Collection of the week: Martin O'Neill

Martin O'Neill began taking photographs at the age of just 15, wandering his hometown streets in Eccles, Salford and Manchester from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s. His archive of documentary and reportage photographs capture the people and places of the north west with a local's empathy and a wry sense of humour borne out of familiarity.

Using first a Zenith E camera, and then an Olympus XA compact, Martin's pictures came to light again more than 30 years after they were taken, when he was having a clear-out, and we're delighted to now be representing these images for licensing. The photos reveal the day to day lives on the streets of the city, and although the area often appears run-down, it's the sense of community and solidarity that shines out. Two girls play on the site of a demolished house; workers listen to a speech at a rally; a group of young men watch a Miss Wet T-Shirt competition in a local pub; a table of women enjoy a birthday party in a dingy factory; a teenager stares into a mirror as David Essex gazes down at her from a poster on her bedroom wall.

Martin O'Neill's photographs prove that images capturing the ordinary and everyday can be just as compelling as the rare and unusual. Click here to browse his terrific archive.

Mary Evans Picture Library Ltd.  59 Tranquil Vale  Blackheath  London  SE3 0BS. United Kingdom.
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