All posts tagged: 1970’s

Fairground attraction 1970’s

Back in the late 1970’s, I would wander around my home city of Birmingham, camera in hand. At the time it was all Black-and-White work, self-developed and printed in a makeshift darkroom. I had different cameras to choose from, nothing exotic. I used twin lens reflex and 35mm. These images were from my 35mm camera probably on *400asa film hence the grain. *(I must check as I have the original negatives somewhere) The images below were from a sojourn to an impromptu fairground, many popped up like this around the city. This one appeared in Hay Mills, adjacent to the A45 near to Small Heath.

Victorian cast iron men's urinals under railway​ arches. Central Birmingham. Late 1970's

I talked yesterday of beauty in decay…

Yesterday  I reviewed the book ‘Beauty in Decay’. I mentioned in that review I was interested in this as a subject myself. I have very little work to show in this genre, despite being involved in urban renewal myself, which inevitably meant the destruction of these buildings. Way back then, sadly,  I didn’t carry a camera wherever I went. That’s a great regret to me – and should be a lesson to us all. However, in the mid to late 70’s I did get the occasional frame which indicated my leanings in this direction. I post three here. I hope they interest you. At an exhibition of some of my work back in the 70’s a critic said I was from the “dustbin school”. I was offended back then, I would take that as a compliment today. The image at the top of the page shows a Victorian, cast iron, men’s urinal in central Birmingham. It was placed underneath the railway arches on the approaches to New St Station, near to the Bullring. I returned …

Navvie Birmingham

Four connected portraits.

I have chosen 4 of my pictures, all of which are over 40 years old, in order to show ‘related’ images. Odd you may think, but this choice reflects my desire to return to what I saw then. Not what I actually saw, you understand, but more my ability to see something else. Yes, they are out of focus. Yes, they are grainy. Yes, they may have been treated with a heavy hand when scanning and printing. All of these are faults by modern day standards. And yet, for me,  these images manage to contain some of what todays ultra-sharp, perfectly exposed and wonderfully printed images lack, That ‘Je ne sais quoi’ that I’m struggling to regain. Perhaps it’s the magic of time passing which has provided that curious, mysterious essence. Or maybe it’s just that these characters aren’t around anymore; disappeared from our more homogenised society. Who knows. It goes without saying they were shot on film. All Black and White. One, the Navvie, was shot on 6×6 the others on 35mm. And all …