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Retail – at the heart of Leeds

Leeds – a shopper’s paradise

Leeds is a compact city built, from its beginnings, around commerce and retail. The focus on retail and fashion became even more pronounced after the global financial crisis of 2007-8. With every city, every town, talking about the end of the ‘high street’, Leeds went ahead with developments to enhance the shopping experience it offered.

Trinity Leeds is a huge covered shopping mall embracing several arcades and walkways and tying together the city centre. When it opened (on or alongside Briggate) it was the only such massive commercial development in Europe. The Arts@Trinity arts centre in the Holy Trinity church, Boar Lane mounted an exhibition using the Trinity Leeds strapline (“Your Retail Soulmate“) featuring seven photographers/artists, including me.

Twelve of my Instagram photos displayed on the pews of the church
I also constructed two stained glass windows from my Instagram photos

My imagination feeds off encounters on crowded streets. But I do like to be surrounded by trees, too. One my earliest ambitions was to be a conservationist. For almost eight years (2007–2015) I made almost daily excursions into nature with two women, Ann (1954-2012) and Sara (1956-2015), who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Both wanted to get outdoors and into nature just as often as they could.

Trouble was … I was like a dog on a lead. I could hardly wander off and leave them to their own devices. When Sara died I determined to take my camera out into nature just as often as I could…

My most recent exhibition arose out of the habit I developed while spending every evening with Sara, returning home to take a walk around Headingley around midnight. Nightwalking is a deeply rewarding activity.

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