I’m loving these brief encounters with people in Chesterfield. I was photographing a shop owner when this chap came by. He made some comment about me taking his photo and how he needed to straighten his hair or something. Usually when they say “make sure you get my best side!” I reply with “Aye go on then bend over !” and hopefully they laugh. A sense of humour often helps I find. Having lived in Chesterfield all my life I like to think I know what I can get away with. This chap had a sparkle in his eyes. He made a point of telling me he was from Matlock about eight miles West of Chesterfield. Folk often tell you exactly where they’re from even if it’s just eight miles away. I made to take his image to which he said he was only joking, “No I’m serious I want to” and I got this. I thought he had character and personality.
More recently I’ve been making opportunities to make what I’m calling ‘street portraits’. Images of people I’m encountering and having brief conversations with while out and about. More often than not these will be folk from my home town of Chesterfield. I explain what I’m doing and why I’m doing it, some get it and some are a little perplexed. That’s ok, I can cope with that. I’ve lived in Chesterfield all my life apart from an eighteen month stint when I was practically living in London for work purposes. Documenting my home town is an obvious thing to do, as a wannabe social documentary photographer why wouldn’t I. I see Chesterfield in many ways as a microcosm of England with all it’s current problems. It’s a very parochial town. A white working class enclave. There are drug problems, homelessness and a continuing line of the unemployed and unemployable. There aren’t many blacks and there aren’t many Muslims although there are places of worship for both these sections of the community.
Over the coming weeks I’m going to be talking a lot more about Chesterfield. I hope you approve.
In the meantime check out Ryan Hardman whose documenting Plymouth and doing some really good stuff.
All in all for me personally it’s been a pretty bum year, a two out of ten year, an Annus Horribilis which roughly translated means an arse of a year. New Year’s Eve provides us with a chance to reflect, look back in anger and dismay and put two fingers up to it. Ok so in mother nature and space time continuum etc it’s just another day. The world keeps turning, day follows night, the sun rises the sun sets. Scientists have predicted the world is not set to end just yet. Psychologically New Years Eve gives us that opportunity to hopefully turn the last page on Chapter 2018 and start a new chapter called 2019.
So here dear reader should you be interested is my Highlights and Lowlights of 2018 and my thoughts on the forthcoming 2019 from my perspective here in jolly old England.
Back on 23 June 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union following the then Prime Minister David Cameron’s promise to his right wing Conservative allies that he’d call an EU Referendum if they would similarly help him retain power as Conservative Leader and Prime Minister. Not bargaining on the UK voting to leave, despite his promise that he would continue as Prime Minister whatever the result he promptly resigned. In steps Theresa May as new PM expected to go into a room in Brussels and strike a bargain with 27 Europeans on the exact terms of the divorce settlement who have quite categorically stated that the UK will not be allowed to “cherry pick” the best bits of the European Union. Since that fateful day in 2016 the country has been thrown into political chaos and it shows no sign of getting any better. The truth of the matter is that absolutely nobody, not even our own Government knows exactly what will happen on the day we do leave the EU sometime in 2019 and the weeks to follow. It’s an absolute mess shrouded in mystery wrapped up in newspaper at the bottom of a dustbin.
You kinda wake up each morning wondering what the next bit of bile is going to spew forth from Trump’s mealy mouth. The lunatic really has taken over the asylum ! Intelligent nice Americans are left wondering how their country arrived at such a sorry state while the rest of the world looks on in utter bewildered bemusement. When good thinking people are concerned with dismantling walls this shit on a stick wants to build one.
America’s wake up call, that there were parts of the world that didn’t like its rampant capitalism, was the evil and horrendous Lockerbie Bombing 30 years ago one December night in 1988. As usual in any conflict it’s the innocent who pay the price. The problem was that this nightmare happened in a far off land, a place no doubt where a lot of Americans could not pinpoint on a map. So it took 9/11 and America continues with the resulting identity crisis and insecurities. Along comes the self absorbed Trump to capitalise on an America at war with itself and its neighbours. Trump’s defence is always attack but it won’t last, it can’t last. Even now he’s struggling to get people to work for him. It’s a sorry state of affairs for a great nation but 2019 looks to be more of the same.
Sport – The World Cup
It was a hot summer here. Not since 1976 have we enjoyed such prolonged spells of hot weather. The reservoirs started to dry up. The World Cup and Gareth Southgate took England as far as the Semi Final. They gave as good as they could but they weren’t quite good enough. Too many goals scored from set pieces for my liking. Nevertheless some pride in our National Team was restored. Just on thing though ! It’s not coming home until the final whistle of the Final and England have won ! ….ya morons ! The next World Cup won’t be so easy as teams like Germany, Argentina, Brasil and Italy won’t be prepared to make the same mistakes again. England will have to be better.
I quite like Cher, she seems a fun lady and she’s not a bad singer but hell she butchered Abba songs. It was embarrassing. A real turn the radio off I can’t stand it any longer moment.
Ok so it was published in 2017 but I didn’t discover this until this year. Mercury Prize Winners
Wolf Alice – Don’t Delete the Kisses –
Killing Eve and an absolutely sublime performance from Jodie Comer
Happy New Year Everyone