Owen Smith visits TTE Training in Middlesbrough

Owen Smith MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary and Labour MP for Redcar, Anna Turley visited the TTE Training facility in Middlesbrough today. The visit came as the company works with the SSI Steel task force to find new opportunities for the apprentices who have been affected by the closure of the steel plant on Teesside.
TTE specialises in the delivery of technical training and consultancy services to both UK and International clients covering sectors such as Oil and Gas, Manufacturing, Pharmaceuticals, Downstream petrochemical and the contracting industry.
 
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Jeremy Corbyn visits Middlesbrough College.

Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn visited the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) further education college in Middlesbrough earlier today. The visit to Middlesbrough College came as Mr Corbyn visited the region to see how further education colleges in the area are dealing with the aftermath of the closure of the SSI UK Steel plant in Redcar last year by training students and apprentices for future jobs in the petro-chemical, engineering and off shore sectors.

Here’s a few from the visit…

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Centre of the Community

Following an announcement by the Chancellor George Osborne last year where he revealed his plans to stop the current NHS bursary for a student loan system from September 2017 a small but vocal group of student nurses, midwives and their supporters held a rally against the cuts in Middlesbrough this afternoon.

For the trainee nurses and midwives in the northeast region the cuts would leave them with up to £50,000 worth of debt while working up to 37.5 hours a week without a wage.

The NHS bursary previously covered course fees and helped with living costs for things such as childcare.

The rally in Middlesbrough was also attended by Tom Blenkinsop, the Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Anna Turley, the Labour MP for Redcar and Labour MP for Middlesbrough, Andy McDonald.

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New Year’s Day Hunt

Horses, riders and hounds from the Cleveland Hunt prepare to ride out on the traditional New Year’s Day hunt this morning. Prior to 1827 this pack was known as the ‘Roxby and Cleveland’ and their hunt country covers an area of around 25 miles by 15 miles and varies from vale to high moorland. Established in 1722 it is one of the oldest in the country.

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Tadcaster

So after the 300-year old bridge crossing the River Wharfe in Tadcaster collapsed after heavy flooding recently and homes and businesses were flooded the residents of the town began the long process of clearing up. The Environment Secretary Liz Truss also visited during the day yesterday and said the rebuilding of the bridge was a matter of immediate urgency.

Here’s a few from the day…

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Huntington Road

Following the heavy flooding caused as water spilled over the banks and flood defences along the River Ouse and River Foss in York and flooded homes and business premises on 27 December which forced the evacuation of residents and which I photographed here I went back to Huntingdon Road in the city early this morning as the waters from the River Foss subsided to document some of what was left behind.

As rapidly as the flood water came it drained away this morning as the nearby pumping station was now functioning properly after repairs yesterday and behind the water is now left a clean-up for those affected that is sure to take many months to complete. It was quite something to witness as the street slowly began to come back to life and the residents slowly returned to their homes and got on with the miserable business of sorting out the damage. Whilst hopefully avoiding the cliche if I can it was indeed a fine example of Yorkshire spirit.

Offers of help shouted by passing friends or neighbours to homeowners. The offer to put people up or bring them some food. A woman pouring out cups of tea for anyone who wanted one and using probably the biggest tea-pot in the city brought a bit of much needed morale. The daily milk delivery had been made and left, propped up on sand bags on many of the doorsteps for their owners to collect so at least they might start their own clean-up with a cup of tea.

People walked dogs and ran or cycled along the street something that only yesterday wouldn’t have been anywhere close to possible.

A man fed the swans in the now sedate looking River Foss.

But I also spoke to a business owner who was worried that their life-long business might have ended today with the retreating waters as the insurance cover may not provide adequate protection to replace all the damaged equipment. I spoke to home owners who were devastated with the prospects of many months ahead of them of drying out and cleaning up the mud and silt left by the retreating water. I also spoke to a couple leaning out of their bedroom window who told me that someone had come and used the cover of the flood chaos and broken into a property a couple of doors down from them and burgled it as it had been left empty over Christmas. What kind of low-life wanker would do that?

But the overriding thing I witnessed was the community within the street come together.

I also saw photographers, reporters and news crews acting in an extremely professional manner and delicately and respectfully approaching those affected to try and get interviews and pictures. Something that understandably probably wasn’t the highest thing on their list of priorities this morning when they returned to their homes but it’s something that is hugely important in order to tell the story of this tragic event here in York and everywhere else that has suffered from the recent extreme weather. So as a photographer, and if I may be bold enough to speak for the wider media, thank you for your patience at a difficult time and I wish you well.

And as the council street cleaners made their way up and down the streets hoovering up the mud and as some kind of normality returned on Huntingdon Road spare a thought for those that had played such an important part in protecting those residents of York – the Mountain Rescue Teams, the soldiers from 2 Lancs, the RAF boys who dropped the spare parts in yesterday by Chinook, the Police, Fire crews and RNLI, the Council and Environmental Agency staff and volunteers and anyone else involved because their work continues as they prepare for the next storm, named ‘Storm Frank‘, which is approaching over the next couple of days and which could bring further flooding in many parts and which could also result, for some at least, especially in Cumbria and Scotland, in a miserable start to the new year.

Lets hope not.

 

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York Flooding

The River’s Ouse and Foss in York flooded riverside homes and business premises after heavy rain caused severe flooding in parts of the city on 27 December and which forced the evacuation of residents and visitors from homes and hotels. Heavy rain over the Christmas period has caused severe flooding in northern England with homes and businesses in Yorkshire and Lancashire evacuated as water levels continue to rise in many parts.

Emergency services including the Police, Fire Brigade, Mountain Rescue Teams, paramedics and soldiers from the 2 Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment assisted with the evacuation across the city.

I covered the floods on assignment for Getty Images and spent the day documenting the effects of the flooding on the city and the people who lived there…

 

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A story about unprecedented flooding affecting so many parts of the country was always going to bring high media interest and some of the pictures I shot appeared across various publications and websites around the world. Some of those publications I’m aware of are – in no particular order ; The Guardian, The Scotsman, The Belfast Telegraph, New York Times, International Business Times, BBC News, SKY News, Wales on Line, Irish Times, New York Daily News, Daily Express, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, Buzzfeed, Bloomberg, MSN News, Mashable, Eco Blog, WVTM Alabama, Mail on Line, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, The Sun and ABC news.

A selection of how the pictures were used in print or online is below: Click the first pictures to open a gallery slideshow…

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Boxing Day dip – Redcar

Hundreds of people charged into the cold waters of the North sea this morning as they take part in the annual Boxing Day dip at Redcar beach.

The event which attracts many hardy souls each Boxing day morning, many wearing fancy dress, helps to raise hundreds of pounds for a wide range of local and national charities.

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2015 – My Year in Pictures

So as this year winds down I’ve once again put a post together showing ‘My Year in Pictures‘ and have included in it pictures from many of the subjects that I’ve covered throughout the year ranging from news and feature stories, long-term projects I’ve been shooting, other events I’ve photographed for myself from things that have happened or ‘standalone’ pictures….now there’s quite a few here! So sit back and feel free to have a look through and I hope you enjoy them.

All the best for Christmas, New Year and the holidays (…especially to all the freelance photographers out there because we don’t get holidays).

