I had the pleasure of joining the amazing people from IgersBirmingham and the Ikon Gallery for a Janet Mendelsohn inspired meet in Balsall Heath. With the aim of showing Balsall Heath today and how things have changed in the near 50 years since Mendelsohn's original 'photo-essay' of the area, the day would see us explore some of the highlights of Balsall Heath.
Starting at the endlessly interesting Old Print Works, we had an inspiring introduction to Mendelsohn's works and a brief insight into Balsall Heath's past. Groups of around twenty took turns to explore the Moseley Road Swimming Baths - a beautiful Victorian building kept mainly in it's original splendor with a rare opportunity to explore many areas that would normally be closed off to the public.
After exploring the baths, we had an interesting route to follow around Ballsall Heath taking in the area and a chance explore the rich mixture of cultures living side-by-side. This was where I had promised to challenge myself and to delve head first into the world of 'Street Photography'. The challenge would be to approach interesting subjects and witness everyday life in the area to immerse myself in the culture of Balsall Heath.
This is certainly different to my normal style of photography, I was well and truly outside of my comfort zone. However, very much like the area I was exploring, my initial reservations were soon replaced by the sheer excitement of exploring new areas and challenges. It is fair to say that I barely scratched the surface of Balsall Heath . However, I think Mendelsohn would be pleasantly surprised by the modern day area and it's inhabitants.
Thanks goes to Fraser and the team at IgersBirmingham, Emily Luxford from the Ikon Gallery, Ian Francis from Flatpack Projects and all that helped organise a very enjoyable day.