Betty Legs Diamond at Funny Girls, Blackpool, an exhibition from 1998.
In 1994 I spent time traveling through India, Nepal and South East Asia and the pictures I took gave me the idea of building a new career and leaving statutory Social Work, which I had been in for nearly 10 years. In 1996 I enrolled on a City and Guilds in photography at Manchester’s City College. 4 years later I left my job as a Social Worker in Bolton becoming a full-time freelance Photographer. As part of the course we were required to complete an assignment titled “Photo Essay”, exploring any issue or subject we wanted. With some negotiation I got backstage one Tuesday evening at Funny Girls in Blackpool and photographed the dancers preparing for the performance. The internationally acclaimed Cabaret Club, that started out in 1994 hosted an amazing show every night of the week, fronted by the legend that is, Betty Legs Diamond. She left the club in 2009 and performed her hugely successful show at Boulevard, Newcastle up until 2016 when she returned to Funny Girls.
All the pictures were shot on Fuji’s black and white film, Neopan 1600, which, for it’s time was revolutionary, delivering relatively little grain despite it’s high iso rating. The camera I used was an old old Canon FTB with a 50mm lens. I shot two rolls of 36 exposure film using a Sekonic hand held meter to judge the light. The performers were brilliant.
Two years later I approached Dukes 92, in Castlefield, Manchester, who, at the time hosted exhibitions by unknown artists in an upstairs room. They liked the work from Funny Girls and so with the help of my college tutor, Kevin Horne we hung some 20 pictures from the Funny Girls shoot. Kevin is now a successful Commercial photographer in Marbella.
2018 marks 20 years since the exhibition, how time flies.