Time Out with John Claridge
Cornerman, E17 1982.
“People take time out of their lives in all kinds of ways, so I thought I’d explore the spectrum of the things people used to do.” Photographer John Claridge told me, outlining his rationale in selecting this contemplative set of pictures, published here for the first time. Each shows a moment of repose, yet all are dynamic images, charged by the lingering presence of what came before or the anticipation of what lies ahead.
While the photograph of the Cornerman above literally shows“time out” at a boxing match, John was also interested in the cross-section of people watching and taking a breather from their working lives. “With a boxing ring, you’re wondering what’s going to happen. You’re waiting for the episode.” he admitted, “I like that tension and quietness, knowing that you’re going to get boxers flying around the ring in a few minutes.”
Similiarly, speaking of his photograph below of the pub compere, John said to me, “You can’t see anyone on the stage but you know something’s going to happen. I like it that people have to contribute to the picture, it takes you into another environment. You have to enter another world. You have to ask questions.”
John’s pictorial frame equates to the boxing ring or the pub stage, encompassing a space through which life passes – but his is an arena of calm within the relentless clamour of existence, a transient place of both photographic and emotional exposure.
End of the Game, E14 1962 - “When the churchyard was dug up, someone arranged the stones respectfully so they could be seen. Life was over and even the churchyard was gone too.”
Sunday Morning, Spitalfields 1963. “He was leaning out the window having a conversation, it just felt like Sunday morning.”
The Allotment, E14 1959.
Soup Kitchen, Whitechapel 1967. “Time out for a cup of tea and a sandwich, time out from the streets.”
Passports, E16 1968.
Game at the Hostel, Salvation Army Victoria Homes, Whitechapel 1982.
The Conversation, 1982.
Underworld, Spitalfields 1982. This toilet outside Christ Church is now a night club called Public Life.
Pub Compere, E14 1964.
My Dad Singing At a Pub, E14 1964. - “He had a good voice, very powerful, and he used to play the ukelele banjo as well. My mum got up and sang too. He’d say, ‘Don’t be silly, you can’t sing.’ and she’d say, ‘Yes, I can,’ and get up there. They had a fantastic relationship.”
The Ring, E17 1982.
Wraps, E16 1968. “This is at Terry Lawless’ Gym. I still have a punchbag at home and start by putting my wraps on.”
After Sparring, E16 1968. - “He had just finished, marked up a little but not too bad.”
Dance Class, E7 1982. – “Did people go to learn to dance or because they were lonely?”
Dog Racing, Walthamstow Dog Track 1982.
Some Were Got Rid Of. – “It still looks like it’s running.”
Dart Night, E17 1968. - “We were playing darts and sat down for a break, everyone in their own world. The guy with the sideburns, his wife was jealous and always asked him to bring her a Chinese takeaway. He would remove the prawns, eat them himself and then rearrange the food. ‘She’s not worth all those,’ he said to me. ‘She won’t know,’ I said. ‘She’ll never know, but I do,’ he replied.”
Some People I Knew, Cable St 1969.
Don’t Ask, Dockside E16 1986.
Photographs copyright © John Claridge
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