Revolution in the air

Three years at art college would not be complete without some politics, squatting and clashes with the police. I have no idea whether any era is more or less politically charged than another – these are bigger and further reaching questions than I can answer here – but with hindsight there is no doubt that change and revolution were in the air during my years at college. The Tory government was limping along under John Major, persecuting the rave culture and traveller movement, eastern europe was collapsing, both peacefully and violently, and memories of the Poll Tax riots were still fresh in peoples’ memories. The bitter taste of Margaret Thatcher was still strong in the mouth.

It was in this climate that the art students in Brighton revolted. There was anger, debate and petitioning going on as we argued against the loss of a number of tutors and members of staff. For some reason, amongst all this anger the college decided to announce the building of a completely new and unnecessary car park for thousands and thousands of pounds, completely contradicting their claim that there was no money. Within days the whole art college in the centre of Brighton had been occupied with banners flying from the windows, picket lines and a slowly increasing police presence. It was a fantastic, powerful and electric atmosphere.

The beauty of it all for me was the productivity that came about. The course I was on had its own separate building down the road from the main college, with only one entrance. We were in there for days. Spontaneous dance, theatre and music performances were regular occurrences as were exhibitions, talks and improvised raves, chill outs and jamming sessions.

And in amongst all this I experienced my first all night session in the darkroom. I know many people have done it, but this was my first time and it has stuck with me, clear and vivid. Working in a darkroom can be a lonely experience but my abiding memory of that night is one of being so engrossed and involved in my work that I genuinely had no idea of the time. I would come out every few hours for some air and to stretch my legs, but was back in within a few minutes, until eventually I looked out of the window and saw light. Sun, slowly filling the pale grey sky with warmth and colour. There is very little more beautiful than dawn when you have been up (working) all night. It fills you with relief and joy, and when it is unexpected your emotions are amplified and exaggerated. I was drained but my soul was at peace with myself and my place in the world.

A few days later the revolution came to an abrupt end when the riot police stormed the building and dragged us out.¬†Life resumed and, I’m guessing, somewhere in the corridors of power the authorities prepared themselves for the next batch of angry young students…assuming they were even aware of what had happened.

Latest

Blog_Odadahraun_Desert_Iceland_Aug_2015

Blink and you’ll miss it

Iceland. Never has the essence of a country so closely resembled the way in which I see the

F01-33D_blog_cover

Under the Stars in Madagascar

There are times when writing about memories from as far back as my eighteenth year feels wrong. How

Blog_Viewpoints_Cover

Viewpoints

The Rooftop Collective exhibition edition VI Tempus Fugit. So they say. Here we are again, another Rooftop Collective

Blog_West_of_the_Sun_Trailer

West of the Sun trailer

A huge thank you to Jim Shannon for putting together this wonderful trailer for ‘West of the Sun’.

Memories

Blog_F25-16B

Choreographed Papal baby blessings

The day of the Pope’s visit to London was all about the protests and marches for us. That

Blog_F29-02C

Ablutions on the Giant’s Causeway

Sometimes you have to squeeze a trip into whatever time you have available. And if all you have

Blog_Lac Sv. Ana.Romania.August 1992.

Wild swimming in Romania

Deep in the heart of the Carpathians, Kate and I parked our van. We were in a field

Blog_F23-38A

Marjoram and Fireflies

At the end of a long day driving, walking and taking photographs around the north western mountains in

Randomly Selected

T-Max_400

Equipment and Materials used – The Film

KODAK T-MAX 400 Once again I have been using T-Max pretty much since I started. To me it

Blog_Arte_Fotografica_67

Arte Fotogr√°fica #67

I’m very excited to have had some images from ‘West of the Sun’ included in a ten page

Barbara_Wace_Brest_1944

Luck led to Normandy – by Barbara Wace

Written by Barbara in April 1995: When the Allied invasion became a certainty and the only question was

National_Maritime_Museum_Ansell_Adams

Ansel Adams at the National Maritime Museum

This is for those of you who have not been to see Ansel Adams: Photography from the Mountains