Living room at Yuri and Tonya, May 2018

I went on a photography workshop to London about Peckham and it's social history. It made me really think about why I am doing this series, one of the things that both that workshop and a recent contemporaries exhibition: Kevin Casey a fellow participant in Redeye Photography's Residency: Lightbox 2018 recent exhibition is set and based around a St Helens now defunct Pilkingtons Glass, it reminded me that I needed to photograph around the series more and more. Meeting the participants to go through scrapbooks and have cups of tea at home. 

The process of getting to know past performers and their histories feels strangely intimate and somehow intrusive as a photographer to listen to memories and capture an image pays homage in this instance. Celebrating that peoples stories are the most interesting of all. What you read about people is hidden away, finding the essence through a picture requires time. To be allowed into a life.



LIVING ROOM AND YURI AND TONYA, MAY 2018
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An Eventful Month

​This month has been eventful co-ordinating individuals back into spaces they performed in most notably the Tower Circus. Working around current rehearsals and taking the time for the participants of the #retiredperformers series to have the experience of going back to the place they had begun their career.

The project itself is developing through the participants involvement, who they are and what their memories evoke. I spent some time this month with Blackpool Museum at their coffee morning where I met Karl Bartoni the only person to have performed an escape act hung from his feet from the top of Blackpool Tower. Karl began his career as a Circus Boy at The Tower, looking after the horses and then the polar bears.

The series of images is making me think about my own photograph practice and I am keen to include personal archives and portraits at home of participants as it seems wrong to take participants portraits without continuing relationships. Frank Lucas one of my initial volunteers for the series, his image is due to be installed in The Winter Gardens this month, revisiting at home with the sound artist Rick Thompson.


SANDRA GRIFFITHS
DEBBIE LANE
FRANK LUCAS AND HIS BAND
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Ex Roly Poly

​After visiting the Imperial Hotel this week and discovering its amazing interiors not to mention the number of notable visitors over the years, I shall be returning to photograph some of the participants of the #retiredperformers project. 

With great delight, I have met an ex Roly Poly this week, a retired entertainments journalist, a children's performer whose great-grandmother was a circus dancer and spent quite a bit of time buying vintage Blackpool postcards which I hope to incorporate into the process. 

Please if you feel you have your own story re: Performance or performing prior to the 1970's in Blackpool do get in touch.


THE IMPERIAL HOTEL
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The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones rioted in Blackpool in 1963 they were banned until 2003. Blackpool was always the town where bands came to play. It still is today - did you see The Rolling Stones riot in 63? What was the feeling? 

The Retired Performers Project Time and Tide is a series of images and interviews created to have a greater understanding of Blackpool's hidden performance community. The project's fluid approach encourages conversations and storytelling.

If you feel you might be able to help or share a story, please get in touch via the contact page.


THE ROLLING STONES RIOTED IN BLACKPOOL IN 1963
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Showzam 2015

Starting the Project: It is February 2018 but 2015 was the year, I met the retired foot juggler one of the inspirations behind the Time and Tide, Retired Performers Project. It was also the year I photographed Circolombia. I saw Nina (the retired foot juggler) again this week, in fact, I had breakfast with her family, she is getting ready for me to interview her on audio and have her photo taken, she told me a few tales, including one about Princess Margaret. 

The process of interviewing and photographing participants will last over 9 months. Building relationships and talking to performers who have a relationship to Blackpool takes time. Tomorrow I head back to the circus to photograph a Circusette who performed as Charlie Cairoli's assistant.


CIRCOLOMBIA 2015 AT SHOWZAM CIRCUS TOWN FESTIVAL BLACKPOOL, UK
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