Shirley Baker: Street


    Shirley Baker was one of the only women practising street photography in Britain during the post-war era: a compassionate humanist photographer and teller of stories that make visible the spectrum of man's resilience.

    Baker's photographs capture dailyl life on the streets of inner-city areas of Manchester, including Hulme and Salford. The most famous works show children and women outside their homes and in the surrounding streets or against a backdrop of dilapidated buildings and building sites. At times they echo the French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004), the American photographer Helen Levitt (1913-2009), and the Swiss-American photographer Robert Frank (1924-2019).

    Shirley Baker, wrote of her motivations: "I love the immediacy of unposed, spontaneous photographs and the ability of the camera to capture the serious, the funny, the sublime and the ridiculous. Despite the many wonderful pictures of the great and famous. I feel that less formal, quotidian images can often convey more of the life and spirit of the time."


    Several photographs by Shirley Baker, from the collection of Tate Britain, were on show in their display After Industry: Communities in Northen England 1960s-80s (13 Dec 2021-July 2022) and her work was also included in the Barbican Art Gallery Exhibition Postward Modern: New Art in Britain, 1945-65 (3 Mar-26 June 2022)