We can’t afford them! 😉

Cheers folks and thanks for looking at my pictures over the last year…

 

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© Licensed to London News Pictures. 05/01/2015. Saltburn, Cleveland The beautiful light of dawn lights up the sky and reflects off wet sand around an area called Huntcliff near Saltburn. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth/LNP

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Photographer: Ian Forsyth Contact Number : 07786 076618 Copyright Ian Forsyth 2014

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A recently built stables complex was destroyed by strong winds through the night in Saltburn, Cleveland. The stables, owned by Melissa Coupe of White Heart Lodge on Saltburn Lane housed two miniature Shetland ponies, Locket and Queenie and they were both inside the stable as it was lifted up from its foundations and came crashing down on a nearby road. Both ponies were uninjured.

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© Licensed to London News Pictures. 13/01/2015. Whitby, United Kingdom A fishing boat heads out at first light from the North Yorkshire town of Whitby ahead of further bad weather that is expected to sweep across the country over the next few days causing further disruption and chaos. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth/LNP

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© Licensed to London News Pictures. 03/02/2015. Levisham, United Kingdom The moor road between Pickering and Whitby on the North Yorkshire Moors remains open after heavy overnight snowfall as bad weather continues in parts of the country. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth/LNP

© Licensed to London News Pictures. 05/02/2015. Castleton, United Kingdom Andy Thompson from K and N Drinks ensures that the beer is delivered to The Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge on the North Yorkshire Moors as further bad weather has caused disruption in many parts of the country this week. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth/LNP

© Licensed to London News Pictures. 06/02/2015. York, United Kingdom Gunners from 88 Arracan Battery 4th Regiment Royal Artillery fire a 21 gun royal salute using three 105mm Light Guns to mark the 63rd anniversary of Her Majesty The QueenÕs accession to the throne. The salute took place in the Museum Gardens in York which is one of 12 saluting stations across the country, including London, Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff, and is the only one in the North of England. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth/LNP

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© Licensed to London News Pictures. 09/02/2015. Saltburn, United Kingdom. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth/LNP

© Licensed to London News Pictures. 09/02/2015. Saltburn, United Kingdom. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth/LNP

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Photographer: Ian Forsyth Contact Number : 07786 076618 Copyright Ian Forsyth 2015

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Soldiers from K (Hondeghem) Battery 5th Regiment Royal Artillery stand on parade in the grounds of Richmond Castle during a ceremony to present Afghanistan operational medals on March 26, 2015 in Richmond, England. The Battery held the medal parade to mark the end of the Regiment's period of operations in Afghanistan and their deployment on Herrick 20. It was the final Herrick medal parade from Regiment's based in Catterick Garrison. Copyright Ian Forsyth 2015/Getty Images

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© Licensed to London News Pictures. 10/04/2015. Saltburn, United Kingdom A large pod of Dolphins swam close to the pier and beach at Saltburn by the Sea in Cleveland as hundreds continue to enjoy the hot weather. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth/LNP

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© Licensed to London News Pictures. 13/05/2015. Whitby, United Kingdom Lol Hodgson, the Baliff of the Manor of Fyling carries out the ancient Penny Hedge tradition in Whitby. The beginnings of this ancient custom dating back to around 1159 are unclear but some say it was penance for the accidental killing of a hermit who was a monk at the abbey. Others say it was to mark a safe landing place or to mark a garth or enclosure or simply to keep out animals. However this now symbolic custom takes place each year on the eve of Ascension Day on the banks of the River Esk in Whitby and is constructed with nine upright hazel stakes driven into the mud with an ancient mallet and nine 'tethers' or pliant branches to intertwine the stakes. Completion of the hedge is followed by three blasts on an ancient horn and the cry of "Out on Ye" is repeated by the bailiff. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth/LNP

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© Licensed to London News Pictures.16/07/15 Harrogate, UK. A man sleep with his cattle after spending the night sleeping in the cow sheds on the final day of the Great Yorkshire Show. England's premier agricultural show has seen three days of showcasing the best in British farming and celebrating the countryside. The event which attracts over 130,000 visitors each year displays the cream of the country's livestock and offers numerous displays and events giving the chance for visitors to see many different countryside activities. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth/LNP

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<> on October 1, 2015 in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, England.

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Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

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<> on October 27, 2015 in Whitby, England.

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01/11/15 Saltburn, UK. Beach anglers take part in the annual Jim Maidens memorial beach fishing competition this evening in Saltburn by the Sea in Cleveland. The competition is held each year to mark the death of the Saltburn plumber and keen fisherman Jim Maidens, who died in 1998 when he was killed after being swept overboard from his boat ÔCorinaÕ close to the beach at Saltburn. Around 70 fishermen and women attended the event which helps to rise money for the RNLI and the Great North Air Ambulance Photo credit : Ian Forsyth

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© Licensed to London News Pictures.02/11/15 Redcar, UK. A family of swans glide over one of the small lakes at Coatham Marshes next to the SSI steel blast furnace in Redcar this evening. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth/LNP

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Members of Saltburn Fire and Rescue use their new turntable ladder to go up and check the stability and assess the damage caused by strong winds to the roof of a property on Marine Parade in Saltburn by the Sea. The property had its roof torn off by the high winds at the weekend resulting in the evacuation of all the residents in the building.

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Members of Cleveland Police carry out a search of an area at South Gare near Redcar and find a large quantity of 5.56mm ammunition discarded on the beach.169001A

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Images copyright Ian Forsyth 2015

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Northern Ballet

Northern Ballet is a dance company with a strong repertoire in theatrical dance productions where the emphasis is on story telling as well as classical ballet. Regarded as one of the world’s leading ballet companies they are committed to creating new ballets and tour widely to perform to a wide range of audiences throughout the UK and abroad.

I spent all day and much of the evening with the company shooting pictures of their intensive preparation during their company class at their headquarters in the morning before they attended rehearsals at the Grand Theatre in Leeds prior to their performance that evening of The Nutcracker in front of a full-house.

Shooting entirely behind the scenes from the wings and back-stage it was easy to see the hard work and dedication that goes into every performance and the passion and enthusiasm that the company have for what they do.

Here’s a larger edit in black and white from through the day…

 

The COMPANY CLASS

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The REHEARSALS & PREPARATION

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The PERFORMANCE

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Technical stuff: All pictures were shot on 16Gb Sandisk Extreme Pro memory cards in both RAW and high quality JPEG using either a Leica M9 with a 50mm f2 Summicron prime lens, a Fuji XT1 with a 16mm f1.4 WR prime lens or a Fuji XT1 with a 50-140mm f2.8 WR zoom lens.

All were shot in manual exposure mode with auto-white balance set. Editing was done in Lightroom 5 with colour versions of some of the pictures filed for the job with an extended edit of black and white pictures posted here.

 

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Sankta Lucia

The traditional Swedish festival of Sankta Lucia took place tonight at York Minster. The festival is a traditional festival of light that celebrates the bringer of light during the long darkness of winter. The service features a candlelit procession and carols in celebration of St Lucy, a young Sicilian girl who was said to have been martyred for her Christian faith in the early fourth century. The service, which is run in partnership with York Anglo-Scandanavian Society, starts with a procession led this year by, Sara Kjorling, 24, from Stockholm, wearing a crown of candles, thought to symbolise a halo and a red sash that symbolises martyrdom.

