Thomas Blower is a documentary photographer from Manchester, UK. Thomas captured inner city Manchester in the 1970s-80s and still continues to document the city today. Thomas’s work is currently displayed as part of the exhibition ‘Use Hearing protection:the early years of Factory Records’ at Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum.
Thomas – “I was born and raised in the Manchester area and lived in a two up two down terraced house in Fildes street in Failsworth, a short street of four ‘workers’ houses with the entrance to Ferranti, the electrical engineering factory, at the end. Every house had net curtains and the steps and window ledges were mopped and stoned regularly! These were the times of gas-lit streets and knocker uppers, and where any older person was an auntie or an uncle. My father worked at Carborundum in Trafford Park as a labourer and my mother worked in the local mill (the Argyle) as a ‘piecer upper’. I worked as a sorter in the returns department of Dannimac the local clothing manufacturer.”
“I fell in love with photography in my teens, which was in the mid sixties when photography was becoming popular and trendy, with people like David Bailey and Terence Donovan becoming the new pop stars of the art. As a youth I always fantasised about owning a Rolleiflex, like ‘Bailey’, but could never afford it. I bought my first camera, a Yasica Minister 11 rangefinder and just took pictures of anything that took my fancy. Later, In the 70s, I upgraded to a Canon AE1 and took photos of the demolition sites around Ancoats in Manchester, open air reggae concerts in Moss side, and political demos in Manchester and London. These days I do mostly street photography and use both film and digital. I have also realised my 60s dream of buying a Rolleiflex!”