This week I took delivery of a great book by Sirkka Liissa Konttinen entitled "Byker Revisited", this is a follow up of her legendary "Byker" book and is well worth a look especially if you are not familiar with her work.
Sirkka is originally from Finland and became known for her work documenting the reshaping of a community in the East end of Newcastle upon Tyne in the 1970's. She lived in this working class community, and went on to create a series of images that does more than record and document how this place looked before demolition. These images contain a narrative of life and warmly records the lives of the people who inhabited these terraced streets that eventually gave way to the Byker Wall, a experimental housing project that still stands today.
Byker Revisited depicts the new population of Byker which includes a true reflection of English Society that could represent many northern towns and cities. These colour images contrast greatly with the original black and white images that have remained in my memory for years. I lived in the neighbouring district of Walker during the 1970's and have first hand memories of many of the views and people in this book, the images from the original project have aged well and seem even better with the passage of time.
Those of you who think that this is little more than a plug for a Documentary photography book should think again as much of this work might of started out as Documentary photography but in my opinion should be viewed as Art Photography. This work is relevant to Street Photographers today, the "Girl On A Spacehopper" picture is a street photography masterpiece !
My exposure to the original Byker project in my early teens is partly responsible for my passion for Street Photography today , it helped me realise that everyday life is the most powerful subject for photography, especially when viewed with an emotional connection.
Sirkka Liisa Konttinen is a founder member of Amber Associates who still run The Side Gallery which is just off Newcastle's Quayside..
Keep it real, check out the work of of Sirkka Liisa Konttinen..