Island Life: Photographs from the Martin Parr Foundation

Shirley Baker

Born 1932, Salford, died 2014

Baker began photographing aged eight after she and her twin sister were given a box Brownie camera – she developed her first films in the coal shed! She studied photography at Manchester College of Technology in the 1950s, Regent St Polytechnic (a centre of feminist documentary photography in the 1960s, now University of Westminster) and London College of Printing. Her best-known work is the Street series, 1960- 81 of slum clearances in Salford.

Her work has been published in numerous books including; Street Photographs: Manchester and Salford (1989), Streets and Spaces: Urban Photography – Salford and Manchester – 1960s–2000 (2000), and most recently Shirley Baker by Mack Books in 2019. She had shows at Salford Art Gallery in 1986 and at The Lowry in 2000. The posthumous Women and Children; and loitering men took place at the Photographers’ Gallery in London brought her work international attention.