Afflecks, the iconic Manchester shopping emporium, has unveiled its long awaited “Afflecks 40” project to mark its 40th anniversary year. A commemorative book and exhibition featuring a series of portraits by photographer, Paul Wolfgang Webster, has now been revealed in order to celebrate the destination’s incredible heritage and legacy as a cultural institution.
The stunning book captures 40 portraits of 40 people who have been part of Afflecks’ five-decade-strong journey and, in turn, who feel that Afflecks has been a big part of their own story. The collection features an eclectic mix of traders past and present; customers; fans; businesses and celebrities including Guy Garvey, Lemn Sissay, Peter Hook, Mike Joyce, Wayne Hemmingway and Sophie Willan.
All have shared their personal journeys and affiliations with the iconic venue across the years. The result is a remarkable story told by the extraordinary individuals that have made Afflecks the world-famous destination that it is today. The portraits have also been curated for a free exhibition at Afflecks taking over an area of the third floor and displayed for the public until November 25 for visitors to discover right at the heart of the building.
Captured by acclaimed photographer Paul Wolfgang Webster – who has permanent portraits in London’s National Portrait Gallery and has photographed some of the city’s most famous faces – it is a beautiful, hardback book, sustainably printed and published by Manchester Books. Edited by esteemed Manchester tour guide, writer and broadcaster, Jonathan Schofield, the book also examines the rich cultural history of Afflecks with a fascinating introduction to the landmark and its colourful heritage.
AJ Martyn, General Manager at Afflecks, comments: “The cultural significance of Afflecks cannot be overstated. It is the beating heart of the Northern Quarter, and where it all began. It has always been a safe space for creativity – encouraging the individuality that our city is known for. This inclusive, free spirited atmosphere allows amazing things to happen and the Afflecks 40 project tells just a few of those stories. It’s really a love letter to one of the city’s most beloved places, penned by the people of Manchester. We can’t wait to share it with the world.”
Paul Wolfgang Webster adds: “This was a once in a lifetime chance to record, with my photographs, some of the people, among thousands of others, who have been part of the Afflecks story across 40 years. It was a milestone in my career. With the people in these pictures, on these pages, I have laughed, cried and been totally blown away. They brought back so many memories of my youth. Afflecks was, and always will be, part of Manchester’s diverse and colourful history, the beating heart of the city.”
The Afflecks book, priced at £30, is now on sale on the Afflecks website, and at Waterstones in Manchester City Centre. The project was commissioned by Bruntwood, the owners and operators of Afflecks. The book was designed by Bruntwood’s lead graphic designer Richard Shallacker.