Famous Manchester faces are leading a new campaign to help Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham’s homelessness initiative.
Sixteen well-known personalities from the city have posed for a startling set of portrait photographs as part of ‘The Great & The Good’ exhibition by Burnage-born former Vogue photographer David Oldham.
Recognisable characters like Happy Mondays’ Shaun Ryder, pop singer Badly Drawn Boy, Manchester City star Bernardo Silva, Coronation Street legend Julie Hesmondhalgh, Mancunian superstar DJs Luke Unabomber and Paulette, the city’s nighttime guru Sacha Lord, Maggie Oliver, the former policewoman who exposed the Rochdale sex abuse gang, Stone Roses bassist Mani, Shameless actor David Threlfall, President of the University of Manchester Dame Nancy Rothwell, former Olympian Diane Modahl, homeless champion and Skullfades boss Ged King, Architect Ian Simpson and former Chief executive of Manchester City Council Sir Howard Bernstein have joined Mayor Andy Burnham in giving their time and posing for the collection.
The exhibition, which took a month to shoot, is unveiled to the public in its entirety at an invite-only event organised by and staged at fivefourstudios in Salford on Friday November 1st , in partnership with Thomas Dakin Gin.
After the reveal, the images will be displayed for a week at fivefourstudios, the Salford-based photo-studio, creative and event space jointly-owned by exhibition photographer David Oldham and his sister Emma Stamp.
The images will then be sold off – via a silent auction which starts at the event and lasts for a week afterwards – to the highest bidder, with all proceeds going to Mayor Andy Burnham’s A Bed Every Night homeless initiative.
All the celebrities and personalities involved in the Great & The Good exhibition gave their time for free in order to raise as much as cash for A Bed Every Night as possible.
fivefourstudios co-owner Emma Stamp said: “The Great & The Good is a portrait sitting of a diverse group of people that are or have been important to the fabric of the city. Each portrait is completely individual with its own narrative.
“The aim has been to present each person as a character unlike any way they have been represented in the past, whether they be a rock star, a poet or a politician. But what’s most important is to use this collection of portraits to raise money for A Bed Every Night.”
Badly Drawn Boy, aka Bolton singer songwriter Damon Gough, is pictured out of his famous beanie hat for the very first time as part of the exhibition.
David Oldham, 51, said: “He was very nervous at first but, once he had relaxed, I managed to persuade him to lose the hat for the first time and climb into an adult-sized tiger-print onesie for the shot.”
Manchester City star Bernardo Silva posed on the roof terrace of his top floor penthouse overlooking the city for the shoot.
David said: “Bernardo was a real gent. I got him doing tricks and skills on his astroturfed roof terrace. Then he managed to balance this old official Portuguese football on his head. It was a single moment with a boyish look. I knew I’d got the image I wanted.”
David got an early-morning train to London to shoot Shameless star and Manchester-born actor David Threlfall near his home on the banks of the Thames in Hammersmith.
“It was very early morning and dawn had just broken, the light behind him was like a Turner painting and I captured a great shot on the banks of the Thames,” he explained.
The image of Ian Simpson, the architect who designed the city’s iconic Beetham Tower and lives in its highest apartment, is a real showstopper.
David said: “I wanted him in his apartment overlooking his city, surveying the streets below, from that inspirational viewpoint. But I also wanted some humour in the shot, so we had a bathrobe made up with his name on it and he agreed to wear it for the shoot.”
Stone Roses legend Mani, according to David, is an “adorable maniac”. “He runs on raw energy, you feel that as soon as you meet him. He only stood still for about 2 seconds during the whole shoot and I managed to capture that in this shot. I got one single frame and I believe it is a really poignant image.”
Shaun Ryder was a real challenge to capture but David has managed to capture an image that is destined to become iconic.
“We argued for ages about getting Shaun to take his jacket off. Eventually he did. I wanted a brooding, moody shot with menace and Shaun definitely delivered. It is very much inspired by Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now. You can tell he’s really lived his life from this shot,” David added.
Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, Sacha Lord, was captured during a session at fivefourstudios in Salford.
David said: “As Sacha is night time adviser for the city we both wanted something that represented that. We went for an ‘End of the Night’ theme and I love the shot we’ve captured – Sacha relaxing after everyone has left. It’s very iconic.
Sir Howard Bernstein is usually photographed shaking someone’s hand and in a suit at public events so the decision was made to concentrate on something much more unique to this statesman – his face.
David added: “I wanted to strip all the armour away and just show his face. What we’ve captured is a man who looks both powerful and enigmatic.”
Maggie Oliver is the former policewoman who exposed the Rochdale grooming gang.
David said: “I asked her how she felt. She said ‘like a warrior’. So we dressed her in this Boudica-style armoured outfit to represent that. She looks amazing.”
Renowned Manchester DJ Luke Unabomber tends to travel around on buses and carry his belongings in a plastic bag.
“I wanted to show a very different side of him.” Said David. “So I put him in a white tuxedo with a huge Cuban cigar – he owned the character absolutely and really took to it.”
And fellow Manc DJ Paulette is famed for her raw energy.
“She is great fun with a really great mouth and does this thing with her tongue. The image I captured has undertones of some of those 1980s images of Grace Jones and is so powerful.”
Julie Hesmondhalgh is famous for playing the first transgender character in a British serial – Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street.
“The perfect way to represent Julie and what she is renowned for was to dress her as the opposite sex. I asked her to sit there in no make-up except for a drawn-on moustache, and to sit and think like a man. She was brilliant and the image absolutely captures that.”
Ged King has risen to notoriety after his Skullfades barber shop started to offer free haircuts to homeless people on the streets of the city. He now works alongside Andy Burnham helping to raise the profile of the homelessness campaign and continues to cut the hair of the homeless.
David said: “He has a history and is a genuine champion of the homeless. There is a roughness there on the edges of a thoroughly generous and genuine guy and I wanted to bring that out with the texture and character in his face.”
Diane Modahl is an athletic icon and a huge advocate of women in the city.
“I wanted to picture her doing her thing in the streets of Manchester, looking every inch like a modern day Gotham with the iconic Refuge Building behind her – a modern day superhero.”
Dame Nancy Rothwell was photographed in her office at the University of Manchester.
David said: “Dame Nancy is a busy woman with big things to think about. I wanted to capture her in thought – a natural, uncontrived image. I’ve managed to get her during a quiet, reflective moment.”
And Mayor Andy Burnham is photographed in a rare relaxed moment.
“I wanted to represent Andy in slightly different manner to how he is normally seen, whilst still being respectful of his status, which I think we achieved. I think he looks like a movie star!” David said.