I was surprised by this photograph, a fast shutter speed freezes something we never see, the delicate balance, the fine judgement of the man on the Flying Trapeze.
It’s a life and death act we take for granted, but here he is frozen almost in hesitation. His left hand delicately poised. Is the bar where it should be to make it safely back?
The catcher’s face seems to be sharing the same thought. If he’s got it wrong we’ll all know in the next split second.
But they hardly ever get it wrong, they are so practiced they make it look easy, so we take it all for granted.
But just now, in this second, his life hangs in all its fragility in mid air and darkness.
I thought I might have a Cartier Bresson ‘Decisive moment’ here, something to do with the brevity of childhood and the inevitable brutality of the future.
It’s a kid in a pram and a butcher carrying some carcasses.
Now what strikes me is you don’t get prams like this any more, and where is the kid’s mam anyway? Popped into the shops? These days we don’t dare leave prams with children alone, and just as unacceptable would be the state of the butchers white coat, not to mention carrying bloodied carcasses in full view of the public down a busy street.
But that’s how we lived at the time.
The Anchor Pub Hessle Road
So he’s Bruce and she’s Anita… at least I hope she is. Three weeks out at sea and three days home must have made for whirlwind romances.
How did they manage it?
He looks like ‘Jack the Lad’ and his hair style is fabulous, something of the sea surely, and thank goodness for narrow ties, they don’t date. Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack wore them to stunning effect with white shirts and suits.
So maybe that’s the attraction then, sharp dressed, dangerous men in suits with money to spend… if only for three days.
This story has a sequel. The image was seen in the Daily Mail. A young lady wrote in to say it was her dad and the girlfriend was his wife, the young lady’s mum . So Bruce and Anita stayed together and raised a family.
Then a daughter-in-law wrote in to say Anita and Bruce were married for nearly 50 years – wonderful story.
Please get in touch I would love to hear from you – I think I owe somebody a photograph!
David – email: email@example.com
The river we once knew Exhibition on at the HIP Gallery Princes Quay until 24 June
See my website for more details http://davidmorrisphotographer.com/River_Hull.html and the rest of this section in the Blog
I liked the way both the child and the dog looked at me from their open front doors, both curious but accepting, standing on their doorsteps as equals, quietly confident in their right to be there.
The image felt a bit sad to me. We lived on Bilton Grange a relatively new housing estate; it was all fresh air, green verges, trees and parks. A place of bright hope after the Second World War.
These streets seemed a shabby place to live in comparison. But they held communities who looked out for each other.
When they knocked Hessle Road about and moved the families that had lived there for generations to the big estates like Bransholme it wasn’t a success.
They ended up pulling newly built houses down because people didn’t want to live in a neighbourhood without neighbours.
In the Paragon Pub… I think
Smoke your roll ups right to the tip, drain your glass of all its beer, stay in the pub ’til the Landlord slings you out. Enjoy every pleasure you can, while you can, because Sunny Jim, there’s not a lot of it about – and maybe not a lot of time left, if the cross in the wood next to him is any kind of a clue.
Hull was always a city that seemed to face tough times and only brief rewards, but the trick was – always dress smart.
Just one of the photographs on show at HIP Gallery 2 June – 24 June.
See the rest of this section for more details
The Anchor Pub Hessle Road
We had to choose ‘Archetypes’ for a college project. I settled on ‘Deckie Learners’.
I remember being disappointed that this chap Mick didn’t have the right hairstyle – a greased quiff with the ducks-arse finish.
I wanted him to fit an image I had of what a Deckie Learner should be.
They had a reputation for being tough and big drinkers who could cause trouble, so I posed him against the bar and asked him to look mean… but he was holding a half pint, another disappointment.
It’s a dishonest attempt at a portrait.
But Mick transcends all that with his own honesty.
A young man in an immaculate suit, out to celebrate his short-lived wealth. Simply pleased to be where he was, young and alive and cash in his pocket.
His immaculate suit with its pleated back and wide waistband, white socks and loafers, a jubilant celebration of his tribe.
A lady called Ven who I met at the Preview night of the exhibition told me that she worked at Sidney Scarborough as a young women and that they had coined the phrase ‘Three day millionaires’. She said that as soon as the crews were off the boat a lot of them were in to Sydney Scarborough’s to buy music before they even got home. And of course they were loaded with money, so the staff coined the phrase.
The Student Revolution in Hull in the late 60’s and early 70’s was good natured and a largely peaceful affair. I realised the second the young man turned round I had the shot, I suddenly felt like a proper photojournalist. Does this photograph tell us anything other than this was an optimistic time.
The young felt they could do anything, change the world, overturn the system, make a better place for people to live.
Now when I look at all those split ends I can only marvel at the revolution that’s changed the world of hair products.
Just one of the photographs on show at HIP Gallery Hull Preview 2 June 6.30pm to 8.30pm
More details here: http://davidmorrisphotographer.com/River_Hull.html
Or see the other posts in this blog
The Anchor Pub Hessle Road
I think they were a bit embarrassed at being photographed in a way that seems unimaginable now. Today everyone photographs everyone else and then they photograph themselves.
I don’t think they could understand why I wanted to take pictures of them, why I found them interesting?
Years later I was out drinking with a two older trawlermen, one of them was the dad of a friend of mine. He was a big tough man with a sense of humour, and could start fights in far flung bars just out of sheer boredom to see what would happen. He was going back to sea at some ghastly hour early the following morning, I asked him how he felt about that, he said, “It’s funny, but even after all these years I still feel frightened.”
That’s why these men are interesting, but I wouldn’t know it at the time. All I could see where a couple of lads who could drink a lot.
Just one of the photographs on show at The HIP Gallery Hull Exhibition ‘The river we once knew’
See this link for details or the previous posts http://davidmorrisphotographer.com/River_Hull.html
This photograph looks like something taken in the blitz not 1973. These buildings were being demolished, part of slum clearance, or urban regeneration to give it its posh title. They set fire to the buildings first to clear them of wooden structures to make them easier to pull down. Kids watched with interest, fascinated by the fire and demolition. That was a time when they all played in the street together. There seemed to be no prohibition in going into the buildings which they all did including me.
I’m not sure if anyone had heard of Health & Safety. Now you are told flowing streams might be deep and the hot water in your basin might be… well hot.
These kids found out for themselves how the world worked.
Part of ‘ The river we once knew’ Exhibition at HIP Gallery Hull. Just one of the photographs on show with their stories.
See other Hull posts for details or this link: http://davidmorrisphotographer.com/River_Hull.html