Liverpool Photography: The Beatles, the Waterfront and Churches
By Mike Chesworth – subscribe to Mike’s YouTube channel
When most people think of cities to photograph in the UK, they focus on places like London, Edinburgh and Manchester.
I want to write about Liverpool, a city I love and a great place to photograph.
Photographing the Home of the Beatles
When you think about Liverpool, the first things that come to mind are either The Beatles or the local football clubs. But there is much more to see, like Mathew Street for example.
Yes, Mathew Street is the spiritual home of The Beatles, and The Cavern Club where The Beatles first played in 1961. The Cavern also hosted shows by The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Elton John, Black Sabbath, Queen and The Who.
One of the world’s most famous music clubs
Aside from that, the area is a wonderful place for capturing Liverpool life. It’s made up of small streets and alleyways, just off the main shopping street of Lord Street, and is only five minutes away from Lime Street Station. This makes it very accessible for a quick photography trip.
Cilla Black, everyone’s sweetheart on Mathew Street
Look for the entrance to the Cavern Club and the statues of John Lennon and Cilla Black.
It can get quite busy in the afternoons and evenings and is often frequented by tourists wanting to get their snapshot with the iconic statues.
If you want to get a clear shot of the street, then it’s best to visit early in the morning. If you are into street photography or want to capture the hustle and bustle of daily life, then later in the day is the time for you.
Mathew Street on a typical rainy day in Liverpool
Photographing Liverpool’s Iconic Waterfront
If you asked anybody to name a famous landmark in Liverpool, I bet the top of the list would be the Royal Liverpool Building which is home of the mascot of Liverpool, the Liver Birds.
This building is one of three buildings known as the Three Graces, with the neighbouring Cunard and the Port of Liverpool Buildings. If you want to capture the Three Graces in the best light, I recommend jumping on the ferry across the Mersey at the nearby ferry terminal, and getting off at Seacombe. In this location you’ll find a full view of the Liverpool skyline.
The Beatles, minus Ringo with the Royal Liverpool Building
Beatles on Liverpool’s Waterfront Too
If you stay on the waterfront, then check out the iconic Beatles statue between The Museum of Liverpool and the Mersey Ferry Terminal.
If you want it to yourself, visit early in the morning. On a clear day you also get the bonus of the sun coming up behind the statue and the Three Graces.
There is also the Museum of Liverpool, definitely a place to go if you like your urban or architecture photography.
The Three Graces, lit up for photographers
Photograph Reflections of the Local Docks
If you’re looking for reflections head to the docks, with the most popular being the Albert and Canning Docks. Shoot reflections of the local buildings from the Princes Dock, which can be found on the other side of the Three Graces.
This area becomes a totally different place when darkness falls and the buildings light up, casting shimmering reflections over the water.
The Churches of Liverpool
If you decide to venture out of the centre, then the place to visit is Hope Street, which is home to two of the most recognizable churches in the world, The Metropolitan Church of Christ the King and the Liverpool Church of Christ.
They have contrasting styles from the modern Metropolitan Church at one end of the street, and the historic Anglican Church at the other with its wonderful ceilings and Tower.
Visit the Metropolitan aka the Rocket or Wigwam Church
The Metropolitan church is known locally as the Rocket or the Wigwam due to its distinctive shape. This church is a very special place inside, with its unique lighting, but can be challenging place to shoot. It may require the use of high ISO or a tripod. Be sure to ask permission if you wish to use a tripod.
It looks spectacular when lit up in the evening. Don’t forget to nip round the back of the church for a clear panoramic view.
Photograph the More Traditional Liverpool Church of Christ
The Anglican Church is a totally different proposition with its wonderful architecture and high vaulted ceilings. Some of the best shots to be captured are above your head so don’t forget to look up.
There is also an opportunity to visit the top of the tower for a small fee, which gives you a wonderful view of the city.
This is another place that can be dark, and challenging to photograph, so will may require a tripod.
It can also get very busy so might be difficult to photograph. Be sure to arrive early for the best opportunities to get a clear shot. And why not leave a donation when you visit, to help keep them open for us to visit.
Liverpool Anglican Cathedral
Photographing the Bombed-Out Church
Just down the road from the Anglican Cathedral is St Luke’s Church or the bombed-out church as it’s known locally. This church was damaged when struck by bombs in 1941 at the height of the Second World War. Today, it’s a roofless shell that stands as a memorial to those who died in the war.
If you stand in the right place, you can capture some of the Liverpool skyline though its iconic window frames.
The Baltic Triangle and Chinatown
The Baltic Triangle is a unique place to visit and shoot. When you first walk into the area, it looks like any other industrial area, but it’s the hidden gems that really take you.
This was the factory and workshop heart of Liverpool dating back to the 1800’s and has been transformed into a cultural and creative part of the City.
The places to photograph in the Baltic Triangle are:
- The famous Paul Curtis Artworks, which you may have seen a few times on Instagram
- The bustling Cains Brewery complex
- The Red Brick Market which is Liverpool’s answer to Camden Market in London
Visiting Chinatown? Go when you’re hungry!
Photograph Liverpool’s Chinatown at Night
Just up the road from The Baltic Triangle is Chinatown, which is home to the Great Arch forming the entrance. This part of Liverpool really comes to life in the evening, with its many busy restaurants. It’s the ideal neighbourhood for street photography.
Other Liverpool Photography Locations
I could go about the other places to shoot in and around Liverpool.
If you have time, be sure to visit:
- Iconic Beatles locations such as Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields
- The local football grounds, Goodison Park and Anfield
- Visit Crosby for the famous Anthony Gormley installation “Another Place”
- The Red Squirrels at Formby
Just a tip, there is an open top bus service called The City Explorer that runs in front of the Cunard Building that allows you to jump on and off at the iconic places in Liverpool for a reasonable fee. It’s great for visiting those places without the hassle of getting lost!
If you venturing further afield use the local train. Get a Saveaway for unlimited off-peak travel on local trains and buses across the whole of Merseyside for just over a fiver. Definitely a bargain.
I hope this gives you an insight in to a city that is my favourite place to visit and an alternative to some of the other towns and cities in the UK. Enjoy your visit!
Mike Chesworth is a photographer and filmmaker based in the northwest of the UK. He shoots in and around Liverpool, looking for fresh perspectives on areas that haven’t been covered.
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