Last week I was asked by a friend and lecturer if I would be willing to let 40 students descend upon the Mining Institute to see what is hidden amongst the piles of photographic materialin the strong room.
They came, they saw, they gasped, laughed and those to cool for school…… yawned !!!!
Keeping everything very informal, I chose to lay the images on view on a large table, as I would for an edit. This gave everybody a chance to view, stand and discuss the material. Most of which has never been seen by anyone since the images were made. I once read in the book ‘On looking at photographs’ – A conversation with Bill Jay and David Hurn, when showing an audience work you must always try and show them something they have never seen before. Well I think that box is firmly ticked as far as content is concerned.
One image that caught the eye of most was The photographers wife and her cat. The image shows that life in the North East during the 70’s wasn’t all overcast days and dirty miners to follow this, Idea I began looking for something that was not Miners I found a series portraits showing the managers of the coal board (serious no no for the working man to acknowledge) but still a very important document and some of their secretaries. So standard but yet so beautiful, as each manager/secretary either tries to convey or hold back personality.
Text: Aaron Guy Images: Copyright NEMIPA© & Antony Chambers