Ian Holm

So sorry to hear of Ian Holms death today. A pretty good innings at 88 though.
 
I was fortunate enough to meet Ian Holm when he played Lech Wałęsa at Granada studios Manchester in 1981. I was there with Adam, a fellow photo student at Trent Polytechnic who was the son of the writer Boleslaw Sulik. He had written “Strike! the story of Solidarity”, the movement that eventually saw the collapse of Soviet control of Poland.
 
What I remember most was his good grace; he was kind to me, a young stranger who took photographs of him as he tried to relax and focus in the breaks between filming scenes. We  had a short chat about photography as it was also an interest of his wife.
 
I was struck that this humble man was completely grounded as he took center stage in depicting the story of the Polish freedom movement. A real pleasure to meet an extraordinary man.
 
In this photo Ian is talking to the writer Boleslaw.
Pentax K1000 camera, 50mm f2 lens, Ilford HP5 film rated at 400ASA.

Caravan of secrets

A fortune teller at the Goose Fair in Nottingham, approx 1982. HP5 high speed film pushed 2 stops.

As part of my final year documentary project at Trent Polytechnic I had been photographing people in pubs and clubs using available light, a low shutter speed and a wide aperture to get enough light to the film. Hand held photography at night felt liberating, a technical challenge but also fun. Walking through the Goose fair and recording what I saw felt natural to me though pretty strange perhaps to others.

The curtains of the caravan were open for all to see but what was said stayed inside as the music, machines and crowds provided a protective wall.

A vague memory of taking this picture but i only noticed its thin and sparse negative 38 years later. Not one of my better images but like a blurry photo of a live dodo it has some merit (searching Google images for fortune teller caravan reveals no true documentary image of the subject – let me know if you find one).

 

Evening dance class

Dance class in the main hall of the YMCA Nottingham approx 1982. Taken as part of a documentary project in my second year at Trent Polytechnic studying photography. The dance tutors were very nice people and allowed me to wander around all their classes to take pictures. The younger classes were held during the day and the light pouring into the room really set off the chaos and fun of the children learning. The evenings were much less chaotic and much more formal.

Im not a dancer myself but documentary photography allowed me to explore other peoples interests and passions. One day I was walking into town and saw a dance class in progress, it seemed natural to go through the door and ask if I could take photographs. I was made welcome and in return I found a respect for their world.

Area

Unknown part of Nottingham. Night time shot done on a exploitative walk. Finding different vistas.

Taken approx 1982. 6×6 Colour negative, Yashica 124G camera 80mm lens.

On Photography

An amateur photographer indulges in his passion. The Arboretum, Nottingham, approx 1980.

Photography is a wonderful hobby. it spins you in new directions and makes the blood flow. Kneeling down on the path to get a better angle – I hope he also got the shot he wanted.

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Student Accommodation Nottingham 1981/2


Second year house share in Lees Hill Road, Sneinton, Nottingham.

Here across 3 frames of 6×6 colour negatives is one of my co-housemates as she takes her turn to clean the kitchen.

Pretty basic facilities and very cold in the winter but the landlord was a nice guy and the rent was reasonable (from memory £8 per week).

The third housemate was a little more particular about cleanliness than I was and I once found a coin resting in the grill cover housing – a test to see I had dissembled the cooker to clean it when it was my turn…

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Town design

Originally shot for a college project to illustrate a book by a local author.
What struck me about the place then (and now) is how idyllic it is to have normal terraced housing backing onto a communal park area. If I were a town planner my rule would be road at the front, green strip at the back.
(Only just noticed the tops of the bench are like mini houses with the same roof angle as the properties behind, I would not been concious of this at the time but I have no doubt it was a major reason for taking the image, unconscious thought notices far more)

 

 

Dreamscape 5

Two negatives combined to create one image. Nigh time Nottingham and a studio shot, both taken on  Kodak Vericolor II Professional Type S medium format colour negative film.