Alexander is a Manchester photographer that has worked with people and brands across the UK and abroad, most recently exhibiting his work from New Zealand in the Northern Quarter's Federal. Here Alexander shares with us his Manchester via a list of places he loves, ready for you to explore and create your own connection with!

Model: Sarah Catherine

1. Wait until it's dark and fall in love with Chinatown

The second biggest Chinatown in the UK, I fell in love with this place the first night I ever used a camera. The streets are full of restaurants and stores, buzzing with people day and night and bathed in beautiful neon lights. I've shot a few times here, most prominently in my mind is a Blade Runner style shoot which nestled here perfectly. Absolutely love this place and a photographer's dreamland. 

2. See what's new at Manchester Art Gallery

What I love most about the Manchester Art Gallery is how well curated and timed the exhibitions are, they change regularly enough for you to have a reason to visit often but stick around long enough not to miss anything. Great art across a broad spectrum of mediums and styles - were kind enough to let me shoot there for a fashion gig too, dead nice. 

Model: Charlotte

3. Fall in love with the Butchers Quarter

There's a lesser-known area in the Northern Quarter which is informally called the Butchers Quarter (aka the Meat Quarter). This is essentially Tib Street where you'll find some amazing places - firstly, Siop Shop, a great coffee shop that serves a ton of amazing food (the vegan pancakes and the donuts are mind blowing) and is a great space, then there's Just Between Friends, a cool little coffee shop. Beside a great tea shop and, of course, butchers, I love this place because of it's vibe - there's two or three adult shops here and despite never exploring inside, the neons and colours of their shop fronts are spot on for shooting. I've shot a load of fashion snaps down here and think it's a heavily underused area. Whilst you're there, checkout the florist, lovely staff with a load of great plants. ​

4. Brunch-it-up at Federal

No guide would be complete without mention of Federal, an antipodean cafe and bar in the Northern Quarter that prides itself on the best brunch in Manchester. The coffee's supplied by the superb Ozone too and it's a great spot to get along to - if you get there before the middle of June, you'll see my artwork on the walls too!

5. Find all the angles at Castlefield Archways

I discovered Castlefield when I first starting shooting and I've never l looked back. The industrial vibes here are a-plenty, a crisscross of bridges spanning over canal junctions and apartment buildings. The area is bathed in bricks, old doorways and dripping water (friendly tip: don't stand under the drips from the bridges, it's a waste dump point for the trainline above...). There's so many angles to play with here and so many scenes to create, can't recommend it more for the adventurer in you.

6. Explore the labyrinth of Afflecks 

The story is, if you grew up in Manchester or you've lived here a bit, Afflecks is one of those places you love and appreciate, but don't go anymore. I get that, but I continue to love this place and how much shifting about it does - the little units means there's always new ones popping up and a decent turnover of stock. Give it an explore and commit to those little shops the furthest from the door. Head over to Black Milk if you get thirsty for a milkshake. 

7. Walk down Market Street midday on a Saturday

Just kidding, it's a claustrophobe's nightmare and nobody should ever do this. If you are after a 'Regent Street near Christmas' experience though, I can recommend this.

8. Give the legs a stretch and visit Grub

Ok, let's get this out the way at the outset, Grub is a bit of a walk. It's not like hiking the Peak District, but it's on the precipice of being in the 'a bit far' category. Don't let that put you off, it's a great little spot that's perfect for avoiding the city centre crowds and full of awesome independent vendors. 

9. Get a slice of London at Media City

I wasn't sure about Media City when I first moved to Manchester, but then I realised how absolutely unique it is - offering a ton of interesting structures and clean lines perfect for photography. Being a southerner, it really resonates as a slice of London up north, almost like a London Quarter. Plenty to explore, dead peaceful and full of opportunities. 

10. Take a deep breath and get to Stockport

The rule-breaker in me says this is totally fine to include in a Manchester article; Stockport is the hidden gem of the nearby boroughs in my opinion, yet to realise it's glory but on the right path. Most worthy of a mention here is the incredible labyrinth of vintage shops at 20th Century Stores, Hatters - the best coffee shop in town, Allotment - an incredible vegan restaurant and, of course, Where The Light Gets In described by The Guardian as "the most exciting food I've eaten". Make the 10 minute train journey from Piccadilly. 

11. Go low, then lower at Dogs & Dough

If you're looking for a great bar, sniff out Dogs & Dough's 17 Below bar, located two floors below street level and more Stranger Things vibes that you can shake a Barb at. Full of neon, 90s synth pop and cocktails, this place is usually busy enough to feel great and quiet enough to not be annoying.