Todmorden: Portraits From a Town

Todmorden: Portraits from a Town is a collection of portraits that I have accumulated over the last five years. It’s an ongoing project and started after the inspiration of a family photo-shoot and one of many visits to my local hardware store. It is about the diversity of people in Todmorden against their immediate backgrounds. These backgrounds offer a wider context of the people photographed – whether it be about there living, working or chosen space – and therefore a slightly wider view of how they sit within the community.

I’ve lived for the last eleven years in Todmorden and as each day, week and year has gone by I’ve met new and interesting people. There is such an amazing collection of talented, creative and hard working people in Todmorden. Without any pretensions it has it’s own character made up of the kind of variety of people that are in the current collection. And so on I go with this project; like a never ending jigsaw that makes up the town.

In the Beginning

This photograph was taken for The Stobbs family. Molly was going to dance classes and they wanted to preserve the involvement in that activity and so we chose Bridestones as a location in Todmorden to shoot it. The space was representative of Todmorden and Molly was captured mid-spin to accentuate the idea of how children quickly change as they grow as well as her physical dexterity and aptitude for her activity. And so, it seemed all to make sense: people doing their thing in Todmorden.

Then,¬†soon after, I went down to the market to Tony Gill at Dawsons for some “twelve by eights”. I used to work in hardware shop and was fascinated by the variety of things that were sold. “Old Ray’ knew everything about everything and I soon found out that Tony was quite similar. All the different artifacts have their own use and, like Old Ray’s shop (Harling for Housewares as it was), there would be so many different customers for so many different things. So the detail around Tony emboldens that significance and offers a wider view of that importance. Because of the wider view we can recognise this a a place – Todmorden Market Hall – which has much significance for the town. So the photo is also a social and historical document. Tony has now left this space but is till next door and still selling many a set of 12x8s.And so I went from there; as I got to know more and more people from Todmorden the more and more I knew the place. And the more and more I got to know the people the more I saw the detail around them and how they were part of the town of Todmorden.

Before you see the rest of the photos below there are some audio files of interviews from a few of the people in the photos which can be listened to on The Talking Newspaper of Todmorden. The interviews greatly enrich and bring to more life those who have sat for their portrait. It’s a chance to hear their story and their views on Todmorden.

Matthanee Nilavongse, 2017

Mary Clear, 2016

Rob Castello & Geoff Kerouac, 2015

Philip Marshall, 2013

Daniel Weaver, 2013

Gary Montgomery, 2014

Peter Kelly, 2015

Sara Abbott, 2015

Andy Halstead, 2016

Damion Priestley, 2016

Paul Cheesbrough, 2017

Kathryn & Trevor Cook, 2012

Michael Gill, 2015

Chris Milton & Dave Mortimer, 2017

Rachael Barbar, 2017