. Established in 2012 by artist, DJ, musical encyclopaedia and all-round nice chap Michael Holland, Fūlbæchop is a unique and personal space: part studio, part exhibition area, part record shop. Its curious moniker comes from the Old English name for Bacup, and the shop itself reflects some of the historical and cultural influences on this part of the country, as well as Michael’s broad musical tastes and heritage. Obscure vinyl, limited fanzines and CDs sit cheek by jowl with hand-crafted artworks, firewood and textiles.

Bacup lies towards the top of Rossendale in Lancashire, almost at the head of the River Irwell which flows south to separate Manchester from Salford. It sits of the hinterland between urban and rural: a gateway to wild, raw and evocative moorland landscapes. Bacup’s sometimes described as the best preserved cotton mill town in England, and it has a faded, quirky character and an uneasy relationship with its industrial past: cotton mills and coal mining were the major employers until a couple of generations ago, and their loss has left a physical and psychological scar in the town’s fabric. It’s also left a rich legacy of beautiful buildings, interesting customs and a proud sense of identity.

Fulbaechop flyers

So perhaps it makes sense for a local lad to return to his roots and set up shop here, tapping into the past and trying to create something sustainable and innovative for the future. If Fulbaechop existed in a city, it’d be full of trendy trainspotters, earnest eccentrics and cool creatives; digging through crates, sharing stories and planning collaborations. In Bacup, it’s a hidden gem, adding a welcome splash of cosmopolitan outlook and progressive inspiration. Michael’s a one-man ideas factory, bubbling with enthusiasm and pride in his local area, and keen to share his diverse knowledge of music, and showcase his own and other artist’s work.

There’s not much passing trade on Yorkshire Street, but hopefully seeing Fulbaechop in 360° will pique some people’s interest and inspire them to take a trip across the hills from Calderdale, or on a short trip from Manchester and beyond. Well worth a visit in person, or online… chop chop!

*well, only record shop… but it’s a cracker

Maurice Carlin at Castlefield Gallery

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser. 

Having previously documented several exhibitions at Salford’s Islington Mill, we were commissioned to capture Maurice Carlin’s excellent solo exhibition ‘First… Next… Then… Finally’, which ran at the acclaimed Castlefield Gallery in Manchester.

The variations in light, detail and texture was both a challenge and an opportunity to capture realistically: so we shot the exhibition with a range of high dynamic range techniques to capture the exhibition in as natural and balanced a manner as possible. Using 360° panoramic photography allows the viewer to enjoy the scale, relation and context of the pieces in situ.

A range of detailed still photographs of artworks featured in the exhibition can also be seen below. These have featured in a range of publications including Frieze Magazine.

[Edit: you can now also view an ultra high resolution gigapixel panorama of Maurice’s workshop here]

Here is some background about Maurice and the exhibition, reproduced from the Castlefield gallery press release.

After completing an art foundation course in 2007, Carlin actively stepped out of the formal education system by co-founding Islington Mill Art Academy, a peer-led experiment into alternative forms of artist education, recently featured in Frieze, A N and Corridor 8 magazines. Respectively Carlin’s practice has developed from a unique context within the vibrant independent art and music scenes in Manchester.

“I often site the production of my work in the public domain, which becomes for me a form of ‘publishing’, drawing attention to the underneath and overlooked elements within the day to day world that largely go unnoticed. My practice explores spaces of transition, a stage where one thing has yet to become another. ‘Crisis’ as described by the writer Umberto Eco[1] is a productive “moment of transition in which something that held before doesn’t hold any longer and there is not yet something new”.

Major works in the exhibition will include Corrupted Images – analogue relief prints of surfaces referencing the first print/publishing techniques developed in ancient China – produced on a busy high street in Manchester which served as a temporary studio. Blue (Sleep Mode) a collaboration with renowned artist David Medalla, depicts Medalla wandering through the streets of Salford at night with a mobile projector, illuminating details of the walls and surfaces of the city. In Screenscans, glitch snippets of television programmes are collected on a handheld digital document scanner. These captured moments of day to day broadcasting are outputted as large, filmic, storyboard like prints, both suggesting and distorting narratives.

Carlin’s work has a beguiling simplicity and directness, often belying a complex web of ideas, explored through a variety of media and approaches. An openness to the possibilities within an arts practice is evident in his work, something almost certainly arising from the independence and freedom of a non University education.

Valley of Lights parade finale, Hebden Bridge

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser.
Click here to view a fullscreen version for some mobile devices. 

After the excitement and spectacle of Todmorden’s Valley of Lights celebration on Saturday, expectations were running high for the Hebden Bridge leg. Swapping the rain for a clear, frosty moonlit night, the town shivered with cold and the thrill of anticipation.

Handmade Parade invited me to come and take some panoramic photos, so I was lucky enough to get a grandstand view of the finale at Old Gate, right across the river. We watched as the lantern parade culminated in the participants lining the riverbanks, waiting expectantly. Performers filed over the old bridge, heralding the start of the finale performance, and then we were treated to an hour of stunning dance, theatre, puppetry, drama and pyrotechnics.

The atmosphere in the crowd was electric, fuelled by the eye-catching performances (from the highly talented local Handmade Parade and FlameOz crews). As I’d sat behind the fire sculptures at Tod, it was great to get an audience-eye view of the main show. Two fire dancers started the finale, marching over the bridge and twirlingFirst watching the tableau depicting the rainclouds gathering over the valley’s characteristic landmarks… cottages, mills and even Stoodley Pike. As the rainclouds encircled the valley, a huge furious paper dragon came down Old Gate, wrapping itself around the players; then shadow puppeteers evoked the enveloping wall of water which the flooding brought to the valley. Stellar fire performances from FlameOz gripped the audience, while a fiery sculpture of the dragon glowered in the gloom behind. This ramped up the excitement further, before a wall of pyrotechnics lit up the length of the river and bought the event to a close. Epic stuff…

If you click the image at the top of the page you’ll be able to view three different 360° panoramas, shot from a pole above the crowds. They show different stages in the show; from the lantern landmarks, to the fire sculpture, and the pyrotechnic fountains at the finale. And if you pan around you’ll see the crowd agog and enrapt, and may even spot some wide-eyed children looking from the first floor window of the cottage behind us.

After that we moved to the car park to see the 200 LED-strewn riders on the Night Light Bike Ride as they streamed in for a quick break before moving onto Mytholmroyd, before heading down to the canalside for food, drink and craft stalls at the Night Market & Canal Boat Flotilla. A hot cider from the Real Cider Company, and a Porcus sausage barm did wonders to restore circulation after several hours in subzero temperatures.

It was great family night out, and felt like a resounding success. It shows that, despite adversity and hardship, local talent and enthusiasm is enough for a community to tease out a silver lining from dark storm clouds here in the Pennines!

A flaming fire finale to Hebden Bridge's leg of Valley of Lights, Nov 2012