Print Print
{image id=399/thumbs/small.png'>

The Black and White Art Photographer

Special feature edition: Saudek, Ovenden, Argent
Journal Five, January 1992
Publisher: Lucienne Zeger Ltd.

Street Memory
Yes, that was the corner of our meeting:
you find the like on every boarded street.
Kerb cut stone, bald brick
scarred by passing traffic — the chip
and scuffing hob-nails of a thousand feet.
But to me, a precious place:
I sigh in age to think of it...
when as a raw-bone boy
a bully broke my favourite toy . . . just there,
and equal, joy . . . while waiting hear
girl's flutter-teenage talk, then walk
a quiet way with her to school.
So after lessons, ply the fool at
learn-of-love in back yard lie . . . both
heedless-shy of cold ground pound,
our rhythm round bound
in the first found tremble flow.
(Each innocent to know
this childhood romp soon past . . .)
You ask . . . we all grow, whether wise . . . ?
No, often fail to hold the prize
born of our youth; though
only time reveals that truth.

Well tomorrow, its all memory razed:
the worthy council starts another phase
to fell this street.
You wonder that I weep!

Graham Ovenden, Bodmin, UK.

It is unique that a young teenager should embark upon such a task as to photograph the children of early post war East End London. It however happened. It was perhaps the first major visual decision of this remarkable talent. Graham Ovenden, is now a significant British painter, photographer of equal merit and author of many books on his subjects. The images published here are a small cross-section of the very large body of work of great creative and historical importance, that he achieved by this early project. They were taken on a box Brownie, yet this young pair of eyes were in no way restricted by equipment or guided by future visual education from producing pictures of such tender force.
What I have decided to publish amounts to a small exhibition, even so I feel that all the work must be seen in its original form to be fully appreciated and I hope that an exhibition will happen one day. Many prints arc done by "printing out". Graham Ovenden, as an expert on early processes, delights in this form of printing. Reproduction in one colour loses the subtle colours this process can produce on monochrome paper, however the softening and warming of the image is still very clear. Graham has kindly written at first hand about the experience together with a poem that underlines the pictures. GH *