LAST BUS – Images of Preston Bus Station

The idea for the work came about back in 2006 with the news that the Preston Bus Station was due to be demolished as part of the Preston Tithenbarn Regeneration Project, which was due to start in late 2008/09. The station was built in 1968/69, the largest in Europe and is an excellent example of 1960s Brutalism architecture; it was a style that spawned from the Modernist from the 1950s to the 1970s. It has become an iconic landmark building of Preston, of which there are few.

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At the time, it was 10 years since I had relocated from Preston to Manchester; the bus station holds many memories for me from early childhood through to my teenage years. It was a starting point for an exciting journey out of town, a meeting point with friends or just that regular boring bus ride back home. During my research, I found no new contemporary images of the station and this I felt was an opportunity to produce some cutting edge new work and create a new perspective of a landmark building that has not been explored in many years.

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I embarked upon the project in May 2006 taking pictures at different times of the day but it soon became clear that the night-time images had the most impact and this became the focus of the series of images. These early test shots developed a “space” like quality and I was influenced by Stanley Kubrick’s film, “2001 A Space Odyssey”, other sci-fi imagery and images from early moon landings by NASA. From these influences, I came up with the concept of the bus station being almost like an abandoned spacecraft sitting in a dark lunar sky waiting to be rediscovered. Removing any signs of life from the station helped to enhance this idea of space and abandonment.

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I hoped to have brought a new visual perspective to the way the viewer interprets this landmark building.

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All the images were shot at night in winter from about 7pm – 1am on medium format film using my Mamiya RZ67 with exposure times ranging from 5mins- 20mins

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Michael (d’agostino) Mackenzie

Preston Bus Station was listed and not demolished and these images are now available as greetings cards from our online shop.