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Final Journey

The funeral of World War Two veteran Thomas Cox, 90, from Stockton takes place at St Bede’s Chapel at Teesside crematorium earlier this morning. After Mr Cox, who served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, died no other family members could be traced and after a social media appeal went out for people to attend so that the death of a veteran would not go unnoticed over two hundred members of the public, veterans and serving military attended to pay their respects…

Here’s a selection of some of the pictures I shot during the service…

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The funeral of World War Two veteran Thomas Cox from Stockton takes place at St Bede's Chapel at Teesside crematorium. After Mr Cox's death, who served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, no other family members could be traced and after a social media appeal for people to attend so that the death of a veteran would not go unnoticed around two hundred members of the public and military attended to pay their respects.

The funeral of World War Two veteran Thomas Cox from Stockton takes place at St Bede's Chapel at Teesside crematorium. After Mr Cox's death, who served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, no other family members could be traced and after a social media appeal for people to attend so that the death of a veteran would not go unnoticed around two hundred members of the public and military attended to pay their respects.

The funeral of World War Two veteran Thomas Cox from Stockton takes place at St Bede's Chapel at Teesside crematorium. After Mr Cox's death, who served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, no other family members could be traced and after a social media appeal for people to attend so that the death of a veteran would not go unnoticed around two hundred members of the public and military attended to pay their respects.

The funeral of World War Two veteran Thomas Cox from Stockton takes place at St Bede's Chapel at Teesside crematorium. After Mr Cox's death, who served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, no other family members could be traced and after a social media appeal for people to attend so that the death of a veteran would not go unnoticed around two hundred members of the public and military attended to pay their respects.

The funeral of World War Two veteran Thomas Cox from Stockton takes place at St Bede's Chapel at Teesside crematorium. After Mr Cox's death, who served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, no other family members could be traced and after a social media appeal for people to attend so that the death of a veteran would not go unnoticed around two hundred members of the public and military attended to pay their respects.

The funeral of World War Two veteran Thomas Cox from Stockton takes place at St Bede's Chapel at Teesside crematorium. After Mr Cox's death, who served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, no other family members could be traced and after a social media appeal for people to attend so that the death of a veteran would not go unnoticed around two hundred members of the public and military attended to pay their respects.

The funeral of World War Two veteran Thomas Cox from Stockton takes place at St Bede's Chapel at Teesside crematorium. After Mr Cox's death, who served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, no other family members could be traced and after a social media appeal for people to attend so that the death of a veteran would not go unnoticed around two hundred members of the public and military attended to pay their respects.

The funeral of World War Two veteran Thomas Cox from Stockton takes place at St Bede's Chapel at Teesside crematorium. After Mr Cox's death, who served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, no other family members could be traced and after a social media appeal for people to attend so that the death of a veteran would not go unnoticed around two hundred members of the public and military attended to pay their respects.

The funeral of World War Two veteran Thomas Cox from Stockton takes place at St Bede's Chapel at Teesside crematorium. After Mr Cox's death, who served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, no other family members could be traced and after a social media appeal for people to attend so that the death of a veteran would not go unnoticed around two hundred members of the public and military attended to pay their respects.

The funeral of World War Two veteran Thomas Cox from Stockton takes place at St Bede's Chapel at Teesside crematorium. After Mr Cox's death, who served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, no other family members could be traced and after a social media appeal for people to attend so that the death of a veteran would not go unnoticed around two hundred members of the public and military attended to pay their respects.

The funeral of World War Two veteran Thomas Cox from Stockton takes place at St Bede's Chapel at Teesside crematorium. After Mr Cox's death, who served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, no other family members could be traced and after a social media appeal for people to attend so that the death of a veteran would not go unnoticed around two hundred members of the public and military attended to pay their respects.

The funeral of World War Two veteran Thomas Cox from Stockton takes place at St Bede's Chapel at Teesside crematorium. After Mr Cox's death, who served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, no other family members could be traced and after a social media appeal for people to attend so that the death of a veteran would not go unnoticed around two hundred members of the public and military attended to pay their respects.

The funeral of World War Two veteran Thomas Cox from Stockton takes place at St Bede's Chapel at Teesside crematorium. After Mr Cox's death, who served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, no other family members could be traced and after a social media appeal for people to attend so that the death of a veteran would not go unnoticed around two hundred members of the public and military attended to pay their respects.

The funeral of World War Two veteran Thomas Cox from Stockton takes place at St Bede's Chapel at Teesside crematorium. After Mr Cox's death, who served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, no other family members could be traced and after a social media appeal for people to attend so that the death of a veteran would not go unnoticed around two hundred members of the public and military attended to pay their respects.

The funeral of World War Two veteran Thomas Cox from Stockton takes place at St Bede's Chapel at Teesside crematorium. After Mr Cox's death, who served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, no other family members could be traced and after a social media appeal for people to attend so that the death of a veteran would not go unnoticed around two hundred members of the public and military attended to pay their respects.

The funeral of World War Two veteran Thomas Cox from Stockton takes place at St Bede's Chapel at Teesside crematorium. After Mr Cox's death, who served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, no other family members could be traced and after a social media appeal for people to attend so that the death of a veteran would not go unnoticed around two hundred members of the public and military attended to pay their respects.

The funeral of World War Two veteran Thomas Cox from Stockton takes place at St Bede's Chapel at Teesside crematorium. After Mr Cox's death, who served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, no other family members could be traced and after a social media appeal for people to attend so that the death of a veteran would not go unnoticed around two hundred members of the public and military attended to pay their respects.

 

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The Yorkshire Shepherdess

Clive and Amanda Owen live and work at Ravenseat farm near Keld deep in the Yorkshire dales. Hard-working and incredibly passionate about their work the 2,000 acres of exposed moorland farm is home to some 1,000 of their beloved Swaledale sheep as well as cattle, horses, pigs and chickens.

Living with them in this remote but beautiful part of Yorkshire are their eight children; Raven, Reuben, Miles, Edith, Violet, Sidney, Annas and new arrival Clemmie and together they work the farm, tend to the livestock and ensure that the farm runs as smoothly as it can.

Following on from her first and very successful book, The Yorkshire Shepherdess, Amanda has just completed the first drafts of her second book which is to be published next year, again by the publishers Pan Macmillan.

So I was delighted recently that following a visit I made to see Amanda and her family last year – which I posted about on my blog in a post called Reaching for Simplicity – she had asked that the publishers get in touch to see if I could go along and take some pictures that could be used for the new book.

So after a couple of visits down to the farm over the last couple of months to see the family again and to spend time with them and shoot a few pictures I’m pleased that I can show a few of my favourites from the visits below that I’ve edited. So keep your eyes peeled for the release of the new book sometime in the new year and my thanks go to Clive, Amanda and the kids for letting me spend some time with you all.

