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Den Morgan of Morgans Blacksmiths Malvern Worcestershire by Martin Middlebrook


real stuff. In every photo you can see who they are, what they do and how they do it, from a single image.


history. Take, for example, the area of space exploration. Photos of dead or disgraced Russian cosmonauts, it is claimed, were taken from archives and destroyed in order to make the government look better, whilst on the other side of the Iron Curtain the US moon landing photos, according to some, are faked (even though Photoshop hadn’t even been invented, along with the home computer!).


Regardless of what really happened, the powers that be in both nations knew that these images were exceedingly


powerful and their


effects would last for decades. 75 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2011


Images can be manipulated, photos have a way of getting into the brain like nothing else; especially when they tell us about people.


Some photographers saw and expressed this in their work. From 1950 to 1951 the famous fashion and portrait photographer, Irving Penn, documented the professions of a number of different people, in a collection entitled “Small Traders”. Containing 252 images in all ranging from fishmongers and firemen, to contortionists and chimney sweeps, the exhibition that these photos formed documented a slice of life, for ordinary people; real people doing


So why is it important to document the traditional skills still alive and well in the UK? Well quite simply, these images define us as a culture and as a nation; they make each and every one of us who we are, regardless of whether we do them ourselves or leave it to other, more talented folk.


Take the Royal Wedding this year. Regardless of all the fashionably Facebook anti-royalism, no other country does things quite like we do. Tourists still flock to the UK to visit “Buckingham Palace”. Magazines sell ten times as many copies if they carry images of the Royals. They define Britain and they tell the world who we are and where we’ve come from. Most of all, we love it when we see them being “human” - when we can identify with them.


Looking through the magnificent


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