It seems strange re-evaluating a book that was released just over 4 months ago, but some recent introspection started thinking about my most recent release “Sharrow Vale and the Antiques Quarter”. 

4 months after its release things have changed dramatically in the world, to the extent that the work in the book could not be made now.  Moving forward it is increasingly hard to imagine when, maybe if, work like this (Street photography) will ever be made with the same energy and abandon as before.  Currently life on the street is different and it will be interesting to see if it ever returns to “normal”. 

This book documented two changing communities in Sheffield and I hoped that one day it would serve as a reminder to a point in history. I did not intend the work to be a commentary on any particular subject, It wasn’t particularly focussing on gentrification or the changes in community, but purely documenting the areas as they were at that point in time. Celebrating the places without lamenting about the past or considering the future, obviously the subjects within the photographs may be read as such by the viewer.  It could be said that there is an air of nostalgia within the work, but this is really just a reflection of the communities at that time, which was in the midst of brexit and a general election. 

When the book launched in November I did not expect the historical context of the book to apply so soon. The images are now so far removed from our daily normality that one can almost cut through the feelings of nostalgia, looking back at a time when you could walk through a busy market or enjoy a drink at the pub with friends. 

Maybe things will eventually go back to normal and I can go back to waiting for the book to become part of the documented history of the city. In many ways I hope it does, I don’t want to look back at this book with sadness, with the fallout of the pandemic on society and the economy, it unfortunately might be a reality.

Sharrowvale and the Antiques Quarter is published by the History Press and available here

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