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Follow Amanda on Twitter here… @AmandaOwen8

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Images copyright Ian Forsyth 2015

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Whitby Goth Weekend – It’s good to talk

So after the most recent Goth weekend was held again in the beautiful Yorkshire coastal town of Whitby I’ve posted a set of pictures from one of the days where I went along to shoot a few. This ever popular event brings those who are followers of the goth scene to the town to enjoy the music and the culture that surround the genre as well as those who might simply want to dress up in clothing or outfits that come under, broadly speaking, the title of ‘Gothic’ and it also brings many other visitors to the town who simply want to enjoy the day and admire some of what they see during the Goth weekend event.

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This time and in a break from my normal ways of gathering pictures for news I decided to wind it back a bit and shoot the whole day on film rather than digital.

Now as a documentary photographer supplying much of what I shoot to the newspapers and their associated websites and other publications the idea of shooting film these days isn’t really done anymore. The faster paced nature of news and the need to have the pictures out ‘on the wire‘ as soon as possible means simply that shooting film is now just too slow.

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That’s just the way it is so you adapt accordingly. Having already seen pictures from the event appearing from other photographers in the wider media and in the papers it was obvious that the story had been covered as much as it was going to be and as such on the day that I was able to go along I knew that there was only a really slim chance of having my pictures used. Add to this that I wasn’t able to pick a (paid) shift up anywhere to cover the event which is what I need to try and do as a freelance if I can I decided that it was an opportunity to just leave the digital stuff behind for once and shot the day using film.

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I’ve mentioned in a couple of other posts that I have recently acquired an old but fine example of a Leica M2 film camera. The model I have was made in September 1960! So at 55-years old it may be classed as a bit of an antique and by modern standards it really is a very simple and basic camera. Which is something definitely in its favour. No batteries, no menus, no auto-this and auto-that, no white balance, no auto-focus just a simple light tight box with aperture and shutter speed dials and a manual lens. In this case a Summicron f2 35mm.

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I shoot mostly on prime lenses anyway and one of my other cameras – a Leica M9 – is the modern day digital version of the M2 and is very similar to this in its simplicity so I’m more than happy with going fully-manual with prime lenses when it comes to photography and I’m quite familiar with this way of shooting having learned photography this way and using film a good few years ago but it did make a nice break from the pressures that seem to come from shooting digital.

Those pressures were always there of course but these days they just take a different form so with a feeling of ‘no pressure’ I headed off to see what I could get using this camera and a couple of rolls of Kodak Tri X 400 ASA film – also a classic film used by documentary photographers, press photographers, photojournalists and many others for many years during the days of film.

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Now my approach when I shoot at Whitby Goth Weekend tends to follow a similar method. I want to get people in my pictures, I want to get close, maybe have a chat for a bit and and I want to show some of the amazing outfits that some wear to the events or as they are walking around. I also want to keep my pictures free of overly distracting back grounds where the pictures get lost in a messy frame but I still want to place them in Whitby if I can. Each job I shoot will have their own nuances of course and will need different approaches but this is what I try and do for Goth weekend.

Now what I’ve found covering Goth weekend is that it is usually, not always, but usually better to engage in a chat with someone and through the course of that ask them to pose up for a picture. Looking back at all the goth weekends I’ve covered I’ve never had anyone say no to a request for a picture. Now I’m not saying my approach is that good that it never fails but if you approach someone in the right way and are polite and don’t bullshit anyone then from that they make a decision about having a picture taken and so far it’s worked out ok.

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I’m a working photographer and it’s what I do for my living so I have no issues with walking up to a complete stranger and starting a conversation even if they might be wearing a werewolf mask or anything else. I also know that from a legal point of view a photographer, be it a working professional photographer or not you don’t need to ask for permission to take anyone’s picture in a public place. I can stand there all day long if I wanted shooting whatever I want, men, women, children or a steampunk vampire with a ray gun and I’m perfectly legal in doing so.

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However I’m also very aware that this approach wouldn’t always work in this instance. To be honest in most cases this approach doesn’t really work and doesn’t bring the best pictures which is after all kind of the point for most photographers. If it was a politician walking around on a visit or some ‘celebrity’ walking through Whitby or a news story that needed covering then you do what you need to do to get the picture that is needed as long as it’s legal and ethically viable to do so. Those pictures that happen without any influence by the photographer can either be amazing or mediocre or anywhere in between and that’s fine. All you can do is try and get the best pictures you can from what’s happening in front of you.

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But when I want to try for a certain theme to my pictures and when I have an opportunity to influence the way the picture is composed and ethically, as a professional photographer it’s ok to do so then in the case of the goth weekend I’m happy to chat away and ask for a picture and like I say when done in a respectful way I usually don’t have any issues. After all it’s Whitby Goth Weekend! It’s meant to be a fun and light hearted occasion – it isn’t a life and death event!

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What has become apparent to me as I’ve covered this event are firstly the amount of photographers who now visit through the weekend to take pictures and secondly the way some…and I stress it’s only some, not all, photographers approach people to take their picture. Now let me say this – I have no issues at all with people taking pictures of the Goth weekend or anything else in any capacity. Professional news photographers like myself, other professional photographers, semi-pro’s, non-professional or full on amateur photographers or just someone visiting the town that weekend with their family on holiday and want a quick snap or whatever. Whether they shoot on a Leica or a top-spec Nikon or Canon or on an old plate camera under a bit of black cloth or a camera phone I couldn’t care less to be honest.

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I fully support, encourage and will defend with vigour the rights of anyone to take pictures of whatever they want in public spaces as long as it remains legal to do so and is morally and ethically decent. Some of the most classic and incredible work ever shot that might come under the title of ‘street photography‘ has been taken with or without the consent of those featuring in those pictures and it is something to be protected that remains open and accessible to anyone.

But at the same time and in fairness to the subject of those pictures if a photographer is going to interact with them it has to be done in a way that applies not only common sense but some level of ‘professionalism’ depending on the photographer and their reasons for taking the picture. In this case it is someone’s portrait you’re trying to get – you want something from them and are, albeit briefly, becoming part of their lives for a period of time so how you approach people is very important. The Whitby Goth Weekend isn’t actually called the ‘Come-along-and-photograph-anyone-dressed-up-because-they-are-there-for-the-photographers-benefit-weekend‘. They are there for their own reasons whatever they might be.

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Maybe they are life-long or new-to-the-scene goths who love the music, the clothing and the goth ‘scene’ and have no interest in dressing in some of the more flamboyant clothing that can be seen as was the way the weekend in Whitby first began. Maybe they love dressing up and then the following weekend after the Goth weekend they go dressed as pirates or Victorians or World War Two soldiers to some other event or whatever. Maybe they love the attention of walking around a town dressed in whatever way they want. Maybe they come to see old friends and enjoy the scene in Whitby once a year as it’s a break from all the other routine in their lives – it doesn’t really matter why.

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There have been some issues with this over recent years about the people who now visit the weekend event which is held twice a year and something that is mentioned in a great blog post by a good friend of mine and great news photographer Ceri Oakes who wrote about it here so have a read through that for more information. But as a photographer it is your responsibility to make sure that whatever the reason you’re lifting your camera to take a picture it is done in a respectful way and not simply to use the subject of your picture as a commodity. Engage with people. Speak to them. Have a chat and find out a little bit about them and what they’re about.

