As I am a Belfast Photographer the majority of my work occurs in the Belfast area. Geographically and financially it makes sense for companies working in Belfast to hire some one from Belfast. Costs are kept to a minimum and hiring local means you gain local knowledge of that particular business environment. That being said there are some times when hiring a local photographer just doesn’t work. Farrans Construction is based in Belfast but have active projects all over the UK. One such project is situated in the Port Of Liverpool. Farrans (along with other companies) are widening a crucial access point into the port so wider ships can move in and out to load and unload cargo. At the same time crucial sewerage and electrical lines are having to be diverted at the same time.
My task was to photograph the project at its mid point. It would be too late to photograph the project at the end and there would be nothing at the start for me to photograph. The photographs that I would take for Farrans Construction when over at Liverpool would be used in the company brochure and online to show clients their current projects.
I was really excited about this project. This would be my first proper corporate shoot outside Northern Ireland as a professional photographer. Farrans did look at getting a local Liverpool photographer but decided that I would be a better fit as I have been working with the company for several years. They know my style and it fits with what they want and need.
I booked the flights very last minute, two days before I was due to arrive in Liverpool. I got the flight confirmation via EasyJet on the 7th and on the 9th I was flying out from Belfast International. Until know I’d never taken my camera gear on a plane to say I was a little bit apprehensive would have been an understatement. I checked the bag measurements and weights over and over just to make sure. One thing I was sure of was that security at the airport would not like all of my gear going through the x-ray scanners. Sure enough, everything out of the bag!
One other thing that I was worrying about was that my main bag wouldn’t fit in the over head lockers in the plane. I can happily report that the Lowepro ProRunner 300AW loaded with around 80% gear fits fine! Touched down in Liverpool in less than 40 minutes after leaving Belfast. Next task was to get to the port. After a £25 taxi ride I had arrived. I gave Ryan, my contact a ring and he picked me up from the Taxi. The first thing Ryan had to do was to give me a safety brief and get me some safety gear. I did find it bizzare that there was an actual horse shoe by the door of the main office. I didn’t think construction workers were superstitious!? Either way I was grateful that Farrans Construction took safety seriously.
The first thing Ryan asked me was would I like to go up in a cage. 40ft up in a cage, hence the harness. Being right out on the edge of the port we were exposed to the wind. So when we were hoisted up in to the air the cage was swinging around all over the place. Great banter! On a non construction note, Liverpool has 4G mobile coverage! Amazing. It hasn’t made it to Belfast yet but I hope it arrives soon.
I spent an hour dandering around the site shooting as much as I could see so the guys back at HQ would have a good selection of images to choose from. After spending time on the ground it was time to get up high, properly high. We gained access to the grain silo beside the sight. I have never been in such a large and long building. I shot the first image below as we walked from one end to the other. I was pretty amazed that even in somewhere as ugly as a port I could find some interesting subjects, check out the shipping containers in the third image.
Part of the reason for me going to Liverpool was to photograph an old submerged gate being removed in pieces. A huge crane boat called the Lara 2 was drafted in to help remove it along with the help of an explosives team and commercial divers. However the team didn’t account for Great British engineering. Even though the divers placed the cemtex explosives exactly where they needed to they couldn’t break the submerged gate apart! The whole reason for me going over was now stalled and I couldn’t get the shots they really wanted. You can plan for every eventuality but sometimes things aren’t supposed to happen!
Check out the small gallery below of some of the more interesting images i captured during my time at the Port Of Liverpool.