Students snap a vision of west Leeds

Armley Street Life.
Armley Street Life.
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TO the outside world, it’s a quaintly charming but often grimy world of back to backs far removed from the glitter of the city lights a mile down the road.

But to one group of students, Armley is pure art.

The west Leeds suburb has been picked by the teenage group to be the focus of a photography project and series of exhibitions celebrating the area’s ‘Street Life’.

From dusty doorsteps to bright red doors, and broken, cracking street signs to house-to-house washing lines, the group have zoomed in on every corner of their neighbourhood to create a unique project.

The youngsters, all students from Leeds West City Learning Centre, hit the streets of Armley with their cameras, and came back with a digital treasure trove.

Study support mentor Caroline Kelly, who guided the youngsters through the project as part of their Level 1 Creative and Media Diploma, said: “Armley is the area in which most of the students live. When I talk to them about the area, they have a sense of pride. The idea of the photographs was not in any way to criticise the area, but to show what underlying beauty can be seen when you open your eyes and look at things differently.

“I live in Yeadon but I love the streets of Armley. I think it portrays such a huge sense of community,” she added.

“Armley’s red brick community is fantastic. I have experienced it through my work and because my sister lived here.”

The streets snapped by the students were those in and around St Bartholomew’s Church, Swallow Hill Community College and Charlie Cake Park, all well known landmarks and all at the heart of the community.

The amateur photographers are all aged 15 and 16 and are from the Armley, Wortley and Bramley areas. They all attend either Swallow Hill Community College, Leeds West Academy or Farnley Park School. They also attend the creative diploma course at the Leeds West City Learning Centre on Fridays.

After taking their photos, the youngsters edited and enhanced their work – without adding or taking away anything – and learnt what makes an interesting photograph.

They then arranged their own exhibition at the centre, showcasing their work for the first time.

The collection will next be displayed at the I Love West Leeds shop on Armley Town Street, from today until Saturday.

Further exhibitions will be held at all three schools, before the collection moves to Armley Library at the end of March.

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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