How images of life in Blackburn's Bank Top earned global attention

Video report by Tim Scott.


They say every picture tells a story - and for one Wirral photographer, his series of images of life in Blackburn's Bank Top certainly tell a different side not often portrayed.

Craig Easton is the recipient of one of the most prestigious photography prizes in the world, winning the Sony Award photographer of the year after spending over a year with the community.

Children play in the street Credit: Craig Easton

What this award brings is an opportunity to tell Blackburns stories on a global stage. Right now documentary photography is absolutely critical we're coming out of a pandemic and we're coming out of Brexit and the changes in society in the next 5 or 6 years are going to be astronomical and someone needs to be there to record it, and I kind of think, that's what my job is.

Craig Easton

Craig had been invited to photograph Bank Top as part of the Kick Down Barriers initiative started by Blackburn museum, who wanted to redress the balance after a TV documentary had labelled the town the most racially divided in the country.

"We all wanted to see if we could tell that different story, and tell it from the point of view of Blackburn from communities that thrive together and are not segregated at all," he said.

Mohammed Afzal, an abattoir worker and pigeon keeper Credit: Craig Easton

The photographs were taken on and old box 1950s camera that Craig says takes 'an age' to set up. He worked with Blackburn writer and social researcher Abdul Hafiz collaborated with Craig for the photographs' first exhibition.

There are plans for the photo's Bank Top to eventually go on tour. See the full series here.