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They won’t bite…well the person in a werewolf mask might have a bit of a growl but it’s cool to speak to people! It’s ok to interact with someone you don’t know. The problems arise from one simple thing. Fear of the unknown. To one degree or another the ‘type’ of photographer you are and the type of pictures you might normally take will ultimately dictate the amount of fear of this unknown you have when taking the picture and will ultimately affect the way you approach someone.

Doesn’t matter if it’s Whitby goth Weekend or something else. If you’re a working photographer who interacts and speaks with strangers on a daily basis then they’ll have less fear of this unknown. If you never ever shoot pictures of people or maybe aren’t as confident generally then you might be less inclined to do so. Nothing wrong with either. It’s just different experiences. The flip side of this of course and something that gets on the nerves of some of the goths of whatever kind when they see photographers taking pictures is that might come across as rude. In some cases this is true but in most cases it is is simply the lack of experience of the photographer taking the picture in this environment.

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Some photographers regardless of their role as a photographer are rude I have no doubt! I’ve seen and heard them. Just because they are a photographer I’m not saying that goths should just accept this and just let them do their thing. In photography like every other walk of life or profession there are dickheads! It’s a fact of life. I can’t see it changing any time soon. But what can be done at Whitby Goth Weekend specifically, and I suppose this is the point, is that photographers can acknowledge to themselves that by taking someone’s photo, for whatever reason and by interacting with them they immediately have a responsibility to be professional, polite and courteous and similarly goths should understand that not every photographer has an understanding of how might be the best way to approach or talk with a complete stranger to get a picture. Goth or otherwise.

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Unfortunately in this day and age interaction and conversation with strangers isn’t really done that much in public. Common sense and a degree of logic has taken a back seat. For whatever reasons people generally keep themselves to themselves or look on from afar. To stop someone you’ve never met in the street and engage them in conversation isn’t done often unless it’s part of your job. Wider issues have influenced this. They might be mad crazy people who will kill you! They’re dressed in a way that some parts of the media have commented on in such a way for so long that they now carry with them some kind of negative stigma or assumption around them. They’re wearing a skull mask and dressed as a monk they must be some kind of freak. He’s got a camera…and he’s taking pictures in a public place he must be a perverted sick weirdo!

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Seems ridiculous when you read it ey? Course it is. It’s a load of bollocks quite frankly. It’s all about showing a bit of respect to those who are photographed and also having some understanding for the reasons a picture is been taken by the subject of that picture. Some of the photographers or ‘goths’ (and I’m using this term for ease of writing regardless of whether they are ‘real’ goths or simply ‘fancy-dress’ goths) don’t help themselves. One of the main areas of complaint and tension I hear about are the pictures taken in St Mary’s church grounds at the top of the steps.

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Some seem to forget that all this posed up stuff in the church and graveyard at the top of the hill is actually a church and the gravestones that have people buried underneath are real ones. Now I’m not religious – I’m an atheist – you want to talk about a lack of common sense then talk about religion! But it doesn’t matter respect should still be paid to the people who are buried there. Would you like someone randomly standing on the grave of a relative or leaning over their headstone posing for pictures? Of course not. Remember this isn’t a life and death major news event that absolutely needs this image taken where the need to record this moment is imperative to the wider understanding of the public at a world-changing event. It’s Whitby Goth Weekend! So chill out and avoid running around the graveyard like paparazzi chasing some ‘Z’ list celeb outside a nightclub and at the same time stop draping yourselves over a headstone because you’re loving the attention. Works both ways.

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Many of the pictures taken by some will simply get posted up onto social media like Facebook or whatever as a record of where that individual might be and that’s cool – we all do it and it has to be better to see something like this than some boring status update that constantly seem to fill our timelines. Some of the pictures are taken by photographers who want nothing more than to cover the weekend and practice their photography. Others want to take pictures and try and sell them through image galleries online and make some money – images for which many are more than happy to pay for or ‘like’ or ‘share’ so they’re not purely mercenary as has been suggested. It’s a two-way street.

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Professional news photographers are at the event to record, in pictures, an element of the weekend. Depending on who and why they’re there they might need a collection of pictures of those attending for an online gallery – something I’ve done many times myself – and a broad collection of images that illustrate the wider event and are interesting or unusual or colourful or are out of the ordinary are ideal for those galleries and that’s why those people dressed in Steampunk or Victoriana clothing and the like are picked out by the wider press.

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Along with this some will need a ‘stand alone‘ picture that can be used, as the name suggests, on its own in a paper to illustrate that Whitby Goth Weekend was on. It more than likely won’t be to support a long-winded Guardian article looking in depth at the nuances between the original beginnings and meaning of the goth weekend compared to the over commercialism and fancy-dress wearing day trippers who also go – but it could be. That’s the thing. So essentially there are many reasons for those pictures to be taken and if I, as I have been on numerous occasions along with many other working news photographers who have covered this weekend event have been employed to do that then we will endeavour to do it as best we can.

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But regardless of the reasons the same basic courtesy and respect should be paid and for the vast majority of occasions it is. Only on rare occasions does this not happen for whatever reasons and that is unfortunate. For the same reasons every ‘goth’ shouldn’t be judged because they are a goth so the same can be said for judging all ‘photographers’ simply because they are carrying a camera.

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But with all these issues or observations to one side the Whitby Goth Weekend is a great event and one that should be supported, encouraged and visited whether you want to wear your werewolf mask or catch up with friends for the weekend or whether you want to listen to some of your favourite music at the pubs and events on the evenings or practice your photography skills at a different event or if as part of your job you supply pictures to your employer at a broadsheet newspaper, the local paper or a foreign newspaper, whatever, it’s still a great occasion on many levels and one that should continue.

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So remember next time that your at Whitby when the goth weekend is on…the werewolf you saw might be a van driver from Huddersfield who brings your home shopping, the monk with the skull mask could be a school teacher from Newcastle, the older women wearing daft hats and just having a laugh might be on a bus trip from Leeds for the day and the leather-clad steam punk with the mask and the gun might just be there with his kids. And for photographers…engage with people, be courteous and enjoy the day for whatever reasons you go and as for the choice of pictures you want to take…you’ll figure it out as you go.

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Please note…no werewolves were harmed in the writing of this blog!

 

 

See more of my work on my website and blogs… HERE

Images copyright Ian Forsyth 2015

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No usage without arrangement.

Light support

The Last Post is played looking out over the industrial heartland of Teesside by South Bank brass band member Dave Mackin during a torch-lit procession on Eston Nab…

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds of men, woman and children, many of whom steelworkers and their families and people from the local community climbed high up to the Nab which stands overlooking Teesside on Saturday evening to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside.

The torch-lit gathering was organised by the community group ‘The Friends of Eston Nab‘ and included a brief statement read out by organiser Craig Hornby who last year along with the group, helped to secure ownership of part of the nab to preserve it for the people of Teesside to enjoy.

Joining those who attended were Labour MP’s Anna Turley and Tom Blenkinsop who through recent weeks have fought to try and keep the steelworks and coke ovens open.

SSI UK steel announced recently that steel production at the site was to be stopped with the loss of over two thousand jobs at the site with many more losses expected in the various supply industries. The closure brings an end to 170-years of steel production on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Clippings

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See more of my work on my website and blogs… HERE

Images copyright Ian Forsyth 2015 / Getty Images

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No usage without arrangement.

