The Best of Times: The Worst of Times

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. Photographer Tony Othen
. ISBN 9781908457745
. Hard cover
. 270mm x 290mm (landscape) – 132pp.

As a freelance documentary photographer, Tony Othen had many clients, most of whom were in the Charity and Educational sectors. His photography thus always had a purpose – to support the aims of the charity and the development of the educational bodies.

Knowing why the photograph was taken is vital. Let me give an example: walking into an elderly lady’s poorly furnished flat I didn’t take shots when she was smiling – only when she was looking
sad. This is because my reason for being there was to promote the work of my client, in this case Task Force, who were encouraging young people to volunteer to help those in need. It was my gut feeling that if this lady was looking too happy the objective would not be served so I waited until she looked sad and reflective. My image was real but not necessarily representative. It was a moment caught in time; not posed, just selected.

With millions of photographs being put up on social media every day, it is hardly surprising that some of my images found their way onto various group sites, especially those with strong geographical focus. At first, I felt a little hurt – no permission, copyright issues – until I read all the comments that came up alongside these images taken some 50 years ago. Not only did they trigger off memories but also some personal, social and historical viewpoints that might otherwise have been lost. For me, they gave a new purpose for the photographs: their original one had passed – my client had received the images and used them as they had wished, but now there was a whole new audience and usage.”  Tony Othen

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