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England, 2014

MANCHESTER | DERBYSHIRE | OXFORD

“DIRTY OLD TOWN”

Ewan MacColl hit the nail on the head when he used “Dirty old town” to describe Manchester (but in the most loving and, now, nostalgic of ways).

Manchester, England is my second-favorite city on earth. Who couldn’t love a city that is so terribly beautiful yet so wonderfully rough around the edges? It’s a city of hard workers, toiling all day and looking forward to that evening pint, and creatives obsessing over unfinished projects and constantly working toward bettering themselves.

Manchester shares a similar story with my hometown Detroit. It’s one of great progress, industry, and growth, all to meet a quick and not-so-painless decay and depreciation. Citizens of both cities have a feverish love for their cities and have labored to re-invent them.

But Manchester rose from the ashes and re-built itself (successfully) as early as the 1980s, while Detroit took its time and continues grow and evolve. Today, Manchester’s economy thrives on food, drink, education, and sports tourism.

We think of Detroit as the motor-city, the manufacturing city. But historically, Manchester was the world’s first industrialized city. Its people are some of the most hard-working no-nonsense people I’ve ever met, and I feel proud to call some of them my friends.

I lived in Manchester from 2011-2012, for precisely 14 months. I’d longed to return to the “dirty old town” that I’d grown so fond of, and, in November of 2014, nearly on a whim, I returned. Visiting old friends and mentors, I split my time between the farm and the city and snapped some shots along the way.

 

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