Ferry cross the Mersey

Setting off from Liverpool dockside on the Ferry to New Brighton

 

 

St.Helens, my home town is about half way between Manchester and Liverpool. I don’t recall many trips to either city but this (rare for me) 1970s colour image shows me departing from Liverpool and heading towards New Brighton on the ferry.

I must have been 3 or 4 years old when I first saw a large body of water. It was the Mersey Estuary seen from the docks. In that one moment I remember being completely overwhelmed seeing the waves dancing with the wind and the sheer scale of the scene in front of me filled me with awe.


Chariots of fire

Olympic changing room scene filmed at Cowley boys school

The Summer of 1979 being the end of secondary education for me it was a treat when a film company used the school as a location in the final week of term. Being a little less than honest in saying “I was from the school magazine” I was fortunate that the director Hugh Hudson allowed me to photograph the scene he was filming in the changing room. This was destined to be the Paris Olympics changing room towards the end of the film “Chariots of fire”. Click on the image to see the whole sequence from 1979.

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 Cheap even at the time this enabled me to buy short lengths of outdated film or chemicals for the darkroom.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

Jackie Topham, studio setup, Trent Polytechnic early 1980s.

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

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