Those of you who know me well (or are regular readers) will be well aware of my feelings about the North East, so I don’t need to write you a love letter about the region. I know very few people who are from the North East and do not take pride in that. Having stayed up here for university, I ended up befriending people from all over the country. Not one of them graduated and didn’t take a little bit of Newcastle back home with them. The region has a lot to offer and some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. There’s something infectious about the inherent optimism of the people up here, and the fact that most people you encounter do want to and will try to help you if they can.
Which is why I am continually exasperated by the debacle that is Geordie Shore. Thank you MTV for reinforcing the ridiculous stereotypes which the media have branded the North East with. Yes, in Newcastle you will find girls in short skirts and five inch heels stumbling up the Bigg market with bare legs in the snow. But let’s be honest, the idiots who they have put on this programme are so ill equipped to truly represent the region it’s embarrassing.* There are so many other things about the North East that are more interesting than the fact you can get treble vodkas and a mixer for two quid… which is why I like to be able to find local talent to share… then it makes me feel like I’m doing my bit to help restore the reputation of our region.
So that being said, let me introduce Carl Haynes, a very talented local photographer and a good friend of mine, who shot these photographs. Two of the images (the third one, “Newcastle Nights” and the last, “Zoom Tyne”) have just been announced as winners of the Big Metro Competition!
What I love about Carl’s photography is that he really shows the region at it’s best. His photos have a raw quality that gives a very honest portrayal of the North East, and I think his passion for it really shows. He somehow manages to capture the beauty of Newcastle without glossing over it’s industrial roots, and captures the spirit of the city. Plus his photos do not include public urination or vomiting, both of which can usually be found in the media’s representation of the North. I’ll let you be the judge but personally I don’t think it’s too grim up North. If you want to see more of his photos, you can visit his website here.
* Just to add to my Geordie Shore rant, can I draw attention to the fact that one of them is from Sunderland (making her a Mackem like me, not a Geordie- and if you know anything about the region, you will know that there is an important distinction there), and then there are the ones from Teeside. For those not so hot on geography, if you totally disregard Sunderland and Durham (the two cities in between) then yes Teeside is located right next to Newcastle…