Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Social History

Sometimes you come across a photographer who really makes you stop and look - and think.   James Ravilious is one such person.  Ravilious photographed rural life and landscapes (mostly around Devon) in the 1970s, 80s and 90s and he was pretty darn good at what he does - if you have a spare minute you could click here to see his work.

I'm warming to this sort of photography - it's slow and thoughtful and doesn't require any special props or events.  It kind of just depicts life and the world as it is.  The more I look back at photographs I've taken from 30 years ago the more I see the value of photography as means of documenting social history.  I wish I'd taken a lot more snaps back then - of mundane stuff like buildings and places as well as people.

Here's a couple of snaps from 1984, taken during a visit to The Wirral with my Uni mate Simon.  Not that these are anything like Ravilious's work but they remind me of good times and there is a little social history present in them.  Here is Simon, hamming it up, with his girlfriend at the time, Bev, showing her appreciation.  I like the guy coming out of the shop with his loaf of bread.

Woodchurch Estate, Wirral, 1984
Pity I cut their legs off, but no-one's perfect.   I remember going across the Mersey (on the ferry, naturally) - by the look of things this snap must have been taken as we approached the terminal.

The Wirral, 1984
While I haven't been back to The Wirral for many years I'm sure it looks a little different nowadays.  When I see photographs like these I'm reminded how transitory it all is - and how today's ordinary can become tomorrow's interesting.  So - I'm off and about with the camera to take some ordinary snaps - who knows, in 30 years time they might even be interesting!


  1. So true, and something along the same lines as I have been touching in the earlier posts of my own blog as well. I got a good bunch of negatives from back in time, but there's also a lot that's not there. I suspect they are in my fathers big archive, so need to take a trip over there and have a serious look through them! Great shots, even though I don't know the place at all...!

  2. Every time I look at older negatives it reminds me to get out there and shoot some film. Things change, people change and what is mundane today is interesting tomorrow. And I need to remind myself to Always Carry a Camera.

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