My Breakthrough Moment: Simon Buckley

“I wanted to be Ultravox, but sometimes I worry I’ve ended up like Joe Dolce.” Simon Buckley’s photograph of Manchester in the rain became a viral sensation in 2019. He explains what happened next

Rainstorm, Deansgate, Manchester; © Simon Buckley

The day I took Rainstorm was August 1, 2019 – a Thursday. I was due to meet a work friend to make a film for an architect. We were going to film around dusk. There was no hope of doing it though because it was overcast with drizzle in the air but off I went with a kind of ridiculous British optimism.

As I got off the tram at Castlefield, the heavens opened into a proper biblical storm with rain bouncing off the pavement. I looked to my left and there was a sense of sunshine starting to just come through. It backlit the rain in quite a beautiful way.

As a photographer you’re like a woodland creature, always on the lookout. It’s not even because you want to take a photograph, it’s about interacting with the world because that makes your day better.

The end of Deansgate it’s a pretty well-worn route for photography – it looks the part on Instagram. But the light coming through the rain was pretty so I stood on the bridge and took around six frames on my iPhone. Within seconds I was absolutely soaked, the screen stopped working and people were looking at me like I was mad.