Exploring ‘Work’

(From my original post here – MA Falmouth)


In September I found myself in a print works, in October a steelworks, cotton mill and woollen mill.  There was no project in mind, just that I have always been interested in history and heritage, and early technologies and working practices fascinate me.   Over the years I have visited mines for lead, coal, tin, glassworks, print works, cable works, mills, workshops, factories etc. I do not know very much, but I gain something from visiting, learning and (inevitably) taking photographs.

As a school pupil, I visited a car factory on a school trip in the early 1980s – Longbridge – unfortunately we were not allowed to take photographs at the time.  Then when I moved from the South to the North in the 1980s I lived in a small flat with a working colliery at the bottom of the road.  Since then, I have had one or two employed jobs that have involved visiting manufacturing places and as a result have been in various types of factory as a visitor.

I have always had to work hard, perhaps that is why I go to these sites, to reinforce an appreciation that my concept of hard work is very different from the physical hard labour of the past, but also to appreciate that many people around the world are still risking their lives on a daily basis and that this type of work is not a museum piece for them.

There is a darkness to many of these photographs with abstracted shapes and shadows of machinery.