These are the documentary stories that I have completed. I have experimented with the story presentation using different techniques or formats to bring across the story idea for different audiences on a variety of platforms. Some stories may have taken months to complete, others just a couple of days.

The Star & Garter pub is sited on the corner of Hessle Road and West Dock Avenue and was once the centre of Hull’s fishing community. For years it was known locally as Rayners, nick-named such after it’s larger-than-life 1930’s landlord, Henry Rayner. It was the traditional meeting and drinking place of deep sea trawler-men, who worked three weeks at sea and then came home onshore for just three days. As the fishing industry declined, so did the fortunes of the Star & Garter. In 1983 the majority of lunchtime drinkers were old, retired or unemployed fishermen, their wives and widows.

The bar was always filled with smoke as customers drank their pints, enjoying the company of others and telling or re-telling old stories of fishing and fishermen. It was during this time that I spent many lunchtimes taking pictures. Today, the Star & Garter’s doors are still open for drinks, family events, live music and organised celebration nights. The pub’s name has been officially changed to Rayners but its sense of belonging to the traditions of the fishing community are still strong.

In 2022 I revisited the Star & Garter. I took prints of the original 1983 images into the pub over several lunchtimes, holding them in the exact same position they were originally taken. The drinkers of 1983 appear ghostlike in today’s world for a quick chat, laugh and pint. A big thank-you to Paul Heaton who has given me permission to use The Housemartins song ‘Think For A Minute’ as the soundtrack for this story. Click on the picture to see the video and soundtrack story. To see the still pictures click here.

As part of the celebrations to mark the coronation of King Charles III it was decided by the residents of Hereford Road to hold a street party. I thought it might be fun to document the day to record the community getting together. What was great to see was the road (just about) empty of vehicles and children enjoying the safe space to have fun. It was a bit cold but the rain held off so that was a blessing. Click on the picture above to see all the images.

The cry of ‘Battery! Boiler! Bike Frame! Lumber! Rag, Bone!’ that has echoed through the streets of Hull for generations will soon fall silent. Rag and Bone man George Norris is the last of his family to work the estates and back alleys totting for scrap (or tatting as it’s called locally). After years on the North Sea rigs, George has returned to the family business to help his 81-year-old father, also called George, with his rounds. “My dad will never retire. When my dad goes that will be the last of the original scrap dealers in Hull,” says George. I first documented George’s working life in 1983. When he returned to the family trade nearly 40 years later, the opportunity to see what had changed was too compelling to miss. Click on the picture to go to a series of combination 'then and now' pictures.

For hundreds of years the high street has been the centre of communities throughout Britain. From as early as the Victorians and Edwardians photographs have been taken of shop keepers proudly posing in front of their businesses. Fascinated by this long tradition I photographed the business owners and staff who work on my local high street, in Wanstead, London. After years of shooting only colour I decided to shoot black and white film as a nod of respect to commercial photographers working in bygone eras. I used a 1966 Rolleiflex camera 80mm F2.8. I was curious to know when the business owners set up shop and why. I also wanted to understand what they think the future holds for them given the challenges of online shopping, rising costs and the impact of the Covid pandemic.

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown in London, many had taken to daily exercise which was permitted under the rules. Most of us had slipped into a routine - same place, same time and often same conversation. The pictures below are portraits of the people on their daily exercise with partners, family or a friend, with a small snippet of conversation overheard while walking through Wanstead Park in London, during the two weeks leading up to Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcement outlining the roadmap to ending lockdown on February 22, 2021. For most COVID, these repetitive walks and sometimes conversations were (I hope) consigned to history. What is important to me is that the images and comments by ordinary people, during this challenging time, are archived for the future.

Artist Marcus Bracey is the fourth generation of his family who have made, bought and displayed neon works. His work is exhibited in ‘God’s Own Junkyard’ a permanent gallery in London. The pieces are often made by Nick Ellwood who describes himself as a ‘neon bender’ in their east London workshop.

There has been a river crossing at Woolwich since the Saxon times. State papers from 1308 show that William Atte, a mason, bought the ferry business for 10 pounds. Since then, the rights to run and charge for the ferry crossing have changed hands many times. In 1320, the business was sold for 100 silver marks. During the reign of Henry VIII, the Royal Arsenal ordnance depot was built at Woolwich and the military established its own ferry. In 1811, parliament passed an act to set up a common ferry for the passage of “persons, cattle, carriages, goods, wares and merchandise”. The free ferry opened in 1889, with each boat licensed to carry 1000 passengers and 15-20 vehicles. Latest figures show that on average just under 80,000 vehicles and 22,000 foot passengers use the ferry every four weeks. Click on the picture above to see the story of the Woolwich Ferry now.

In 1985, at the start of my career as a photographer, I was living in Peterborough and trying to balance time needed between going out and shooting pictures and waiting for that call which would mean paid work. It was a pre-mobile phone, pre digital age, the answer phone was cutting edge communication technology. Frustrated by the amount of what I considered wasted time spent at home it struck me the number of people who would knock at my door. I decided that I'd photograph everyone who called, I would stand inside they would remain outside. As a nod to the pre-digital age, I built a darkroom at home, printed my black and white negatives, scanned them and published them here. The callers very much belong to a bygone age. Click on the picture of the Halloween 'Trick or Treat' callers above to see the full set, enjoy.

 
 
All Rights Russell Boyce