Coast People – Life on the north east coast

As many of you will know I have been planning to produce a book about a project that I have been working on for a number of years called ‘Coast People’. Initially things with the publishers were going well and the layouts and text were all sorted and it was starting to take shape. However when I saw the print quality of the book and saw how the pictures had been reproduced I had some issues with the overall quality and so I pushed back the release date to give me a chance to rectify things because the last thing I or any other photographer would want to do would be to release a book with badly printed photographs in it!

After several weeks of trying to resolve things it has unfortunately reached the stage where it was obvious things weren’t going to be as I wanted them as far as print quality was concerned. As a result I have now decided to go completely through the self-publishing process via the on-line book publishers, ‘Blurb’.

This is a company I have used before on several occasions for ‘one-off’ books that I wanted to get printed myself and I know that their printing, bindings and paper quality is amazing so I have opted to go down this route.

Because of the nature of book publishing in general it potentially works out cheaper for me to buy a hundred copies in the first instance which in turn reduces the price per copy of each copy of the book and then sell them myself to give the buyer a better deal. But to do this I would have to pay out a few thousand for those 100 copies in the first instance which is something that I’m just not in the position to do right now.

So what I’m doing, at least for now, is to design, create and make available a book that I have designed from scratch and which I will make available to buy via Blurb.

I have slightly reduced the number of images from the initial book design in order to reduce the overall production costs and I have totally changed the layout. The book is now designed in a square format, sized at 18cm x 18cm and with 140 pages and the image quality is now far, far better and is more fitting to a book of photography. The price per copy of the book now is the minimum I can achieve for the size, number of pages and the design and I have only added £0.01 (1 pence) to the overall price of the book, which is the minimum that can be done when you sell a book on Blurb so that they cover their printing costs. Again to try and keep that price down as low as I can.

I’m also not making the book available on Amazon as there was a £5.99 surcharge to do that which I didn’t want on top of the price. So Coast People will be available through Blurb only. A preview of the book can be seen on the main page and the price per copy of the book is £23.40.

Postage costs are set by Blurb and are £6.99. So the total price would be – £30.39

So to date this has been a frustrating journey to get this far and I’m disappointed that I won’t be taking delivery of a few boxes full of my first published book but this at least is a compromise that I have reached that is achievable at the minute and whilst I won’t gain financially with this book it has been an interesting process to go through and one that will help when I publish, ‘Country People – cornerstone‘, which is my next book-publishing endeavour. More on that coming soon, so as they say, ‘watch this space’…

So to see a preview of Coast People, to read about the book or to purchase a copy please follow the link below….

COAST PEOPLE – Life on the north east coast

 

Photographer: Ian Forsyth Contact Number : 07786 076618 Copyright Ian Forsyth 2010 None Exclusive unless through prior arrangement. Do not Syndicate If purchased you have a one use licence - No resale

 

See more of my work on my website and blogs… HERE

Images copyright Ian Forsyth 2015 /

All rights reserved.

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Pickering wartime and 1940’s weekend

Once again the wartime and 1940’s weekend brought re-enactors, enthusiasts and visitors to Pickering and the surrounding areas to turn the clock back for a short time and immerse themselves into a bit of wartime nostalgia for the weekend…

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See more of my work on my website and blogs… HERE

Images copyright Ian Forsyth 2015 / Getty Images

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No usage without arrangement.

 

Ironopolis – The day the steel stopped

As the steelworkers from ‘C’ shift prepared themselves to carry out the final coke push on oven 64 at the SSI UK steel works at Redcar this week they were not only starting the process by which the ovens would gradually cool down rendering them useless for any future use but it was also marking an end to a legacy of steel making in the Teesside area that had built up over the preceding 170 years and one which had seen the steel that was manufactured here reach across the world.

At around 6am when the coke was pushed and the final column of steam and smoke rose up from the ovens and was carried away on the morning breeze, gradually fading before disappearing completely into the dark morning sky over Teesside’s industrial heartland it carried with it any hope that this rich heritage could be saved and steel making on Teesside came to an end.

IFXT0024-2The final plume of smoke and steam rises out of the coke ovens at Redcar

Middlesbrough or Mydilsburgh as it was known began its journey in Saxon times as an ancient settlement. The term ‘Burgh‘ refers to an ancient settlement and ‘Mydil’ was possibly the name of an anglo saxon who may have had involvement with the early settlement or indeed it could be a reference to the position of the settlement’s location at that time, half way between Whitby and Durham. During this time it would have seen much activity as people passed through Middlesbrough between the two towns but even by 1800 it still remained a small farm of between 20 to 30 people.

In 1829 Joseph Pease from Darlington headed up a small group of Quaker businessmen and bought this small farmstead and its surrounding land and began the development of what they called `Port Darlington‘ on the banks of the River Tees. They then planned to build a town on the site of the farm in order to supply labour to this new coal port and Middlesbrough was born.

By 1830 the Stockton to Darlington railway line had been extended to Middlesbrough and made possible the rapid expansion of the town and port.

The small farmstead gradually grew and became the site for North, South, East and West Streets, Commercial Street, Stockton Street, Cleveland Street, Feversham Street, Dacre Street, Durham Street, Richmond Street, Gosford Street and Suffield Street, all of which were laid out in a grid style centered on Market Square.

Plots of land and businesses premises were quickly bought up in the town and before long shippers, merchants, butchers, innkeepers, joiners, blacksmiths, tailors, builders and painters were moving in and by 1851 the population had grown from around 40 or 50 people in 1829 to around 7,600 and it was quickly becoming the main port on the Tees ahead of Stockton.

IFXP0006Looking out over Teesside from the Eston hills

The seeds for the future steel heritage were sewn in 1850 when iron ore was discovered near Eston in the Cleveland Hills by John Vaughan, the principal iron master of Middlesbrough. Iron now slowly replaced coal as the lifeblood that carried the town. Whilst John Vaughan and his German business partner Henry Bolckow had already established a small iron foundry and rolling mill at Middlesbrough using iron stone brought from Durham and the Yorkshire coast this new discovery of a local supply of iron ore resulted in them building Teesside’s first blast furnace in 1851.

SSI_114Blast furnace, Redcar, Teesside

Iron was now in big demand in Britain, particularly for the rapid expansion of the railways being built in every part of the country. More and more blast furnaces were opened in the vicinity of Middlesbrough to meet this demand and by the end of the century Teesside was producing almost a third of the nation’s iron output. This growth saw the population of the town increase to 20,000 people.

By the 1870’s a much stronger and more resilient metal was in big demand. That metal was steel. In 1875 Vaughan and Bolckow opened the first Bessemer Steel plant in Middlesbrough using phosphorous ores that had to be imported from Spain and which were needed for the steel making process but within 10 years new methods were developed which allowed the use of the local iron ores from around the Eston hills and the steel produced in the area began its journey around the world. At its peak there were with over a hundred furnaces along the banks of the River Tees.

