John Claridge ‘s passion for photography started when he spotted a plastic camera at a fun fair in London’s east side at the age of eight. He had to win it.
Rfotofolio is pleased to share our interview with John Claridge.
Where did you get your photographic training?
Totally self-taught from around the age of ten or eleven years old.
Please tell us about an image (not your own) that has stayed with you over time.
J. M. W. Turner’s, Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway (1844). I remember seeing the painting when I was in my teens. I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I still can’t. For me, it is pure magic.
What images of yours would you say taught you an important lesson?
An early photograph of a flower-seller from my East End series that I shot in 1959 when I was 15 years old. Obviously I cannot repeat this picture, I don’t have the innocence or the naivety I had at that age. For me, it is like seeing an old friend but I still have that instinct. I suppose what I’m saying is that you never close your eyes to anything be it time, vision or passion.
What was it about photography that captured your creativity?
It is my way of communicating.
If you did not find photography would you have expressed your creative side in another media?
No. But I did mess around racing motorbikes and boxing.
When viewing your own work do you wonder what the public will take from it?
Just trying to share how I feel.
What is it that you hope they will take from it?
It would be great if they felt the same emotions as I did, when I started, and first saw work by some of the worlds great photographers.
Which photographers’ and other artists’ work do you admire?
Béla Tarr, Andrei Tarkovsky, Ingmar Bergman, early Orson Welles, Jean-Luc Godard, Edgar Degas, J. M. W. Turner, Max Ernst, The Quay Brothers, Man Ray, Bill Brandt, E. O. Hoppé, Robert Frank, Walker Evans, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Brassaï, André Kertész, Eugène Atget, Bert Hardy, Robert Doisneau …. this is just a few.
What makes a good day for you creatively speaking?
For me every day is a passion; seeing, looking, producing pictures. It’s what I live for.
If you could spend a day with any other photographer or artist living or passed, who would it be?
This is a very difficult question. There are many people who have opened my eyes and mind in many different ways. So, I would say Andrei Tarkovsky.
What equipment have you found essential in the making of your work?
I’ve never been a camera equipment fanatic. But saying that, professionally I use cameras and lenses that have been reliable for me, such as Hasselblad, Nikon, Canon, Deardorff, Ebony and Mamiya
What hangs on your walls?
My walls are full of very diverse things. Old movie posters, posters from some of my exhibitions, some of my pictures, African masks, old hand tools, postcards, wood-block type, animal skulls, American number plates, enamel advertising signs, a few of my hats. And the piece de resistance is a picture of The Three Stooges standing with a Speed Graphic Camera.
What’s on the horizon?
Currently I am putting together several series of documentary photographs: New York in the 70’s, Paris in the 60’s and 70’s, British Steel Mills and Shipyards in the 60’s and 70’s.
Thank you John. To learn more about the work of John Claridge, please visit his site by clicking on his name.