Time and Laughter


It was either 1984 or ’85 when I exposed this piece of Ilford HP5 film with my Olympus XA. Summertime in Manchester and I had just arrived from my travels. I went into town to join in the fun of the carnival on a typical northern summer’s day. The little Olympus allowed me to get real close and although I had only just discovered the term street photography I enjoyed being among the people and recording life as it happens and as I saw it.

Who knows what the joke was, but those two appeared to have had a great time. Who knows where they were from, where they were going and what became of them. All I know is that this photograph, even today, makes me smile. This image lay in my negatives folder for all those years and I only recently scanned and archived most of them from that time.

Since I never willingly part with any photograph I have created, I surely will find some more treasures. And when a photograph could be the only evidence of a person’s existence on this planet I find it difficult to understand a scenario on how easily images are disposed of today, especially photographs of people. So thinking back to that summer of Blue Monday and Live Aid, the Hacienda, the Dutch Pancake House and the real community spirit that was so tangible in Manchester then, I am convinced those things played their part in making this city my second home and seeing this image from all those years ago transports me right back to that time. The power of imagination indeed gives you wings.


For a while now I have been dwelling on the concept of time in art. Several famous old masters took years to complete one painting. But photography is different than painting though, right? Or is it? Maybe the difference is not in photography but in our modern culture and in our perceived need to rush? To be the fastest, the best, the biggest, the strongest, the most popular and as the next image is already calling to be uploaded onto the worldwideweb, I cannot help but wonder if more of us would benefit from moving much, much slower. I know that I have slowed down, involuntary by getting older and voluntary by re-discovering pinhole photography for example, I have benefited a great deal from this change in pace. I see more and I experience more.


This is not a guarantee of success of course and I don’t think the fact that this image percolated along for all those years makes it a masterpiece of any type or another, but it survived and it is here to tell it’s tale of time and laughter to all those who care to look and listen without skimming past.


So as I enjoy this image once again and remember a time when things mattered, time had real value and when people mattered I can’t help but feel that today we are more alone than ever, but luckily there is a pill for almost anything.


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