Bikes, trains, hitch-hiking and photography
The above photo was the first of my photos published that I could put my name to. I was the day I began a transition from activism to photography. I was beginning to play with the idea that it was something that I’d like to do and that day I made an effort to concentrate on the pictures. Though the activism continued, I also began travelling to places specifically to take pictures. I picked easy targets at first: carnivals, traditional events, happenings, protests, though I did also travel to other cities to take pictures in the street but there my timidness ensured that the results were meagre.
Previously I had just photographed my world which centred on punk music and moving around to different places in the UK and Europe piggy-backing on friends’ band tours and protest, principally the anti-war and animal-rights movements. I would hitch round the country to visit peace camps and take pictures, and then aged 17 I launched-out to hitch to Berlin, where I stayed in the elegant squats of Kreuzburg. I wanted to see the wall and set out with next to no money. The journey was great, and with its high points, sometimes life was a was like movie. The photographs were not that great if I recall, but I haven’t seen since I took them.
When I allowed myself to be absorbed into the evangelical Jesus Army for a while it was curiosity that drove me and it was the stories I had to tell and the observations that I made that were interesting, not the pictures really. A fascinating world to move through as an adolescent, often sharing time with other adolescents who were growing up in the community. Often I felt invisible, and my timidness with the camera helped me to maintain that anonymity, and the pictures (6×6 and 35mm b&w) were few.
Later I would have more success finding the balance between taking pictures and remaining as invisible as possible, but in the meantime I found solace in the joy of taking pictures in half distracted crowds of folk in fields and streets.
Northampton · 1987
Corby · 1987
The Haxey Hood Game
Tar Barrel Rolling – Ottery St Mary, Devon
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