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Shirley Baker: Airport ’87

A poignant look back at at Manchester Airport as seen through the lens of acclaimed photographer Shirley Baker, thirty years ago, having spent a day at the airport in 1987 capturing the experiences of passengers using the airport. The exhibition includes photos chosen by the public and Manchester Airport staff.  As well as capturing various areas of the airport, Baker’s photographs also show how people passed the time before a flight by playing cards and board games – a far cry from smart phones, tablets and kindles!  The style of passengers is also brought into focus with big hair and plenty of shell suits on show.

Born in Salford, Baker was famed for her street photography of working class inner-city areas. The photos of Manchester Airport were discovered in the archives at Central Library. They explore work created after Shirley Baker was approached by the Documentary Photography Archive (DPA), who were seeking to commission photographers to grow their collection of contemporary work.

It marks three decades since the photos were taken and visitors will also get to see what the next 30 years at Manchester Airport will look like.The airport’s famous chandeliers that used to hang in Terminal 1 also make an appearance, along with people smoking indoors and purchasing Cinzano in duty free!

The exhibition comes as the airport is embarking on its £1bn investment programme that will transform the passenger experience.  As part of the exhibition a number of old photos have been blended with CGIs of how the new terminal building will look in its place.  Visitors will also be able to find out more about the developments that will see Terminal 2 more than double in size.

All the images are held by the Archives+ Centre at Central Library and the full commission can be viewed at www.flickr.com/gp/manchesterarchiveplus/n964Z4

This exhibition is kindly supported by Manchester Airport