65 celebrates sixty five years of image making with sixty five photographs taken from O’Brien’s extensive archive.
Colin O’Brien’s journey of photography began in 1948 when he took a picture of his two Italian friends with his family’s old brownie box camera in Clerkenwell (main image). The Clerkenwell O’Brien was born into in 1940 is now a long distant memory, compared to today’s loft apartments and designer shops along Clerkenwell Road. This is what makes O’Brien’s images of day to day life in the 50s and 60s – children playing, lovers taking a stroll and even car crashes so significant. The commonplace is so often overlooked, but these photographs are the most important documentation of a way of life that has long since ceased to exist.
His work has never been for commercial gain, but rather for a personal collection where he has captured moments in time and unknowingly captured a history that many of us treasure today. “Many of the things I photographed have now gone and London has changed significantly over the last 65 years, whether it is for better or worse is up to future generations to decide.”
65 has also been turned into a book designed by Vincent Howcutt using innovative design techniques to showcase the pictures. The book includes images of car crashes, travellers’ children, street life, markets, cowboys and girlfriends, lovers kissing or strolling in the city, people down on their luck etc. This visual delight will remind you of how we once lived, allowing us to better understand the past.
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