The Elswick Self Portraits

The summer of 1981 was hot. The Birdie Song was everywhere and Raiders of the Lost Ark was just out.

Newcastle United were in the Second Division. An eleven year old Alan Shearer was scoring for fun in schoolboy tournaments.

At Hodgkin Park in West Newcastle the Council ran a six week play scheme for youngsters from Elswick, Benwell and Scotswood.

I made a photo booth out of white sheets hung from a ceiling in a park building. I placed a camera on a tripod at one end and a chair at the other.

The person sitting in the chair could take the photograph by squeezing a rubber bulb connected to the camera’s shutter release.

They sat down and I’d hand them the rubber bulb and tell them to look at the camera and squeeze to take a snap when they were ready.

I stepped out of the booth so they were alone when they took the picture.

Most of these kids are between their late thirties and late forties now. Many will have children as old as they were in these pictures.

I’d like to find out how they are doing thirty years on.

If you recognise any of them please join the Facebook group, view the photos and leave a comment.

Chris Mearns
07903 061696
August 2011