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Don’t make me get old skool

I like to tell people I come from Birmingham even though I don’t really.

I grew up in a sleepy town in Devon, mostly known to people around the country because it has a motorway service station that they remember stopping at for a MacDonalds on their way down to a seaside holiday.

Having said that, I was born here and lived here until I was 4 before my parents were lured down to Devon by the thoughts of clotted cream ice cream and seagulls.

Growing up, my Dad remained a loyal West Brom fan and despite the 7-8 hour round trip, we would drive up together, season ticket in hand to watch them scrap-out nil-nil draws in the Rainbow Paddock to cheer on the Baggies. My experiences of Birmingham were those happy Saturdays in the car, knowing we were nearly there when we could see the factories, high-rises and then the BT tower sprawling out ahead of us. (If I’m honest, I’d get most excited when we reached Frankley Services but I’ve been told this ruins the nostalgia).

I came back to Birmingham for University and couldn’t have been prouder to live in the city where my parents had grown up and where I could enjoy cheap pints and nights out at, erm…The Dome.

Fast forward to now and think how happy I am when I find out about the instagram account of BRUMPIC. An account full of old pictures of Birmingham dating from between 1880s to the (fairly) present day. Now I find this interesting on two fronts: one, that its always interesting to look back on somewhere you know well and see what it used to look like; and two, (following on from my last post about documentary photography on Grime music) that documentary photography, in its many guises, is brilliant for capturing the everyday. The everyday is the almost see-through things we take for granted that you only notice once someone points them out or once they’re threatened to be removed. And these BRUMPIC photographs capture both of these aspects brilliantly.

newhall street

Looking towards where GRIN HQ is today.

bullring cafe


new street 1890

For more of BRUMPIC there is twitter an instagram and for more on the everyday there’s Joe Moran.