In 2007 the Liverpool Cruise Liner terminal opened with a visit from the Cunard cruise liner the QE2, a ship from my childhood. When the QE2 first came to Liverpool, in 1990, I was there to see it. My parents and I hung out with some photographer friends at the Egremont Ferry pub. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
I remember seeing this giant ship turn in the river. It was huge! After seeing the QE2 we retired to the Egremont Ferry pub for chips and to talk about photography. To quote my 2007 blog post;
Photography got into my head back in 1990 so it was great to be able to properly photograph the QE2 when she visited in 2007. It was a great day and the start of many more.
In 2008 I was asked to be the Cruise Liner Terminal’s official photographer. It was kind of a dream commission. Imagine telling my childhood self that I would be doing this. It’s crazy. I’ve enjoyed all the events I’ve covered for them over the years. I’ve been in planes, helicopters and boats. I’ve seen a man do a water jet propelled fly past. I’ve seen huge floating hotels that somehow defy physics bobbing up and down next to the Liverpool skyline. But of course the highlights have always been Cunard.
In 2008 I was lucky enough to photograph the final QE2 visit to Liverpool from a plane. That was simply incredible. QE2 left after traditional fireworks and while the modern Cunard liners look nice I think there’s a certain elegance to QE2.
In 2009 things went up a gear and I was asked to photograph the arrival of QM2 from a helicopter. A helicopter! So much smoother than being in a bumpy plane. A bit more scary as I was having to lean over a videographer with the door open wide. Great fun though. I also found a new angle to photograph ships from. Something different to the normal skyline photo.
2010 saw Queen Victoria visit the Liverpool for the first time. This time I was on the ground documenting the arrival, the day and the fireworks.
I was really happy with this photo. It hangs outside my studio. I donated a copy to a charity auction a few years ago. I didn’t have the cash to donate to the charity but if my work could help I was happy to donate in that way. The print sold for £2,000! It almost raised more than the rest of the exhibition put together. I was left speechless. There was no way I could have donated that so I was over joyed to find my work helped raise that for them.
The photo has also been used by Cunard in high profile brochures and also by American Express in similar high profile magazines. Always a joy to see my work in print.
2011 saw Queen Elizabeth’s first visit to Liverpool. I’m always looking for a new fresh take on the subject.
2011 also saw Queen Mary 2 re-visit the city. I finally got to photograph the arrival from Anthony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’. It was a beautiful and calm day on the Mersey.
Last year, 2014, saw something totally insane. A guy flew up and saluted the Captain of Queen Victoria like something from a comic book.
It’s now 2015 and we’re less than a week away from Cunard’s big 175th birthday event. There will be 3 Cunard liners in the river all at the same time. It’s going to be an incredible sight. I’ve spent 8 years documenting these visits to the city and it’s been both a privilege and a pleasure. The team at the Cruise Terminal deserve a huge amount of respect for their work over the years. This weekend is for them.