On Portobello Road

I found this picture when I was sorting through my files of old negatives and contact sheets the other day.  It was taken on Portobello Road, London, on 30th September 1966.  It is probably my first piece of street photography and I have no idea who the subject is.  I was quite pleased with it at the time and still think it’s not too bad, given my lack of experience.

But it’s not the photographic quality that drew me back to it and made me look at it afresh.  I had just finished reading Andrea Levy’s Small Island and by unhappy coincidence she had just died.  Looking at the boy now I wonder how he fitted into the story of the Windrush Generation.  I guess he would have been born around 1960, 12 years after the Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury and likely the child of later arrivals.  How did his life unfold – did that pensive child grow into a happy and fulfilled adult?  Where is he now?

(My notes with the negative say that the photograph was taken with a Minolta Autocord on Kodak Verichrome Pan film rated 160 asa, 1/125 sec at f16, film developed in Acutol for 9 minutes at 68o.  How photography has changed!)

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