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Day Trippers

The 7th of July this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Woolton Church Summer Fete in Liverpool where a young John Lennon was introduced to an even younger Paul McCartney for the first time. That meeting has gone down in musical folklore leading to one of the most extraordinary writing partnerships that changed the face of modern music.

Now, sixty years on, I’m interested in the relationship of the Beatles to this small part of south Liverpool – just a few streets. I am taken by the idea that tourists travel from all over the world to visit such ordinary suburban streets leading to the somewhat incongruous sight of international day trippers rubbing shoulders with locals in very un-touristy locations.

Often they have travelled from far and wide for a once in a lifetime visit to the UK: they take in Buckingham Palace, Stonehenge, Edinburgh Castle and a few run down streets of council housing in Liverpool!

Having grown up in Liverpool, I’m intrigued by the power the band still has to attract people from far and wide and how the locals just go about their business semi-oblivious to the daily invasion.

In Arnold Grove in particular, where George Harrison grew up, the house is still occupied by an elderly lady – every day hoards of tourists walk past children playing in the street, as George would have done, to have their picture taken outside her house and sometimes peer in through her windows. In Madryn Street, Ringo Starr’s home, all the houses are now boarded up and visitors come to write on the metal shutters and sometimes to dance!

The Magical Mystery Tour bus passes Madryn St. the childhood home of Ringo Starreaston_beatles_01

Magical Mystery Tour bus tourists (on the pavement) and National Trust visitors (in the garden) of 20, Forthlin Road, the childhood home of Paul McCartney.easton_beatles_02

Canadian Tourists at Forthlin Road.easton_beatles_03

Forthlin Roadeaston_beatles_04

Spanish tourists at ‘Mendips’, the childhood home of John Lennon.easton_beatles_05

A ‘selfie’ for the Magical Mystery Tour at the gates of Strawberry Fields.easton_beatles_06

“Behind the shelter in the middle of the roundabout”, the Magical Mystery Tour passes the  ‘barber’ and the ‘bank’ at the top of Penny Lane.easton_beatles_07

“In Penny Lane, there is a barber showing photographs”easton_beatles_08

A group of German tourists dancing outside the former home of Ringo Starr. Madryn Street in Dingle is one of ‘The Welsh Streets’, traditional Liverpool terraces, now all boarded up and awaiting a council decision on whether to demolish or refurbish.easton_beatles_09

A busload of tourists descend on the tiny cul-de-sac Arnold Grove where George Harrison lived as a young boy. The house and those surrounding it are still lived in and each day residents tolerate a stream of visitors from all around the world.easton_beatles_10

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The Independent Newspaper

It was with great sadness that I heard the announcement recently that The Independent was to cease it’s print edition from March 26th this year after setting the agenda and setting the bar in British journalism for 30 years.

I began my career at ‘The Indy’ back in 1990 and it was there alongside the best newspaper photographers of the day that I learned my trade. Great photographers like Brian Harris (book coming soon, about which I will blog I’m sure), John Voos, Glynn Griffiths, Tom Pilston, David Rose all on the staff back then (remember when newspapers had staff photographers?) and sports guys David Ashdown and Peter Jay. Alongside them was a great bunch of regular freelancers: Nick Turpin, Ed Sykes, Peter Macdiarmid, Laurie Lewis, Geraint Lewis, Herbie Knott, Steve Morgan, Robert Hallam, and then later Ed Webb, Kalpesh Lathigra, Kayte Brimacombe, Andrew Buurman etc. More followed after I left too.

I will be forever grateful for what I learned from each and all of them and proud to call many of them friends to this day.

Picture editors and darkroom staff too: Chris McCane, Keith Dobney, David Swanborough, Mike Spillard, Victoria Lukens, Susan Glenn, Karen Wylie, Colin Jacobson, John Luff, Sophie Batterbury, Simon Van Covoerden, Tony Buckingham etc.

Apologies to anyone I’ve missed off.

Here’s a few pictures from back in the day…..

941125_Williams_Indy960608_Appleby_Indy981015_Williams_Indy

The death of Francis Bacon, Colony Room, Soho, LondonColony Rooms copy

Ben Okri, authorBen Okri

Michael Heseltine, Conservative Party Conference, Blackpooleaston_heseltine

David Hockney, on the set of ‘The Rakes Progress’, Saddlers Wells, LondonDavid Hockney on the set of The Rakes Progress Opera, which he d

Miners Welfare Rally, Londoneaston_whose_job

Liberia, West AfricaLiberia_colour_01-02

War in the former Yugoslavia (Mrs Thatcher)Mrs T 4_flat

Nelson Mandela, LondonNelson Mandela

Sealed Knot, Civil War reenactment, NewburyNewbury Down

La Defense, ParisParis_Indy

Ted Heath, Westminster, LondonTed Heath interview

Armistice Day, Ypres, BelgiumYpres

 

Myanmar

Back from a fascinating trip to Myanmar in December. Amazing country, lovely people and a privilege to have the opportunity to work there. A longer blog post will follow with the commissioned pictures once they have been used by the client, but here’s a little taster…easton_myanmar_01easton_myanmar_02 copyeaston_myanmar_03easton_myanmar_04easton_myanmar_05easton_myanmar_06easton_myanmar_07easton_myanmar_08

Two extraordinary people.

These last few weeks have seen the deaths of two extraordinary people that I consider myself to have been very fortunate to have met back in my newspaper days. Doris Lessing 1919-2013 and Nelson Mandela 1918-2013. Both made the world a better place and both were incredibly generous with their time to a young photographer barely out of short trousers. Mandela, I met twice – once when I was still at college when my friend James Miller and I talked our way into a press conference during his first visit to London after release from prison in South Africa. He took time out to talk to these two young students and was genuinely interested in what we were doing, telling us (even at that stage) that it was important work. James went on to become a superb TV news cameraman and documentary film-maker and was tragically killed in the Gaza Strip in 2003. He did some incredibly important work and I know that, like me, he cherished that first meeting with Mandela.

Doris Lessing was photographed at home in London in 1992 for The Independent newspaper. Usually these newspaper portraits were done in a few minutes flat – a quick hello, assessment of the environment then a photograph and on to the next assignment. With Doris Lessing, I recall it was different. Like Mandela she was genuinely interested and we spent a couple of hours at least at her home talking about everything under the sun over numerous cups of tea.

Two iconic figures of our times. Rest in Peace.

Doris lessing

Nelson Mandela