Deviant since May 23, 2008 | Premium Member until Jun 23, 2014
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I can remember the docks when I was a really young boy, an awe inspiring sight. Liverpool was once one of the largest ports in the world. We used to travel down the dock road every time we went into town; mile upon mile of docks. At five o'clock men in their thousands would come pouring out. I can remember a great sea of bicycles being ridden down the street. By the time I got to Art College the world had changed and an era had come to an end. Much of Liverpool's dockland lay empty and derelict. As a photography student it's where I found my greatest inspiration and the place I spent much of my time wandering around the empty warehouses photographing the decay. Earlier this year I had cause to drive down that dock road again on some business and to my surprise I found great expanses of dockland still lying derelict. I had imagined that all the dockland had been developed long ago. Photographic opportunities are not what they used to be with the emphasis these days on health and safety, it's not possible to wander freely around derelict sites like it used to be. The docklands are well and truly walled up and all gates are locked. I spent some time looking for a way in and eventually gained access through a warehouse that backed on to the docks. It was raining so I didn't go far, just far enough to ascertain that it really did give access to the docks and resolved to return again next time I was in the area. I got my opportunity this Christmas and it didn't disappoint. I gained access as before walking through the warehouse, nobody seemed to pay me any heed. I decided to travel light and just take my Leica. Once on the other side the docks stretched before me. It was one of those late December days where it barely seems to get light. There wasn't a breath of wind and mist hung over the river Mersey. I didn't get to start till about one but I had a magical couple of hours photographing the docks in the fading light. The atmosphere was incredible, totally alone and absolute silence. The docks were frozen from the cold spell we were having and everything was completely still, it was really quite eerie. I couldn't believe that I was back here photographing as I had when I was a student 30 years before. I couldn't recognise anything it all looked so different but as I was taking a picture of a capstan I suddenly had a flash back to an earlier time taking a very similar picture of a capstan. Could this be the same one? I couldn't remember it all looked so unfamiliar. It was so other worldly walking around this huge expanse and not another soul in sight. I was a little apprehensive that the warehouse I had gained access through may close up and I would be left with no way out. I don't believe in ghosts but this was not a place I would relish spending the night. By the time I got back to the warehouse it was dark and I slipped through unnoticed back to the car with a couple of exposed rolls of film and some great memories.