I recently had the opportunity to photograph Lucille Scott (aka The Iron Maiden) working at her blacksmiths forge in the Eastney area of Portsmouth, Hampshire (UK). Lucille, who trained at the Hereford College of Technology, is one of the very few female blacksmiths (if that is the sex-appropriate word) working in the United Kingdom. She produces bespoke ironwork both for architectural use and as works of art, as well as teaching her craft.
My home town of Southampton is a multicultural city and major seaport. It is also a young city where around one in every eight of its population is a student. It is not surprising therefore that there is an active LGBT community but it has not held a ‘gay pride’ event for more than a decade. That was put right recently when a parade through the main shopping area was held, complete with whistle blowing, banner waving and a lot of good natured fun.
The other day I was looking for a archived disk of wedding images when I stumbled across an old CD containing images in black and white of a film I shot at the Southampton Mela in 2003. For those of you who don’t know the best way I can describe a mela is it is a bit like a village fete which takes place in many communities in the Asian subcontinent. Southampton, with its large Punjabi community, holds an annual mela which is enjoyed by people of all ethnicities, both young and old. It is a place to enjoy the company of friends, to dance and to eat good ‘street food’ – in brief, a place to let yourself go!
I have been unable to find the original film which I had scanned at the time of processing, so it was most probably Kodak T-max 400CN which was my film of choice at the time, and I was shooting with a Leica M6. In total there were 38 frames on the film, and I only shot the one film: this is know because of the disk numbers before and after. I have made a selection of 9 of the images (i.e. roughly one in four) because I shot multiple frames of the people dancing to ensure that I captured ‘the moment’. Here they are, and I hope they capture the flavour of that day back in 2003:
I took a brief visit to Stokes Bay near Gosport (Hampshire) last week to have morning coffee with my wonderful sister Brenda, who is now 85 and has problems walking. It was a glorious hot summers day, and whilst waiting for her to walk to the cafe I captured a quick image of a man looking out to sea using my Leica M9 and 35mm Summarit-M f2.5 lens. I am delighted to say that the image (below) has been published on the National Geographic website as one of their ‘Daily Dozen’ best images. It just shows that to take good photos you need to have your camera with you!
THE CONVERSATION: Two Indian men converse together at the Southampton Mela in 2003.
Whilst hunting for something else I came across a disk of fairly low resolution scans of a film I shot in 2003 at the Southampton Mela. I have no idea what has happened to the negatives, but fortunately the scans are good enough for internet use. This is the first I have posted from that disk. All I know for certain is that it was taken on a Leica M6 with 50mm Summicron f2, and it would have been a C41 process black and white film.
Despite their differences, all faiths have rituals of birth, marriage, death etc. and I am beginning to work on a photographic project to show through the photographic images that in these ways the various religions are closer than we would believe.
If you are a member of a church or temple in the UK that would be willing to co-operate with me please could you contact me. Thank you!