Known for capturing street scenes around Manchester and Salford, Shirley Baker is one of the most preeminent British photographers of the post-war period, and now we're getting a chance to view largely unseen images that explore her depiction of older people.
Offering an intimate look at the daily life of working-class communities during the 1960s and up to the late 1970s, the juxtaposition between the half-demolished grim backgrounds and the subject matter, mostly children playing and often with a dash of humour, allow an empathetic engagement.
They'll be on view from 22 June until 24 July in a virtual exhibition by the James Hyman Gallery. Co-curated by Baker's daughter, Nan Levy, she says: "We are now starting to see the easing of the lockdown, and with that, we can begin to step outside, enjoy the sunshine and play sport. Sadly our elderly folk are still advised to stay safe at home; unable to see their loved ones or enjoy simple pleasures such as going to the park.
"I have gathered together a collection of Shirley's photographs taken from the mid-60s to the mid-80s; these show older people enjoying their daily lives in the community in a way that is not possible at the moment."
Shirley Baker, once writing of her motivations, expressed a world of street life that seems like a distant memory: "I love the immediacy of unposed, spontaneous photographs and the ability of the camera to capture the serious, the funny, the sublime and the ridiculous. Despite the many wonderful pictures of the great and famous, I feel that less formal; quotidian images can often convey more of the life and spirit of the time."