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On gravestones, there are usually two dates: the year of birth and that of death. In between is a short dash – that person’s life. It is this space that Rob Bremner’s photography is concerned – creating a record for posterity of the people he meets – family, friends and strangers – on his own journey through life.
Rob was born in Wick, a small working-class town in the far north of Scotland. He left Wick to pursue his dream of becoming a photographer and, in 1983, left his hometown to enrol on a photography course at Wallasey College of Art, on the opposite bank of the River Mersey to Liverpool. There he met photographer Tom Wood and worked in his darkroom throughout his college years. Martin Parr, one of the most important photographers of his generation, lived nearby and Rob would spend Sundays following both Tom and Martin around down at heel seaside resort New Brighton taking photographs.
In 1985, Rob was accepted on David Hurn’s famous documentary photography course at Gwent College of Higher Education in Newport, returning to Liverpool on the completion of the course to establish himself as a freelance photographer. It was during this time he took his black and white photographs of Liverpool’s Pier Head.
Most of Rob’s Liverpool photographs were taken around the Everton and Vauxhall areas of the city. The area housed some of Liverpool’s oldest communities, the same families living there for generations. The people Rob photographed had a great pride in their city and most felt fortunate to live in their neighbourhood, even though the area was going through great change as tenements and tower blocks were demolished to make way for the semis with gardens that are there today.
Even though he was born in the North of Scotland, Rob’s background is not that dissimilar from the people he photographed and his work clearly shows his affinity with them.