Meet the urban photographer capturing Manchester’s secret underground locations


Capturing the beauty and ugliness of Manchester’s secluded urban spaces is all in a day’s work for photographer Andrew Brooks.

He’s developed a reputation as one of the region’s foremost urban explorers. From rooftop views to underground canals, his work captures the forgotten spaces of Manchester. A darker side to the city that most people don’t realise exists.

“I wish there was more access to old buildings and points of historical interest here so people could see an alternative to the prescribed version of Manchester,” says Andrew. “There’s a whole hidden world out there for everyone to engage in.”

“Each location has its own challenges for getting good access. Nearly all of the time access is with permission. I work alongside writers and curators and we are always looking out for contacts who might be able to get us access to places that are interesting. Then we ask and try and be helpful to them for taking the time to let us in by letting them use the images or promoting what they are trying to do.”

There’s something mysterious about what lies beneath and finding Manchester’s secret underground locations is often all the inspiration he needs for many of his photographs.

Andrew has spent the last ten years creating a series of layered snapshots of imaginary worlds entitled New Worlds which have received critical acclaim.

Taking inspiration from paintings from the Romantic era, his composite photography builds form, depth and rhythm through hundreds of layers of photos to create re-imagined new views of the world.

His ability to find hidden locations around Manchester and create new worlds makes his talent extremely unique, but it’s his passion that makes them so compelling. 

A free exhibition at the Portico Library from 7-22 July 2017, part of the MANIFEST 2017 festival, will feature many of Andrew’s hidden spaces works.


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