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.


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.

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)



Post Office Telecommunications

24 hour Buzz service says the Buzby poster on the side of the van. Before privatization and it becoming BT the Post Office looked after the telephone service. The distinctive red and white plastic tents kept the weather out as the engineers joined impossible bundles of copper wire together. Nottingham circa 1981.
The Gasometers have gone but some 40 years later there is still access to the phone network in the same place.