Bottles, jars and jugs piled high against a window in Salt’s Mill, Saltaire. A stained glass window of infinite variability.
The back of the old Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Elland, taken from Morrison’s car park: all empty pews and shopping trolleys. The chapel is a wonderful building, with bits grafted onto the main building like afterthoughts.
This is the alabaster tomb of James Montagu who was the Bishop of Bath and Wells between 1608 and 1616. The tomb is in Bath Abbey and Jimmy was another of those lifeless figures that stopped me and asked for a selfie. On returning home, I Googled James Montagu in order to discover something of the mildest interest to say about him. There was nothing. Hashtag boring.
I have always thought that the British magazine, Picture Post (1938-57), represented photojournalism at its very best and for some time now I have been trying to build up a collection of original copies. A new bundle arrived the other day which were all from the period 1942/3: the very height of World War II. The stories in each issue not only represent the key problems of the day, but they also often look forward to the kind of world that will exist when the long war is finally over.
The issue of the 7th February 1942 led with the danger facing Australia from invasion by the Axis Powers. The other contents ranged over a variety of issues from canteens for wartime farm workers to American students dancing to raise funds for the Free French. There was even a wonderful polemic aimed at the poor quality of film still photography.
One of the outstanding features of Picture Post magazine was the quality of its own photographs and some of the finest British photographers of the twentieth century worked for the magazine including Bert Hardy and Bill Brandt. One article in the 7th February 1942 edition tells the story of how one of the great opera companies – Sadler’s Wells – took to the road during the war to bring entertainment, and culture, to wartime workers. When they visited Burnley in Lancashire photographers from Picture Post were there to record the event. And they did so with considerable style.