“Manchester dominates my photography, I realise that now. And in some ways, this is my golden period.” – Richard Davis

Richard Davis’s Hulme Crescent shots are iconic. If you were lucky, you may have caught some of them at the British Culture Archive exhibition in Manchester last year. And you might still stumble across him shooting subjects old and new at his favoured Mancunian Way backdrop, charting the changing landscape in the faces of Hulme residents, then and now.

Davis’s work sprang from his Charles Barry Crescent flat at the height of the 1980s counterculture, taking in documentary around the notorious estate and portraiture at The Haçienda and The Boardwalk at the height of Madchester, as well as young football fans, an endangered breed, captured at creaking old stadia across the North West.

In January 2021, he made waves in the media after unearthing early shots of Nirvana playing their first UK shows. Now he follows up with his third book of northern social history, Football Fans, 1991, and so, exclusively for Northern Soul, here are some of the best images by Richard Davis.

Photo Gallery

  1. “Of all my Hulme photographs, this is probably the most well-known. For me, it forever reminds me of the route from the shop back to my flat in Charles Barry Crescent.”
  2. “Playgrounds in the Sky…Otterburn Close. We were all kids who refused to grow up really.”
  3. “I love portraiture, especially when I can return to people I’ve photographed decades before – in this case Kirsten, a good friend and Hulme resident.”
  4. “Wonderful to photograph Lemn Sissay as he went through his poems with Charles Barry Crescent as backdrop.”
  5. “Duncan Disorderly, who was an early version of Paul Calf. I photographed all of Steve’s early characters in my flat. He had me in stitches every time.”
  6. “Also in my flat, Sister Mary Immaculate. I could never look at nuns in the same way after this. Caroline is so badly missed.”
  7. “I loved the Green Room and I loved Henry Normal. I have lots of great memories of both. Henry was at the heart of everything that was good about Manchester’s comedy/poetry scene.”
  8. “The Bard of Salford…they say you shouldn’t meet your heroes. In this case I did.”
  9. “In October ‘89 the Polytechnic was the venue for Nirvana’s second ever UK gig. I was at side-of-stage with my camera…”
  10. “In 1991 I began photographing fans at north west football grounds.”
  11. “There’s something irresistible about photographing coppers. This was outside Boundary Park where there were more police than fans.”
  12. “Rotterdam, before the Man Utd v Barcelona European Cup Winners Cup Final in 1991. The Dutch Police had set up a Fan Park which involved lots of singing & lots of drinking, ideal to take photos in!
  13. Football Fans 1991 is available now from caferoyalbooks.com

Words by Danny Moran

Main image: Richard Davis by Danny Moran