Dorman Long, a name synonymous with steel making began production in 1917 and the steel produced at the site was used to build structures including the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Tyne Bridge and the Harbour bridge in Auckland in New Zealand. As part of Labour’s plans after the second world war Dorman Long was brought under a newly created nationalised company called the British Steel Corporation and in 1988 after privatisation under Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government in 1988 it became British Steel. In 1999 the company then merged with Netherlands-based steel maker Koninklijke Hoogovens and formed Corus who used the site at the company’s Redcar blast furnace for basic oxygen steel making.

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In 2007 Corus was bought by Tata Steel but following the termination of a large contract in 2009, Tata stopped production at the Redcar site and 1,700 jobs were at risk. Steel workers and their families within the community rose to demonstrate their frustrations and thousands of people filled the streets of Redcar on 18 July of 2009 on a march to try and fight to safeguard Teesside’s steel industry…

Thousands of people filled the streets of Redcar, Cleveland today 18 July to join a march to fight to safeguard Teeside's steel industry. Following recent announcements of redundancies at Corus Steel, the people in the area came to show massive support for the Save our Steel March. Photographer: Ian Forsyth Contact Number : 07786 076618 Copyright Ian Forsyth 2008 None Exclusive unless through prior arrangement. Do not Syndicate If purchased you have a one use licence - No resale

Thousands of people filled the streets of Redcar, Cleveland today 18 July to join a march to fight to safeguard Teeside's steel industry. Following recent announcements of redundancies at Corus Steel, the people in the area came to show massive support for the Save our Steel March. Photographer: Ian Forsyth Contact Number : 07786 076618 Copyright Ian Forsyth 2008 None Exclusive unless through prior arrangement. Do not Syndicate If purchased you have a one use licence - No resale

Thousands of people filled the streets of Redcar, Cleveland today 18 July to join a march to fight to safeguard Teeside's steel industry. Following recent announcements of redundancies at Corus Steel, the people in the area came to show massive support for the Save our Steel March. Photographer: Ian Forsyth Contact Number : 07786 076618 Copyright Ian Forsyth 2008 None Exclusive unless through prior arrangement. Do not Syndicate If purchased you have a one use licence - No resale

Thousands of people filled the streets of Redcar, Cleveland today 18 July to join a march to fight to safeguard Teeside's steel industry. Following recent announcements of redundancies at Corus Steel, the people in the area came to show massive support for the Save our Steel March. Photographer: Ian Forsyth Contact Number : 07786 076618 Copyright Ian Forsyth 2008 None Exclusive unless through prior arrangement. Do not Syndicate If purchased you have a one use licence - No resale

Thousands of people filled the streets of Redcar, Cleveland today 18 July to join a march to fight to safeguard Teeside's steel industry. Following recent announcements of redundancies at Corus Steel, the people in the area came to show massive support for the Save our Steel March. Photographer: Ian Forsyth Contact Number : 07786 076618 Copyright Ian Forsyth 2008 None Exclusive unless through prior arrangement. Do not Syndicate If purchased you have a one use licence - No resale

Save Our Steel

Alas it was unsuccessful and the jobs were lost. The site underwent a mothballing process with hope that sometime in the future a new buyer could be found and once again steel production could carry on. In the meantime and inevitably, Redcar and the surrounding areas started a sad slide into decline as the ripple effect of the job losses was felt across the entire region.

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Then on 24th February 2011 a flame that had been slowly dying started to flicker a little brighter. A new buyer had been found. Thai-based Sahaviriya Steel Industries (SSI) came in and took on the site and finally in April 2012, and with much publicity the plant was officially reopened and as the first slabs of steel rolled a new found optimism, albeit tentative had began to come back into an industry that had been brought to its knees by economic pressures, global changes in the steel markets and a general run of bad fortune.

15/04/2012 SSI Steel Works, Teesside, Cleveland Two years after the closure of the Corus steel production plant the huge blast furnace on the site in Teesside is once again fired up as the process of bringing the furnace back to operating temperature begins. The furnace, now owned by the Thai company Sahaririya Steel Industries is expected to see the first steel come out of the furnace early next week. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth

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© Licensed to London News Pictures. 18/04/2012 SSI Steel, Teesside, England Two years after the closure of the Corus steel production plant, the huge blast furnace on the site in Teesside was re-lit at the weekend as the process of bringing the furnace back to operating temperature begins. Today, the furnace, now owned by the Thai company Sahaviriya Steel Industries saw the first steel slabs come out of the furnace. The steel will now be shipped direct to SSI in Thailand for use in the car or white good industries. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth/LNP

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15/04/2012 SSI Steel Works, Teesside, Cleveland Two years after the closure of the Corus steel production plant the huge blast furnace on the site in Teesside is once again fired up as the process of bringing the furnace back to operating temperature begins. The furnace, now owned by the Thai company Sahaririya Steel Industries is expected to see the first steel come out of the furnace early next week. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth

Over the following years production continued. The slabs of steel continued to come out of the site. There were some underlying wobbles and concerns through those years but despite these the steel still came. But then a change of events began that seemed to gather pace. A storm was coming. There’s something that is often referred to called the ‘Butterfly Effect’ in chaos theory and you’ll have heard of it I’m sure. It states that when a butterfly flaps its wings on one side of the world then there is an inevitable connection to a hurricane that occurs thousands of miles away on the other side.

© Licensed to London News Pictures. 18/04/2012 SSI Steel, Teesside, England Two years after the closure of the Corus steel production plant, the huge blast furnace on the site in Teesside was re-lit at the weekend as the process of bringing the furnace back to operating temperature begins. Today, the furnace, now owned by the Thai company Sahaviriya Steel Industries saw the first steel slabs come out of the furnace. The steel will now be shipped direct to SSI in Thailand for use in the car or white good industries. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth/LNP

© Licensed to London News Pictures. 18/04/2012 SSI Steel, Teesside, England Two years after the closure of the Corus steel production plant, the huge blast furnace on the site in Teesside was re-lit at the weekend as the process of bringing the furnace back to operating temperature begins. Today, the furnace, now owned by the Thai company Sahaviriya Steel Industries saw the first steel slabs come out of the furnace. The steel will now be shipped direct to SSI in Thailand for use in the car or white good industries. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth/LNP

Well there was a butterfly flapping its wings in China. Their economy was starting to slow after a few years of strong growth. Businesses, Industry and the economy in general had done well off the back of the boom but as that economy slowed so to did the demands for products right across the board. With the construction industry slowing the need for steel started to drop but China’s steel furnaces were still producing a huge amount of cheaper steel and selling it to world markets, including Britain and it wasn’t long before there was a significant overcapacity of steel.

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As oil prices also began to fall the oil companies began to reduce investment in the exploration of new oil fields or stopped trying to get more oil and gas out of their existing fields because the prices just didn’t justify the investment. As a result companies all along the supply chain, including steel plants who produce steel for pipes needed for extraction and movement of oil, started to see their order books going unfilled.

With prices for steel dropping, poor trade opportunities and the knock-on effect on the supply chain it seemed that there were butterfly’s flapping their wings everywhere and for those at Redcar it seemed that it was only a matter of time before the hurricane hit!

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In August Cornelius Louwrens, the SSI chief admits that the business is facing problems. Then on 18 September, production was paused due to the declining steel prices with some reports suggesting that SSI was also facing a September deadline after missing a series of payments to its banks. Then on 28 September the plant, the second largest steelworks in Europe was once again mothballed and at the start of October it was announced that SSI UK had entered liquidation.

