Rob Bremner: "It's about us"

Rob Bremner is a British photographer with a diverse portfolio, including his stunning street photography that captures the beauty of everyday life. Born in Liverpool in 1959, Bremner developed a passion for photography from a young age, and this passion led him to become notable photographer.

Bremner's early years were spent in the city's diverse and vibrant neighborhoods, which would later become a major influence in his work. In the early 1980s, Bremner started taking people's photographs on the streets of Everton and Vauxhall, which were then considered the third most deprived area of Britain. He was catching the city's social and cultural landscape through his lens.

Bremner entered the Newport College of Art, Wales, but admits he wasn't quite enjoying there. Instead, he would find himself regularly crashing at Wood's place, the Irish street photographer and a friend of Rob, venturing into Liverpool during the day before returning in the evening to help Wood, out in his dark room.

Margaret Thatcher, then Prime Minister of Britain, was being advised that investing money into its regrowth would be like "trying to make water flow uphill". So by 1985, unemployment in Liverpool was roughly double the national average, with a surge of heroin use and organised crime happening across the city.

"You'd see graffiti and kids constantly burning things,"- Bremner says, going on to recall that time
Yet among the derelict houses and crumbling communities, Bremner was able to find a sense of home there.
"It didn't feel that alien because I'm from a large working-class family. Y'know, we're all quite similar. Sometimes you'd go round to people's houses and it would just be like going round to your auntie's. We all live in the same country, our parents aren't very well off, and we all suffer the same problems."
After receiving a grant from the Prince's Trust, Bremner was able to stay in Merseyside, working as a freelance photographer and documenting the northwest and Wales for publications including The Times and the Guardian, as well as the Liverpool Housing Trust's supplement.

In 2007, after the death of his mother, he returned to Wick to look after his father, who was suffering from dementia. By the time he was able to put him in a care home, his camera equipment was, he says, "dead in the water", and a move back to Liverpool was not feasible. "Liverpool is my hometown. I know more people there than I do in Scotland. That's why I want to move back," he says.
Bremner photography was discovered 2017. After he put a few pictures from the 1980s up on his personal Facebook page, a Scouser got in touch to see if he would be interested in publishing a selection on the page of a private group that has several thousand members and had been created so people could share old pictures of the city.
And then.. "I woke up on Christmas morning with about 1,000 people wishing me happy Christmas. I spent all day replying, 'Thank you very much', 'Thank you very much.' It was the first time I realised that anyone would be that interested in them."
Bremner wants to raise enough money to get back to Liverpool to complete the monumental task of photographing everybody who lives in the city.
"I see no reason why I can't do it. If you say you want to photograph everyone, it doesn't mean to say you will. But I could ask everyone. I don't mind people saying no. I used to stand in nightclubs trying to pick up girls – they all said no, but that never stopped me from asking."
Author Anna Laza
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