Team photos

My first income from photography came from taking over the team photos at Cowley Boys School. I didnt charge very much, 50p bought a whole plate (8.5″x6.5″) print in black and white. Cheap even at the time this enabled me to buy short lengths of outdated film or chemicals for the darkroom.

Sleet added to the atmosphere in this shot. Of course I should really have followed a Masters advice and photographed the teams directly after a match – much less smiling!
St.Helens.

Meeting ourselves

Waiting for the lights to change at the pedestrian crossing on Bickerstaffe Street, St.Helens approx 1975.

I was returning to the large building on the right which is the Gamble Institute and needed to finish the film I had been given at the photo department there.

I had been loaned a twin lens reflex camera and told to go for a walk and learn to use it.

I would not have printed a frame like this at the time as I would have considered it “too ordinary”.  With the passage of time it becomes more and more interesting, the clothes, the attitude, the smoking, the lack of smart phones…

Some of the people noticed a shy 14 year old with a funny looking camera pointed at them and responded, as is natural.  With time I have realised that capturing the “ordinary” is one of the greatest of photography’s gifts

Petrol at the YMCA

Fellow Cowley Boys 5th form pupils play for one night only at the YMCA in St.Helens town centre in 1978. I was asked along to record the evening by Les Glover one of the singers.

Petrol were opening for another band and the hall started to fill up as they played. I had to use flash as it was so dark, manual cameras and slow film were the tools at hand and compromise had to come somewhere.

It would have been good to photograph the audience as well, perhaps a modern dSLR or mirrorless camera and a time machine would finish the job.

Lunchtime in the 6th form canteen

Robert Williams being tolerant of my need to photograph things that don’t necessarily need photographing.
Cowley school St.Helens in either 1978 or 1979, the first mixed sixth form.

Changing room antics

The far changing room at Cowley boys school, St.Helens, 1976 or 1977.

Not the changing room used for filming the final changing room scene in the film “Chariots of fire” at the other end of the building a few years later. Timer exposure Lubitel II camera on a tripod.

Mrs Ellwood

“A” level Geography lesson underway in Cowley Boys Sixth Form Centre.


By the motion blur on the papers I would guess an exposure of approx 1/15th of a second at f2