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Against this backdrop local Teesside MPs like Labour’s Anna Turley and Tom Blenkinsop lead calls in the Commons for the government to intervene and help the steel industry…

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Meetings were set up with the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle to give steel workers an opportunity to speak to at least some government ministers, from Labour at least, but one look at the faces of those at the meeting told more about the questions they had and the uncertainties that they and their families faced than any number of meetings might have done.

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Like any community threatened Redcar steelworkers rallied around to try and protect their way of life. People like Linda Robinson, a writer from Billingham and who has four generations of steelworkers in her family and who has taken it upon herself to stand outside the entrance to the SSI UK steel making site each morning for 22 consecutive days (as of 2 days ago) holding placards to help raise awareness to the plight of the steelworkers…

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Local shops all across Redcar and surrounding towns started displaying posters supporting the steelworkers and a petition was started that quickly gained thousands of signatures…

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Steelworkers like Brian Dennis, a steelworker of 26-years became a public face of the workers as he stood up at the Labour Party Conference recently and gave a passionate speech about the real effects of what this all meant to the workers once you looked beyond the business speak, the corporate jargon and the political bullshit. You can see his speech HERE

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Within 24 hours of a social media post initiated by members of the local community and supported by Anna Turley, thousands of steelworkers and their families, members of the pubic and supporters attended a ‘keep the light burning‘ rally one evening near the beach in Redcar…

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But despite all this, despite a few slim opportunities that seemed to offer a potential last minute reprieve to secure the site if local businesses or suppliers stepped in and despite all the other efforts that were made it became increasingly clear that the end was coming and on 12 October 2015 the receiver formerly announced there was no realistic prospect of finding a buyer and the coke ovens, for the first time in thirty years, were to be extinguished.

On the 15 October the final ‘coke push’ was carried out at Redcar and after 170 years, the steel stopped on Teesside. The sounds that emanated from the site over years ceased and towns like Dormanstown who sit in the shadow of the giant steel and iron monolith of the blast furnace fell silent. Familiar noises now gone. The backdrop of an industrial pulse that had driven the communities around the blast furnace slowly ebbed away.

So what of the future for Redcar and Teesside in general? What of the future of those leaving this way of life? What will happen to the thousands of people in the supply chain for the steel works and the security of their jobs and businesses? All will be affected and we have already seen job losses at PD Ports and Hargreaves coal suppliers and more will follow it is certain.

To step away from the emotion of it all, to ignore the effects this closure will have on the family of a steelworker or another contractor…to forget how this might affect his partner and his children as they approach an uncertain Christmas and an even more uncertain future…to not allow any emotional connect to this story then that answer is a simple one – A private business got into financial difficulties and a government, hands tied and restricted by law under EU rules and regulations couldn’t act to do anything. Even if it had wanted to it couldn’t do anything. Although the lack of government involvement or intervention or empathy has been shameful.

There are talks of police investigations into SSI regarding their insurance cover for employees at the site. There is a risk of the closure being used as a political football for point scoring. There is a minefield of redundancy packages to be negotiated, so this is a long way from over. But to turn away from all this, to ignore the emotion and to disregard the confusion and uncertainty and doubt etched on the faces of workers, of hard workers, of proud men – and women, with a background of determination and dignity and with a pride in a world-building industry with a heritage that contributes to what makes us collectively as a country what we are then ignoring the feelings permeating through Teesside right now is indeed a very tragic thing to do.

Yet despite it all, despite the difficulties it is those very same qualities that they and others like them possess that will be the very same reasons that will ensure that whatever the future may hold for the steelworkers and contractors on Teesside who may have taken a hard hit this time, they’ll get through it. One way or another. They’re made of strong stuff. Maybe as strong as steel?

 

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15/04/2012 SSI Steel Works, Teesside, Cleveland Two years after the closure of the Corus steel production plant the huge blast furnace on the site in Teesside is once again fired up as the process of bringing the furnace back to operating temperature begins. The furnace, now owned by the Thai company Sahaririya Steel Industries is expected to see the first steel come out of the furnace early next week. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth

15/04/2012 SSI Steel Works, Teesside, Cleveland Two years after the closure of the Corus steel production plant the huge blast furnace on the site in Teesside is once again fired up as the process of bringing the furnace back to operating temperature begins. The furnace, now owned by the Thai company Sahaririya Steel Industries is expected to see the first steel come out of the furnace early next week. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth

15/04/2012 SSI Steel Works, Teesside, Cleveland Two years after the closure of the Corus steel production plant the huge blast furnace on the site in Teesside is once again fired up as the process of bringing the furnace back to operating temperature begins. The furnace, now owned by the Thai company Sahaririya Steel Industries is expected to see the first steel come out of the furnace early next week. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth

15/04/2012 SSI Steel Works, Teesside, Cleveland Two years after the closure of the Corus steel production plant the huge blast furnace on the site in Teesside is once again fired up as the process of bringing the furnace back to operating temperature begins. The furnace, now owned by the Thai company Sahaririya Steel Industries is expected to see the first steel come out of the furnace early next week. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth

15/04/2012 SSI Steel Works, Teesside, Cleveland Two years after the closure of the Corus steel production plant the huge blast furnace on the site in Teesside is once again fired up as the process of bringing the furnace back to operating temperature begins. The furnace, now owned by the Thai company Sahaririya Steel Industries is expected to see the first steel come out of the furnace early next week. Photo credit : Ian Forsyth

Photographer: Ian Forsyth Contact Number : 07786 076618 Copyright Ian Forsyth 2013 None Exclusive unless through prior arrangement. Do not Syndicate If purchased you have a one use licence - No resale

 

#saveoursteel

 

See more of my work on my website and blogs… HERE

Images copyright Ian Forsyth 2015 / Getty Images

All rights reserved.

No usage without arrangement.

The 30th Masham Sheep Fair

So the 30th Masham Sheep Fair took place over the weekend and once again it brought a wide range of sheep…obviously and Morris dancers and ice cream and sheepdogs herding ducks – as you do – and skipping and teddy boys and hats and wool-weaving and large potatoes and geese and sheep-racing jumping over hurdles as well as lots of fine Yorkshire folk who came along to support one of the more quirky country shows around…so here’s a few from the Sunday…

 

#Countrypeople

 

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*Boring technical stuff..all pictures were shot with a Leica M9 and a 50mm f2 Summicron lens and were edited to black and white using Lightroom 5.

See more of my work on my website and blogs… HERE

Images copyright Ian Forsyth 2015

All rights reserved. No usage without arrangement.

UKIP Annual Conference

On assignment for Getty Images recently I headed to Doncaster Racecourse to cover the UK Independence Party annual conference. After increasing their vote share following the May General Election campaign the UKIP conference this year focussed primarily on the campaign to leave the European Union ahead of the upcoming referendum on EU membership.

After two long, busy and very purple coloured days I’ve included some of what I shot, edited to black and white below….

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See more of my work on my website and blogs… HERE

Images copyright Ian Forsyth 2015 / Getty Images

All rights reserved. No usage without arrangement.