My friend Andy Manning used to be picture editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post but left to do a masters degree in photography (others have left the YEP to work as shelf-stackers, regarding it as a promotion).
As part of his course, he’s been working on a project to record life at the Chemic Tavern in Woodhouse, Leeds – something I’ve been doing for years, although nobody’s offered me a degree in it.
He’s set up a kind of improvised photo-booth in a far corner of the pub (although not that far because it’s a small pub) and has been taking pictures of Chemic customers. On his first evening he found a lot of interesting faces, including a border collie, a steam-punk and a shirker (meaning, in this case, a type of specialist leather worker). There was also a young man playing a huge baroque lute and a young woman playing a cello. I don’t think they were connected to each other, it’s just that this sort of thing happens at the Chemic. Once the nationally-renowned Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain walked into the pub but didn’t bring their ukuleles with them, which may have been a good thing.
Coincidentally, I went to see an exhibition called Humans of Leeds at Lambert’s Yard, Lower Briggate, in which random people walking in the city had their photographs taken by students at Becket University.
It was fascinating, as I know Andy’s exhibition will be, not because his subjects drink at the same pub as me but because people are inherently interesting, especially when they don’t get their pictures taken as a result of police operations. being tedious exhibitionists, appearing on realty TV shows or reconstructing themselves as minor celebrities. The Humans of Leeds exhibition runs until July.