Carters Steam Fair, Bank Holiday Fun

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  • I have always loved photographing travelling fairgrounds.   There is the colour, the movement and the people watching.  Its all there at the fun of the fair.  One of the first fairground photographs I remember taking with Dad’s old Canon F1 was in black and white though.  Its in an album of my favourite b&w photos from that time and has always stayed in my memory.

    1980s old pic

    On the second August Bank Holiday weekend this year I went to Victoria Park, in East London to see what I could snap at the Carters Steam Fair.   When I took this next shot, my early black and white shot was in my memory.  This time I deliberately wanted the silhouettes when I shot into the sun with the flags in the background.

    Chair 'o' matic

    What distinguishes Carters Steam Fair from other travelling fairgrounds is their use of steam power and vintage old fashioned rides and vehicles.   I have to thank my friend the photographer Colin O’Brien who told me it would be a good photo opportunity.  He regularly contributes to the popular blog about London Spitalfield’s Life.   I knew Colin would be at the fair on the Bank Holiday Monday but we hadn’t planned to meet up.  The first ride I photographed was the merry-go-round when I saw this little girl and her mother whizzing by.

    photography by Tanya Nash

    photograph by Tanya Nash

    Last weekend, Spitalfield’s Life published their piece about the fair with Colin’s photos.  Its a good read so do look at the link Colin O’Brien at the Fair.  But imagine my amazement and delight when I saw this picture on the front page.  We had both shot a very similar image, of a young girl with adult and they both have the child’s arm pointing outwards.

    photograph by Colin O'Brien

    photograph by Colin O’Brien

    Initially I thought we had both shot the same pair at the same time but on closer inspection we haven’t.  Yes the girls look similar, they have the same hair style and the same colour shoes.  But the girl in Colin’s picture looks older and more confident.  Also the adults accompanying the children are very different in age, build and clothing.   I did bump into Colin some time later at the fair but of course we didn’t talk about what we had shot.  So its just a fun co-incidence that we over lapped like this.

    The light was magical that afternoon; strong sunlight in the late afternoon made for some wonderful shadows and atmospheric shots.  I’m rather proud of the way the sun catches the face of the guy on the shooting gallery, creating an image reminiscent of an Edward Hopper painting.

    Carters Steam Fair

    There was so much to see and shoot that afternoon that I’ve rather indulged with this week’s gallery of 26 pictures which I hope you enjoy.  As always, click on any shot for a better view in gallery mode.

  • One thought on “Carters Steam Fair, Bank Holiday Fun

    1. I always find fairground images timeless. There is just something so simple and joyous looking at all those short bursts of happiness and fun. I wonder what the people in the B&W image look like now, especially the older girl lost in her thoughts. I love walking around fairs, just don’t like going on the rides. X Date: Sat, 14 Sep 2013 12:19:04 +0000

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