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Photographer who took famous Manchester New Year's Eve photos responds to backlash

Photographer who took famous Manchester New Year's Eve photos responds to backlash

A photographer has spoken out after facing criticism for his latest famous New Year's Eve photograph taken in Manchester.

A photographer has spoken out after facing criticism for his latest famous New Year's Eve snap taken in Manchester.

Back in 2016, freelance photographer Joel Goodman released a photograph of the streets of Manchester in the early hours of New Year's Day morning, which anyone who's lived in the city will know perfectly summarises the reality of living there; drunken chaos, people pouring onto the streets at the end of a heavy night and police interference when it's all gone a bit haywire.

The photograph became widespread on social media and iconic, with many joking it was like a Renaissance painting - specifically Michelangelo's 'The Creation of Adam' - but in a much more modern era and setting.

Goodman was back on the streets of Manchester on New Year's Eve 2022 and snapped another photograph of the aftermath of the celebrations, however, after receiving backlash for his image, the photographer has since taken to Twitter to defend himself.

Joel's OG photo, taken on Well Street, also depicted the chaos of New Year's Eve.
Joel Goodman

The 2022 New Year's Day photograph was taken in Deansgate, Manchester, outside Manahatta bar.

It shows a 'Happy New Year' advert on a digital screen as well as throngs of people spilling out of the bars and restaurants on the road, many looking slightly worse for wear.

However, central to the image and underneath the sign are two young women sat on the pavement, one cradling the other's head in her arms.

The photographer's divisive picture from last weekend's New Year celebrations.
Joel Goodman

It's Goodman's photographing of the two young women which has caused the creative to face criticism online.

One Twitter user wrote: "Is it just me or does any one else feel uncomfortable with two vulnerable girls being photographed in distress? Or are we normalising this? Especially when some are asking for prints. Extremely bizarre."

"Idk the context, but you shouldnt be posting photos of people like this without their consent," another echoed.

A third added: "Hope you took permission from those in the photo to use their very personal images."

Joel Goodman's 2016 New Year's Eve image may have been a success, but his 2022 picture has received a lot of criticism.
@J1916B/ Twitter

Goodman has since taken to the platform in a thread to respond to the backlash.

The first post reads: "I'm really grateful to you all for your feedback on this photo. I'd like to answer a couple of the questions that have popped up.

"This is twitter so please understand the effects that character limit imposes on all of us."

The photograph gained an extremely mixed response.
@robynsrighthand/ Twitter

First, Goodman explains how he uses a watermark on 'every photo' he publishes on social media.

"I get that it can feel inappropriate/commercial, particularly if you're not used to seeing my posts, but experience has taught me that this is a lesser problem than seeing photos republished without context or permission," the tweet continues.

The photographer also notes the picture is 'one of many that form [an over 10 year] project documenting nightlife in the city'.

He adds: "It includes emotional extremes, work & play, funny & surreal, calm and tragic moments. If you aren't a regular follower, a single tweet doesn't reveal that context."

One viewer of the image called Goodman a 'vulture'.
@pixel8foto/ Twitter

Goodman informs his followers UK photographers 'broadly' do 'not require consent to take photographs of people in public'.

"Broadly, again, editorial publication (documentary such as this, news) does not require further permission from those pictured," he adds.

The photographer later reassures viewers of the image - and those who specifically criticised him for the inclusion of the two women in the picture - that he doesn't 'abandon people at immediate risk of harm'.

"No one in this scene is in danger or without support. If I see someone at immediate risk and without support, I check on their welfare and, if appropriate, call for a first responder," he says.

Goodman exemplified other photographs he has taken to show a 'wider view' of his style of work.
@pixel8foto/ Twitter

Goodman concludes by noting 'some of the points raised deserve a more thoughtful reply' but he's limited in what he can say due to Twitter's character restrictions.

The photographer resolves: "I will have left lots out, but I hope this gives a broad understanding of how and why this photograph exists. Thank you for taking the time to read this."

Featured Image Credit: Joel Goodman

Topics: UK News, Viral, Social Media