Getting into Polytechnic with only one A level

I was keen to study Photography after school and Trent Polytechnic in Nottingham offered a three year course in visual communications photography and film.

I turned up for an interview there with a very small portfolio of images, I was still at school and in retrospect should have done a foundation course at the local art collage before even trying there.

Euan Duff the course leader at Trent was a little hum and ha’ry about things till I showed him these slides and how I talked about documenting ordinary things around me. This was exactly the button to push with Euan (I found out afterwards) as he had undergone a journey of documenting the everyday since the 1950s.

A game of monopoly at Cowley sixth form centre became my chance to advance to Trent. When I told the Polytechnic I had only achieved one A level instead of the two required to join the course I was told to “Come anyway” a “get out of jail card” for me,, sometimes the dice are lucky.

http://www.euanduff.co.uk/

School show

Even Latin Masters could show their funny side when on stage at the school show.
Cowley boys school, St.Helens, later 1970s.

Substitute teacher

Cowley High School. Mixed 6th form class sometime between 1978 and 1980. Our master was away so we got to revise our coursework as the substitute teacher carried on reading his paper (no doubt lifted from his break period in the staff room).

No talking at the back of the class.

French lesson in progress, Crowley boys school 1977 or 1978. Unseen by the teacher I got out my Zenith E camera and took a few shots. The shutter was loud so I’m not sure how I managed to take more than one before the teacher noticed but there are two adjacent negatives rather than one.

I generally sat at the back of the class to avoid being noticed too much by the teachers. Not that I was up to no good, I just didnt think of myself as academic. Taking photographs seemed meaningful though my activities seemed not to really register with others. I’m glad I took the picture as I dont think there are many images of live classrooms from the period, true documentary.

A later documentary project of a Nottingham school allowed me to take similar images of a real life lessons in a private boys school but the difference was I was there as an outsider and conspicuous, here I was part of the scene.