Shirley Baker’s Half Century of Street Photography

The English photographer’s archive contains unheralded images that capture “the great madness and oddness of this life.”

In Shirley Baker’s photographs, men are caught gesturing, or mid-stride. Women slip past or sit, reflecting; sometimes they are close together, conversing, conspiring. Children play, occasionally surveying the camera with a look somewhere between innocence and wisdom. Older people look into the lens with an almost comic stoicism, their years and routines readable on their faces: cigarette-wrinkled lips; helmet-like hair that, through years of repetition, has grown into a distorted, heightened version of what it once was. In some images, people are staring, not always at Baker but at some unfurling scene—parents look at their children, beachgoers survey other holidaymakers, shoppers regard new wares.

'Women, Children and Loitering Men': A Glimpse at Manchester's Slums in the 1960s - Feature Shoot

The streets of the Manchester slums, in which children played on concrete roads and their parents watched as terraced homes were razed to the ground in favor of new developments, became in the 1960s and two decades following like a home away from home for

The streets of the Manchester slums, in which children played on concrete roads and their parents watched as terraced homes were razed to the ground in favor of new developments, became in the 1960s and two decades following like a home away from home for British street photographer Shirley Baker (1932-2014), whose middle class family owned a furniture store in Salford.