Early morning plastics

Bakelite products from the  Patrick Cook collection, Brockley London late 1980s.
I met the artist Patrick Cook whilst volunteering at the Age Exchange in Blackheath. He very kindly let me photograph his studio and collection of early plastics, this is one of a few images based around egg cups.

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 Cheap even at the time this enabled me to buy short lengths of outdated film or chemicals for the darkroom.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.

Robert in Sheffield

Visiting Robert Williams in his college room at Sheffield University approx 1980. Robert is still wearing his school jumper in these pictures.

Jackie Topham

One of my fellow “last Diploma in Photography” students at Trent Polytechnic taken in approx 1980/81. After our year group the course changed to a degree level one as the Polytechnic moved towards becoming a University.

For some reason root vegetables were over represented in still life work, not sure why.

Jackie is using a Weston Euromaster light meter to work out exposure, an essential tool in fully manual photography. We were incredibly fortunate to learn all manual photography from the ground up.

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

Violin making


Part of a second year photo project at Trent Polytechnic to illustrate the courses available at Newark College. This was taken in the violin making school approx 1981/2.

I was accompanying the designer who was also a student and who would make the prospectus for the college. We had very little time in each department and building so was a bit rushed but going into the violin school there was an immediate sense of peace and I wanted to capture the calmness.

I had prints of these on the wall of my darkroom at Tony Stone Images, perhaps hoping that some of the feel of craftsmanship in them would rub off on me in some way!


Letting the glue set.

Dancing class

Image taken in the main hall of the Nottingham YMCA during a dancing class. Im drawn to this image as it is so “quiet”.

This was part of a second year photo documentary project at Trent Polytechnic. Taken in either 1981 or 1982.

In retrospect photographing the raw energy and chaos of the younger classes and the more refined formal dancing of the older classes gave me a spectrum of images reflective of life’s progression. 


The learning process
giving space to enjoyment

Ghent


I was in Ghent Belgium to learn about Barco Creator software for my job at Tony Stone Images.

Behind the hotel was a side street that looked very abandoned, too good to miss I took my tripod and Mamiya RB67 camera round at night to take a picture.

I shot on fuji Velvia film which made the image go bright green from the streetlight so I drained the colour and added atmosphere in Creator.

It reminds me of one of my favourite films: Malpertuis, a mythical story set in an indeterminate European country.

the nature of things

Surrounded by the intensity of nature, occasionally the blinkers are lowered. Hilly Fields park in Brockley London. (Its parallels with “The singing ringing tree” also strike a chord)

Jayne

Shot in (about)1985 on a pre war Voigtländer Brillant camera. Commision by Jayne (pictured) who designed hats. Tyrwhitt Road, Brockley, London.

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.

Waiting for the bus

Early morning routine, taking a bus into St.Helens town centre from a bus stop in Haydock. Late 1970s.

Mum would have been on her way into work as a cleaner at Blundells on the corner of Chapel Street and my sister Susan would have been on her way to Central Modern school on North Road. I would have a second journey from town to Cowley boys school, sometimes also by bus but most of the time by walking.

Part of the daily drudge to wake up early and walk three quarters of a mile to the bus stop, nice on sunny days not so much on a grey rainy day.

Industrial herritage

Some of the older industrial buildings for Pilkingtons Glass Works were still standing in the late 1970s.
St.Helens.