May 192011

I recently wrote about my work with Andrew Shaylor on his exhibition, Rockin’: The Rockabilly Scene.

From April to May, fifty stunning photographs graced the walls of The National Theatre on London’s South Bank.

Hot on the heels of Rockin’, it has been great to revisit another project of Andrew’s—The Circus.

I first had a glimpse of this body of work some seven years ago and, last week, the time came again to fire up my scanner and set about recording yet more captivating imagery from Andrew.

Andrew Shaylor Circus Dr Death

Dr. Death | Steam Rally, Portsmouth

However, on receiving the parcel of 6×6 negatives and reference prints, little did I know that I was about to experience a shock ‘blast from the past’.

Staring at me from within the box was David Weeks, the ticket inspector from my school train journey!

He was certainly a character and, on reflection, it is of little surprise that I should see him in this guise…


Andrew Shaylor Circus Spieler

Spieler | David Weeks, Petersfield (the ticket inspector on my school train)

Periodically, it’s certainly a pleasure to return to making high resolution film scans.

Film will always own a unique charm and beauty.  If nothing else, it’s interesting to be reminded of grain structure’s dominance in the make-up of a negative.

So very recently, we used to be more than happy to accept the wonderful image quality provided by film.

To my mind, this sits at odds with a modern-day obsession—the eradication of relatively low levels of ‘unsightly’ noise in our digital captures.

I’ve written before about the importance, in my opinion, for a contemporary photographer to remind him or herself of our medium’s roots, especially in this era of The Photoshop Aesthetic

Once in a while, let’s keep some noise, I say, and avoid the clinicism!


Andrew Shaylor Circus Bob Courtney

Bob Courtney | Courtney Brothers Circus, Co Wexford, Eire


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