4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 5 January 2004
Ken Grant is one of the leading lights at the Documentary Photography course in Newport, Gwent; and in this book presents a series of pictures, made over a fifteen year period and rooted in autobiography, centred upon people who worked in the disappearing world of the Liverpool river-trades.
None of these details appear in the book and instead of adding captions of his own Grant offers an essay by 1994 Booker Prize winning author James Kelman. The images themselves are presented raw and unadorned, to some extent like the lives into which they offer brief glimpses. Style seems influenced by the eighties New British Documentary tradition but isn’t particularly tied to the genre: the presentation of documentary has moved on. The obviously working class community into which the book peers seems in one sense closely bound together, yet rifts and fractures are highlighted by the sequencing of the images. Nostalgia also sneaks in, partly due to the black and white; and the gender divide seems as wide as ever. And it’s in the women that these elegiac images find their undoubted strength. As I look again at The Close Season I find myself wondering what phoenixes may have arisen from this community robbed of its livelihood on Liverpool’s river by the changing times: wondering what the future held for the just married Tracy or the downtrodden Doddy arguing in the Derry Club. I’m kind of curious to see what Mr Grant produces next.