Liverpool Docks, 1963
© Colin Jones
Silver Gelatin Print
The art of photography remains so fascinating because of the individuals who arrive from unexpected places and take the medium through a lifetime of changes. The career of Colin Jones has a startling trajectory. He was born in 1936, in time to be a war child, a father away as a soldier, and 13 different schools. An element of chance, as well as talent, led to a scholarship at the Royal Ballet School.
The moment that defined Jones’s later life occurred as he was driving with fellow-dancers from Newcastle to Sunderland one day in 1961. Travelling north of Birmingham and seeing the winding gear of coal mines had always excited Jones, who was steeped in the books of George Orwell, but now he saw the extraordinary drama of spoil-heaps swarming with coal searchers - an epic of reality and survival.
Colin Jones is one of the most celebrated and prolific photographers of post-war Britain. He has documented facets of social history over the years as diverse as the vanishing industrial working lives of the Northeast (Grafters), delinquent Afro-Caribbean youth in London (The Black House), and most recently, the high-octane hedonism of Swinging London with his famous pictures of The Who early in their career.
The publication “Grafters” is now available from Phaidon Press and covers Jones’ best work from his career to date