Category Archives: Publication

Peter Dench — Trawlermen

In 1998, Photojournalist Peter Dench spent five days onboard The Allegiance, a 60 foot UK Scarborough-based trawler, fishing the North Sea, with a crew of five.  The future has since become extremely bleak for the English Trawlermen; huge areas of the North Sea have been declared ‘off limits’ and fishing quotas have been slashed in an attempt to rescue dwindling North Sea stocks from the point of extinction. These measures have jeopardised the jobs of those in the industry and put dependent towns, like Scarborough, on the brink of ruin. Dench returned to The Allegiance in 2005 to be reunited with the crew and to find out how the decline of the North Sea fishing industry has affected their lives.

“Being a Trawlermen is  tough; you spend weeks at sea and the income is unpredictable. Sleep is sporadic and the small bunks lie under the water line jammed next to the engine room. A metal box alone on the sea can deliver a feeling of vulnerability; in terms of fatalities, it’s the most dangerous job in the Britain.” Peter Dench

“Going to sea is like going to prison, with a chance at drowning besides” Samuel Johnson

Trawlermen was published today by Café Royal Books.

Please support Peter’s Kickstarter campaign which will allow him to publish a recent project, The British Abroad.

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John Claridge, Over 50 Years of Archived Work

On the 30th of August 2012 I published the first of what has become a long series of books by John Claridge.  John worked through the ‘Golden Age’ of advertising, for many international big name brands. With each commercial project though, John found time to make some work for himself.

John grew up in the East End of London, and it’s there that we began with our books. Some images and details below, more will follow as I slowly create an archive for Café Royal Books.

This text has been written by John Chillingworth and Helena Srakocic-Kovac and details significant moments of his career.

 At about the age of eight, John’s life-long passion for photography that was born when he spotted a plastic camera at a local funfair in London’s East End, where he was born in 1944. He just had to win it, it was as simple as that. Knowing that possessing the camera would let him take home all the memories of that day.

There is always something new to appreciate about ‘ground-breaking’ professional photography. John Chillingworth wrote in his series evaluating photography’s ‘greats’, that he has seldom, if ever, met someone with the same natural creative needs as the good and great of earlier generations. Whatever the rule, John Claridge is the exception.

Another case of déja vu?  An East End education (or lack of it).  Left school at 15 – talked his way into his first job in photography and the rest is history!

Well, no! John Claridge is, in every way, a one-off.   True, the boy from Plaistow, with a handful of ‘jack-the-lad’ cultural contemporaries could have drifted into dead-end employment, or brushes with the law, or worse, but there was something different about him.

As a consequence, in 1960, at the behest of the West Ham Labour Exchange, he dressed in his best East End ‘duds’. With hair plastered a jaunty angle and armed only with a bucketful of determination, the boy from Plaistow went ‘up West’. The interview resulted in a job at McCann-Erickson in the Photographic Department.

He strode forward with the kind of youthful exuberance, which college-educated contemporaries often failed to comprehend, let alone emulate, Claridge grew in stature.

During the two years he worked at McCanns, not only did he have his first one-man show,  he was inspired by many, namely the legendary designer Robert Brownjohn. His work that was exhibited at this first one-man show was acclaimed in the photographic press as ‘shades of Walker Evans’.

At seventeen he turned up on the doorstep of Bill Brandt’s Hampstead home – to give him one of his treasured prints.  Gentle and polite, Brandt invited him in;  sought the young Claridge’s opinion on his current work and sent him away feeling ten feet high.

Recommended by established photographers and art directors, he became David Montgomery’s assistant between the ages of fifteen and seventeen.

By the tender age of nineteen he had opened his own studio near London’s St Paul’s Cathedral. His ideas and his images matured rapidly.   A mix of editorial and advertising commissions brought him and his easy confidence to the attention of 1960s advertising trend-setters. The result of which has been the presentation of over 700 awards for his work.

His by-line became familiar in many of the monthly magazines of the day and his reputation began to move from a national to an international level.

By the age of twenty-three, as well as having a home on the Essex marshes and a de rigueur E-type Jaguar, although his real sporting love was and still is the motorbike, he had written, produced and shot a short film titled  “Five Soldiers”.   An American Civil War tale which, when shown on a university campus in the US, caused a riot among the students as it was compared with the war in Vietnam   …  the press said compared the film tp Luis Buñuel.   The film was eventually banned but made its way onto the underground circuit.

He realises now that he had been working in the ‘golden age of advertising’, and as the years melted into decades, the commissions took him around the world.   Tourist boards in the Bahamas, India and the US recognised his highly individual visual talent. Banks, whisky distillers, international corporations, car manufacturers, all were (and still are) prepared to give him his head to creative images that inspired their ad agency art directors to greater and more stunning campaigns.   The result of which has been the presentation of over 700 awards for his work.

John’s work has moved on over recent years.   Here is what eminent photography critic and historian Helena Srakocic-Kovac recently had to say about John’s work:   “When you decided to pull back from advertising  …  which, I think, is such a shame because you revolutionised it and elevated it to an art form  …  you have been substituting it with work of equivalent value, guts and visual strength but so very different  …   so much to see  …   to me at times it appears as if it’s not yours  …  unstructured and scattered in its beauty  …  you used to tell stories and now it’s more about feelings and moments in life  …”

His work is held in museums and private collections worldwide, including The Arts Council of Great Britain, Victoria & Albert Museum, National Portrait Gallery and The Museum of Modern Art.

He has also published several books under his own imprint:

·       South American Portfolio (1982)
·       One Hundred Photographs (1988)
·       Seven Days in Havana (2000)
·       8 Hours (2002)
·       In Shadows I Dream (2003)
·       Silent Ballads (2013)
·       Seven Days in Havana – Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7 – seven volumes (2013)
·       Presenting Clowns – Act 1 (2013)
·       Paintings (2014)
·       Tommy Cooper (2014)
·       Tuscany (2014)
·       The Last Ride (2014)

Text ©John Chillingworth and Helena Srakocic-Kovac. Photographs © John Claridge. Books in the images© Café Royal Books.

Original prints, lithographs and books can be purchased through Nicky Akehurst. Further prints for sale.

Another Time Another Place
John Claridge
2012
28 pages
14cm x 20cm
b/w digital
Numbered edition of 100

Along the Thames
John Claridge
2012
28 pages
14cm x 20cm
b/w digital
Numbered edition of 100

 

Talking Picture no. 1: Polyfoto – Daniel Meadows

This week Daniel Meadows updated his movie stream on Vimeo with ‘Talking Picture no. 1: Polyfoto‘.

Back to the beginning…

This method of taking a photograph, in a booth much like a passport photo strikes me as something that could do well today. Perhaps a revival of the Polyfoto booth? Someone like Lomography could surely do that. Surprisingly, there seems to be little information online regarding Polyfoto. Here are a couple of links that are available:
Company info site
Flickr Polyfoto pool
Photo Detective

‘Talking Picture no. 1: Polyfoto’ is the sixth release in a series of 40 weekly releases.

Daniel Meadows - Polyfoto

I’m working with Daniel on a series of eight books, the first of which, Stockport Gypsies 1971, will be released in January. It can be pre-ordered now as part of the January subscription.

Screenshot 2014-11-26 16.29.57