This was my first Birmingham Pride parade. I am not sure why I had not been before, and I suspect that I thought that it would be somewhat predictable. Far from it. The whole parade was a wonderful colourful spectacle with so many happy people around. These happy people were not worried about having their photograph taken either, which makes the event a photographer’s dream. Birmingham at the weekend has become a busy place. More so for the weekend of Birmingham Pride as there were many Coventry City supporters around making their way to Wembley. From Moor Street to Centenary square, there were street events starting up connected to the Pride Festival. The atmosphere was electric.
The day was going to be a warm one and already the sun was strong with no clouds in the sky. I had brought along my polarising lens as I was anticipating strong shadows with the bright light. In Centenary square, people were already congregating and the Exchange which is now part of the University of Birmingham was one of several meeting points. There were several colleagues from both the University and the dental hospital and people were looking forward to marching in the parade. The police and the fire service were taking part and both vehicles and people were already decorated with rainbows and colourful signs. Birmingham Hospice had a float and they said this was the first time they had taken part. Many other well-known companies and institutions were lining up their vehicles. Some of the decorations were very imaginative. I met Paul who was taking part by driving his prized possession. His VW camper was adorned with rainbow decorations, and he was happy to pose in front of the vehicle. As you see, I crouched down to get a dramatic picture. There were several other colourful people that I took portraits of in the square. As it was getting close to the start of the parade, I made my way down to the Town Hall to get a good vantage point of the parade as it headed towards New Street.
The next hour consisted of picture taking in one location and then moving swiftly forward to take more pictures further along the route. I was told by a friend that the turning point at the end of New Street at Waterstones Book shop was a good place for pictures. When I got there, I cheekily went into Waterstones and made my way up to the second floor. It was relatively quiet and so I placed myself behind the lift, where you could look out over the New Street junction. I got some good pictures of the parade from this vantage point.
After several more pictures, I then moved to the walkway that overlooked Moor Street Station. This was a good lookout on the parade as it went under the tunnel towards New Street. I moved around the road between the Primark store and Moor Street station taking many more pictures. I caught up with the University of Birmingham participants. There were also many dancers, free chocolate from the Cadburys float and people who were just happy to be photographed. The Drag Queens were very interactive with the crowd and very entertaining.
By now I was getting tired and I was needed back home. All the pictures that I had taken had to be processed and as I found out later, I had taken quite a lot. The time had been well spent. Sorry about the large number of photographs and you will be saturated with colour but that was the story of the Birmingham Pride Parade.
Reflections – the colourful parade is a great celebration of the LGBTQ+ community in the City of Birmingham. I was so pleased to experience the atmosphere and see all the people who took part. A big thank you for those who let me take their photographs for this blog.
More details of Birmingham Pride Festival can be found here.