I met Louis for the first time a year ago at the launch of the Ivy in Manchester. He’s one of those people I’ve spoken to for a long time on Instagram, but had never actually met in ‘real life’.
Louis and I both have a passion for food. We would always chat about new restaurants opening in town and our photography. Similarly to how you would listen to a radio presenter, hear their voice but never actually know what they look like, I was shocked the first time I ever met Louis. There aren’t many pictures of him on his Instagram feed, because like me, he’s always the one behind the lens.
I’d built up this image of a quiet and reserved guy who I always imagined to be quite short and a small build. Louis is basically the opposite. He’s 6ft 1, and looks like he could lift me up above his head without breaking a sweat. The one thing I got right was how humble and quiet he is until you get to know him a bit better.
For those that aren’t familiar with the series, I’ve decided to do a take on ‘Humans of New York’ but for people who call Manchester home.
People of MCR will try and tell the story of this incredible city and all the people who contribute to it being the fastest growing city in Europe.
So how does this work? I will get each person to tell me their story in their own words of how they got to where they are today. I will share that story along with some photos for context.
Each person featured will then be asked the same question – Why Manchester?
Louis grew up on the Isle of Man with a population of just 85,000, before deciding to go to University in Middleborough to study Marketing and Design. Leaving in 2007, he made the move to London after securing a role as a Junior Graphic Designer.
After just a couple of years, the company decided to close the London office and relocate back to Germany. This meant Louis had to unexpectedly move back home to the Isle of Man. Although the Isle of Man is a beautiful place, there isn’t much of a creative industry for work and so Louis knew he had to save up and make the move to somewhere else.
With a couple of his close friends already based in Manchester, Louis decided to join them. He started at Intro Clothing in Manchester as a Sales Assistant before they decided to tap him up for his marketing knowledge and background.
After working as an E-commerce Assistant for a year, he decided to apply for a role at Hervia where he ended up for a number of years. He progressed quickly to Director of E-commerce, which was a full on role looking after their online marketing strategy and directing photo shoots.
Louis has always had an interest in fitness to the point where he became involved in men’s physique shows, even competing in the British Finals. But this lifestyle wasn’t maintainable. He admitted missing out on so many things with friends and family due to the discipline needed to achieve this level of fitness. This is how Louis’ personal social media following started.
After 3 years of being so focused on fitness, Louis needed something to fill the void for his creative outlet. He always had a passion for food and so started to visit restaurants, this time documenting all of his favourite menus and places in town, where he didn’t have to sit there with chicken and sweet potato already prepped in a Tupperware tub.
He started with an iPhone and eventually upgraded to a Sony A7Riii, as he went from paying for meals to being gifted the experience for coverage on his social media channels.
As more and more restaurants or hotels saw his work, the more invites he got. One invite then pretty much changed Louis’ life.
He was asked by Manchester Finest to cover the ‘Journey Through China’ event at Tattu restaurant. So happy with his work, Tattu then decided to take him on as a Photographer utilising his knowledge of Instagram Stories content creation.
Working 7 days a week still trying to do his full time role at Hervia, covering Tattu in the evenings and on weekends, something had to give.
July 2018, Louis handed in his notice at his full time job and made the leap to being freelance.
In his own words, it’s the best decision he’s ever made. “Don’t get me wrong it’s a scary move to make”, but having the social media consultancy on top of the content creation through photography, Louis has a few different revenue streams to protect him if a client should ever decide to move on. (very unlikely given how hard this guy works)
Louis doesn’t like to plan or set long-term goals, he prefers to go with the flow, to try and grow his client base on the photography side, specialising in Food, Leisure, Hospitality and Lifestyle.
Louis has an unbelievable creative eye for interior design and is one of the most talented photographers I know. You only have to look at some of the shots on his feed of a bar stool to understand how good he is. In a single picture, he will make it so aesthetically pleasing, that you can almost imagine yourself sat at that bar.
When asked why Manchester? Louis mentioned the difference to other cities like London, “It’s just its size, there’s such a community here when compared to London that feels like an anonymous city. No one speaks to each other, where Manchester is much more friendly.”
Starting his business in Manchester, he felt like it was easier to build those relationships through networking here. “I wouldn’t say it was easier to get my foot in the door here, but it’s been easier than I ever thought to build relationships with businesses, especially in the restaurant scene here in town. It’s not too big but there’s a lot going on.”
Make sure you check out Louis’ website to see some of his incredible work if you’re looking for a photographer. www.itsmelouis.com
You can also follow Louis on Instagram @louiscannell