Birmingham jewellery quarter

This was part of an MA in graphic design I did  at Birmingham Polytechnic now known as Birmingham City University, in 19882-83.

My interest has always been in documentary portraiture, most probably inspired photo heroes like Bill Brandt. The aim was to capture something of the Jewellery quarter which was fast dissapearing.

It was an intricate network of very skilled people who passed work to each as it arose. One lunchtime in the Jeweller’s arms I saw an expensive gold ring given to a stone setter who just dropped it into the top pocket of his jacket. There was no formal paperwork or written agreement.

Now the area is a tourist attraction selling jewellery from various sources. The old magic of the place and the skilled crafts people have mostly gone.

The end result was an exhibition of 24 laminated panels of images and text which was toured by the Ikon Gallery.

For those interested the camera was a Nikon FM with 50mm, 35mm and 28mm lenses. Film was either FP4 or HP5.