More and more as I get older, I notice what I often call, “A chain of interest.”

This is where I start with an interest in one subject, so I pick up a book or scour the internet for information and the chain of interest takes me off on a tangent and introduces me to another aspect of what I was searching for in the first place, if that makes sense?

For example, I was reading an old book about secret British factories that existed in Lancashire during World War Two.
From this book, I first heard about the Mass Observation project.
After some searching for this (it still exists today over at I came across the photographer, Humphrey Spender.
I looked up some of his pictures, learned about the Worktown book and other books of his work he’s had photographed. I bought some of his books (I like seeing first hand how we used to live).

This lead to my reading up about his life and his work with Picture Post magazine came up, some editions I collect, as I believe the best way to learn is to read/view literature/photographs from the actual time, rather than the biased versions that later people, often not connected with events, write.

I have heard the name Humphrey Spender mentioned before, when reading about the great street photographer Jimmy Forsyth for a selection of his work.

Then I came across the wonderful documentary “Return journey” which I’ve posted about this documents both Jimmy and Humphrey’s work, which for someone with an interest in street photography, is fabulous viewing.

While searching for images online, I came across Shirley Baker, which lead to more buying of works, books and searching about their techniques.

The chain of interest has led me on a trail for months, teaching me lots of things from WW2 to 1960’s Salford to 1970-1980s Newcastle.

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