‘Manchester is living, breathing outdoor studio with 1,000 models’: Mysterious Mancorialist reveals love for the city

By David Aspinall

If it wasn’t plastered across newspapers and magazines, or talked about mercilessly on fashion blogs then you might be forgiven for not thinking Vogue’s Fashion Night Out was kind of a big deal.

Events were held throughout the city centre’s landmark retailers last Thursday night with visits from Henry Holland, Jameela Jamil and many more.

One participator was Manchester’s own mysterious Mancorialist, who worked with high street brand GAP to photograph customers receiving style advice on the night.

Following on from the successful evening MM caught up with the serial snapper to discuss a whirlwind year.

And what a year it has been!

Despite only starting his Tumblr page back in July 2012, he now has almost 1500 followers on Twitter, and this increased popularity led to his involvement in one of British fashion’s biggest nights.

“It was a pleasure to be involved in such a massive event, especially for such a new blog,” he said.

“It was good to work with such a big brand like Gap and hopefully it’s a taste of things to come.”

Notwithstanding the fame and perks of being invited to such events, he is quick to point out that the blog isn’t just about fashion, and says the decisions he makes about who to photograph are based on ‘character before the way they dress’.

This is probably best evidenced by the fact the blog was a logical evolution of the private collection he had built up while photographing homeless people around Manchester.

He says it was simply a ‘development of a purpose’ and gave him more direction.

As is quite clear from the name, he has taken some inspiration from Milan’s ‘The Sartorialist’, but says there is much more to what he snaps than fashion, due, in part, to the city itself.

He said: “I started doing the Mancorialist because there are so many interesting people out there and I wanted a reason to photograph them.

“The Sartorialist was also a big influence, but Manchester has so much more to offer than a nice fitting suit.”

But for a man who has papped famous faces such as the Queen, the Beckhams and even Mr Bean, there are no doubts on his favourite subject matter.

“I love photographing people!” he said.STAGED? The infamous bunny picture

He does, however, concede that there are pitfalls in photographing the general public and said: “The Mancorialist is quite testing in terms of having to think on your feet; it makes studio shoots seem easy, as everything is within your control.

“Out on the streets everything is left to chance and it’s up to you to connect the dots.”

Despite this uncertainty he has never had any trouble, saying: “It’s amazing how friendly people actually are; even the most unapproachable looking people can be won over with the right manner.”

There’s one thing that strikes you when you visit his blog; the sheer number of pictures that have been uploaded in just over 13 months.

Being so prolific is made even more impressive by the fact he does this on the side of his full time job, and it makes you wonder how he finds the time to fit it all in.

“I make time,” he explains.

“So many people say there aren’t enough hours in a day and then go home and watch soaps all night.

“I put pressure on myself if I haven’t uploaded anything for a while, but it’s not all work, it’s a pleasure meeting people on those beautiful streets of Manchester.”

One of the possible dangers of being so prolific is that surely he will run out of different subjects to photograph.

But he instantly rubbishes this idea, saying: “The city seems to constantly change; it’s like a living breathing outdoor studio with thousands of models.”

Another problem is trying to choose a favourite picture, something he says influenced by his mood at the time.

But when pushed, he chose one of, if not the most surreal photographs in his collection.

Described quite succinctly as the ‘Bunny Attack Pic’, it features a man being assaulted on High Street by somebody in a giant rabbit costume.

Taken during Easter this year, he is 99% sure that the scene was staged, but hopes that there is a minute chance it was a spontaneous incident which he just happened to capture.

Some might consider taking some time off after such a busy debut year, but those ideas are not being entertained here.

Once the right venue can be found there is an exhibition in the pipeline and there have been whispers of a book, a notion he describes as ‘crazy’.

Explaining how he loves the underdog vibe of Manchester, compared to London, he admits he would like to take the Mancorialist on the road and showcase some of the worlds other ‘second’ cities.

“If anyone wants to fly me around the world, then I’m happy to take the Mancorialist on the road,” he explained.

With his increasing exposure, it’s surely only a matter of time until somebody takes him up on that offer.

Pictures courtesy of The Mancorialist, with thanks.

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