For a long time, PooterGeek’s homepage has been decorated with a school photo of me shot in, I think, 1979. I’ve taken the sensible advice of one of my readers and moved it. It’s still here, but on the “About” page where it doesn’t unbalance the new site design.
The original print from which the image is scanned is in focus, well lit, and correctly exposed. It’s also rubbish, in that it tells you very little about the little person in it at the time it was taken. It’s a straightforward and accurate record of my surface appearance back then, but otherwise it’s the kind of photographic portrait I try to avoid taking, even at formal occasions.
Via the frontpage of the Website of the Guardian [which I have resolved to stop linking to, following its publication yesterday of an opinion piece from Hamas], I found this Flickr collection of scanned images taken at around the same time at a comprehensive in London by a science teacher there. They aren’t rubbish. Many of them are superb.
A teacher at a comprehensive school in England and Wales almost certainly couldn’t take similar photos today. I’m even wondering how long it’ll be before the police are around to raid the photographer’s place and rummage through his negatives for anything “inappropriate”. The weekend before last, I phoned up the organisers of the Brighton Festival Children’s Parade to ask if I could bring along my camera, pointing the woman on the other end of the phone at my Website and telling her I had a CRB certificate. She said that it would be fine—it was a public event after all—but I should make sure that none of the children in my photographs could be recognized from them. I stayed at home.
I saw that as well – it’s been featured by a few newspapers recently I think?
They are truly great photos – and it’s a highly under-rated thing. I love photojournalism. There is nothing more fascinating than the banality of the past. I’d pay almost anything for good dull street shots of places that I know taken 20, 30 or 50 years ago.
I saw this lot a while ago and spent ages just studying the little details.
With you both on this. I adore portraiture and these are some of the best I’ve seen recently. (Love the fact they were gathering dust in the garage; oh to be so causal with my talents.)
My favourite book of portraits is the Bill Brandt one which I can pore over for hours at a time.
(PS Gratters on the spring-clean, Poot. It’s all looking lovely.)