Trinity House boys

Taken in the old Paragon Bus Station, one of my first photographs, it’s just an experiment really, testing out a long lens, but Clee liked it. So he printed it up for me.
This was my first realisation that these little strips of negatives once magnified on to paper could give you interesting compositions and tell intriguing stories. But the biggest surprise of all was the power of black and white photography to transform the world of the everyday.

I’ve since been told these boys art not from Trinity House but from a rival nautical school. Does anyone know any different? Please post comments.


The Revolution starts in five

Queen’s Gardens
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:

Or see the other posts in this blog


‘Pals’ Trawlermen

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


Brighton Street

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:


The Old Guard

The Theatre Tavern

Taken in The Theatre Tavern Queen’s Gardens, a pub that sadly is no longer with us. A fabulous boozer that let in lots of natural light that I thought might make for some dramatic portraits. I suppose I could have titled it ‘God’s waiting room’. They seem quite stoical, waiting for the inevitable, speeded up no doubt by the roll your own fags that never seemed to leave their lips. And you couldn’t cheat the Grim Reaper by claiming you never smoked, you were probably on 40 a day as a passive smoker judging by the blue fug in most bars.

Just one of the stories from one of the photographs at the exhibition.

Details here:
Venue details HIP Gallery here:


The Hippodrome Circus

Hula Hoops
Hula Hoops

The Hippodrome Circus Gt Yarmouth is a special and unique building, over 100 years old, the original mechanism is still used to flood the arena to create a giant water circus. Backstage is a place of light and shadow, packed with backdrops, mechanisms, ropes and pulleys, photographs and original artwork, the glamour and the detritus of a working circus.

Emerging from dressing rooms the performers warm up before their entrances. Their exercises sometimes seem longer than their performances. They are concentrated, intense, in a world of their own, seemingly unreachable. But then the children of the performers appear. They are played with, entertained, loved, and looked after. This is a place of families.

I wanted to capture the intensity of a performance and the quiet moments of aloneness. The Limelight and the shadows.

#TheHippodromeGtYarmouth #Circus


Barton Broad

Barton Broad
Barton Broad

This was a wonderful morning, misty but very still. But I was late and had to paddled like mad in my canoe  from the other side of the Broad before the atmosphere disappeared. Paddling in a panic I took various shots from different angles but started to relax, feeling pretty pleased with what I was capturing.

Then I realized the camera was on the lowest possible quality setting. The atmosphere may have been calm but the language was blue. More frantic paddling around to places I’d already photographed to capture something usable before the light went.

When I show this photograph people often remark being a landscape photographer is a very nice way to earn a living.

They should have been sat with me in the canoe!


Sea horses Hunstanton

Sea horses : Hunstanton
Sea horses : Hunstanton

I was testing a long lens on the beach near Hunstanton, it was very misty. A Sea Roke we call it in Yorkshire, Norfolk people have their own term.

The beach was empty except for the lone dog walker. I thought if I focus on the figure and the dog lead is sharp then the lens I was testing will have passed mustard.

Out of the mist came the riders, I took the photograph without hesitation. I think it’s a strange composition, but it certainly has proved popular with a lot of people. Barnham Broom hotel have a large print of it hanging in their Brasserie.

More images on my website or contact Bircham Gallery Holt or The Gardenhouse Gallery Cromer.


The mussel beds Hunstanton

The mussel beds : Hunstanton
The mussel beds : Hunstanton

I camped overnight to try and capture a photograph I’d seen taken by another photographer of the green seaweed covered  boulders on the beach at Hunstanton. When I went down to the beach this is what I saw, all thoughts of green boulders disappeared.

I found out later these eerie structures were mussel beds, and more importantly I discovered their history.

William the Conqueror granted the rights to these mussel beds to the LeStrange family of Hunstanton in perpetuity. It was a reward and recognition of their loyalty and support in his invasion of England. These rights are unique along the English coast.

The area is defined by how far a man on horseback can hurl a spear into the sea at low tide.

In the 1950s the rights were disputed and the case went as far as the House of Lords. Apparently their ruling was “which part of  ‘in perpetuity’ didn’t you understand?”

So the case was thrown out.


Our island history still made visible.

More of these images can be seen in my Norfolk portfolio section on my website

These images are also available from

The gardenhouse gallery Cromer

The Bircham Gallery Holt



The Kiss


The Kiss One of the images from Barlife now showing at HIP
The Kiss. Milano

The Kiss

This photograph was unexpected. I wasn’t in the bar for long which was dark and noisy and held not much promise. It wasn’t until later that I realized I had captured something special.

A sudden moment of passion, and human existence is caught in an instant; I didn’t know how I felt about the image, it isn’t the kind of photograph I would set out to capture.

I like the intrigue of the composition, the kiss dominates, but the couple close to us also have an unfolding story, and then there is someone alone on the edge of light.

What’s the story here?

Grab your opportunities while you can my friend and, do it with passion, be Italian, or remain on the outside, an observer like the figure in the shadows.

You might have an opinion of photographing people in public places?

I would like to hear it.

Some Barlife images now on show at The Gallery Norfolk 60 St Giles, Norwich and also available from the Bircham Gallery Holt

More Barlife images here: