‚ÄčAs the funded part of the project gathers momentum to come to a intermediate conclusion, I have been searching for public spaces to pop large scale images of the participants photographs in, ideally in windows around Blackpool where there will be high footfall. I am hoping to create some kind of arts trail where audiences will stumble across the images and log into the audios to listen to the participants stories.

Because the project was born from "the people" and the peoples "stories" my greatest ambition for the series of images is that people will start talking to one another about the great legacy of performance that Blackpool is built on creating new forms of respect within Blackpool's community and its unique and quirky social history.

July also found me doing two talks on the series at a Heritage event and at The Grundy Art Gallery. Meeting people who find a connection to the photography series is seriously rewarding with a lady approaching me to recommend two books which she felt had a connection to the series: The Years: Annie Ernaux and The Lonely City - Olivia Laing, books that appear to be a little about loneliness and how we keep memories. I have started to read the books and it has made me consider that perhaps indeed the photography series does have an element of loneliness, I think I mentioned a lot in the talks how we have perhaps stopped sitting down and connecting with people due to social media and its easier to email or text, its made me consider my own sense of loneliness and that the series is a way for me to perhaps selfishly connect with people through photography whilst being able to listen to golden "hidden" stories - we forget that as we get older (me included at 44) that we have lived! But in modern day it is youth that is in focus in fashion in commerce, in music but life is in a cycle so we are all effected by what has been before, I think it was Oscar Wilde who stated "Youth is wasted on the young."

Considering this and the elements of performance, how must it feel to connect to dozens of people at once from a stage, is it all encapsulating and can it be felt as a tangible experience in places like The Grand Theatre or The Opera House there is a sense of what has been before there - it holds a "special" atmosphere, is it true then that we feel that from people when we talk to them or listen to their stories or photograph them.

I want to thank Circus250, The Grundy and Visit Blackpool for including me in their current exhibition showing some of the #retiredperformers work up until September the 8th where you will find lots of other interesting work exploring circus and performance directly and indirectly. Please go if you get the chance. https://www.grundyartgallery.com/programme/

Grundy Art Gallery


#RetiredPerformers is a series of images and audio interviews being captured over 12 months by Blackpool-based photographer, Claire Griffiths.