12 photos of the ghost streets of 1960s Birmingham
In 1968, American photographers Janet Mendelsohn and Richard P. Rogers documented the suburbs of Birmingham, fraught with poverty and poor housing conditions.
Their photographs are currently being exhibited as part of the Flatpack Film Festival.
In the late 1960s, American filmmaker and photographer Janet Mendelsohn spent several months documenting the everyday life of Balsall Heath, as part of her studies at the University of Birmingham.
These images are a vivid record of the community in flux, with many of the streets depicted were demolished soon afterwards. The pictures explore a social housing crisis, poverty, migration and the experience of childhood in the area.
While Janet Mendelsohn was discovering Balsall Heath, her then partner Richard P Rogers was following young Birmingham artist Frank Cook and photographing the city
Rogers’ images, showing in Birmingham for the first time since they were taken fifty years ago, offer a panorama of the city at a time of disorienting change. The photographs cover everything from slum clearances and traveller camps to the Midlands Arts Centre in its early years.
Accompanying the photographs are Cook’s reflections from the time on his journey from the Ladywood back-to-backs to a studio at MAC and on to art-school in London. Cook’s recollections of these very different worlds, documented by Rogers, are part of a conversation about social mobility and the arts which continues today.
Here’s 12 photos of Birmingham’s ghost streets in the 1960s:
The exhibition of Rogers’ photographs, Frank Cook and the Birmingham Scene, is at MAC Birmingham until the 22nd April, 2018 as part of the Flatpack Film Festival. Ghost Streets of Balsall Heath is on at the Ort gallery, Birmingham, until 28 April as part of the Flatpack Film Festival.