More than four decades after her death, Birmingham photographer Phyllis Nicklin is enjoying a major renaissance in the city.
The geography teacher left behind hundreds of colour pictures of the city in her day which have fed a rising demand for Brummie nostalgia on the back of photo website Brumpic.
Brumpic founder David Oram can be credited with her return to the public eye after discovering more than 1,000 35mm slides which he has opened up to a new audience.
Now, 50 images taken by Nicklin between 1953 and 1969 will go on show in a public exhibition launched on October 1.
Mr Oram said he believed Nicklin’s work deserved a wider audience and was comparable to some of the more celebrated photographers of her era.
He believes Nicklin should sit alongside the likes of Benjamin Stone as photo royalty in Birmingham.
He said: “You have people like Vivian Maier in America who were working at a similar time, in the fifties and sixties, and I think she is up there with them.
“She hasn’t been recognised for her images because they weren’t really out there until now and because she was from Birmingham.”
Brumpic is working with Colmore Business District (CBD) on the exhibition after securing a £10,000 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Sharing Heritage grant.
It will take place in Snow Hill Square from this week until January.
The Brumpic founder worked with co-curator Pete James, of the Library of Birmingham, to deliver the outdoor exhibition.
There is also a tie-in with city gallery Reuben Colley Fine Art.
Brumpic approached the University of Birmingham in October 2014 to seek permission to use a number of the Nicklin images for an article in the Birmingham Post.
Mr Oram said his work with the Post and the Nicklin images have been a major part of the growth of Brumpic, which has more than 60,000 social media followers. He said: “The Brumpic account started in October 2013, and it started off just me posting pictures I took.
“But then I started looking for older pictures and the first thing I stumbled across were the Phyllis Nicklin images.
“I’ve never seen anything better since. They are the pinnacle.
“The composition of the pictures is excellent and Nicklin mostly used Kodachrome which further enhanced the quality of the images she took.”.”
Nicklin remains shrouded in mystery.
The Nicklin Unseen images which go on show this week were taken over a 16-year period which saw major change in the city.
Mr Oram believes she would have similar success with the changing face of Birmingham today.
“If Phyllis Nicklin was around today, she would be taking pictures of the same kind of stuff,” he said. “She captured a changing city – the old 1920s back-to-backs coming down and the high rises going up.”
*All images are the copyright of the University of Birmingham. The university owns more than 450 photographs of Birmingham taken by Phyllis Nicklin between 1952-1969. These may be viewed online at epapers.bham.ac.uk/chrysalis.html