Who would have ever thought that a dusty, dark, and dank old tunnel would have been so popular! 231 sign-ups to the ballot for the 20 available places on our Mailbox Tunnel Instameet in 24 hours clearly proved that it was! But then the Mailbox Tunnel is no ordinary tunnel, it is a part of Birmingham’s hidden heritage after all. At 400 metres long, it connects the Mailbox as we know it now, formerly the Royal Mail sorting office, to platform 12 of New Street Station. It weaves its way underneath Severn Street, before ducking under the A38 and John Bright Street, and then connecting up with the platform. Originally used for ferrying mail to the train station, it was opened in 1970 and used until 1998 when Royal Mail moved their sorting office to Aston.
Thanks to The Mailbox and Ben McPhee, IGers Birmingham were given the chance to take 20 of its community down into this normally off-limits famous tunnel to document it. The lucky 20 were drawn at random from the ballot which was entered by 231 people as stated above. On Sunday last week, the 20 winners were taken down into the tunnel in two groups of 10, where they were given the chance to capture images of the tunnel that only a handful of photographers have been able to shoot. The challenge before them though was how to capture the tunnels in a way that was different from the images that have been created in this space in the past.
As is always the case though, when you put a group of the IGers community into a space and ask them to photograph it, they always find a way of capturing it in a myriad of unique ways individual to their own style. Some foucsed on the structure of the tunnel and its vanishing point, while others turned their lenses to the details on show, such as the lighting and the manufacturing stamps on the iron work walls. The introduction of torches and coloured LED panels allowed for some of the attendees to get creative, producing some amazing examples of painting with light.
Here is a selection of the images posted to the event hashtag by the attendees. To see all of the images from the event click here.
BBC Midlands also picked up on the event and produced this great little video on it!
Thank you to Ben McPhee and The Mailbox for making this event possible.