What it is about fairground art that excites you so much, and when did your obsession with it begin?
Where to start? I just love the colour, scale and sheer flamboyance of it all. Every piece of work is unique, hand made and beautifully crafted, but it’s so ephemeral. Real 'here today, gone tomorrow’ art. A metaphor for the travelling funfair itself, really. You get these absolute masterpieces that, as soon as they’ve outlived their usefulness, are just trashed: sanded down and painted over, chucked into a corner of a showman’s yard, or stuck on a bonfire. It’s tragic, but it’s the nature of the beast. And that’s another reason I’ve spent over twenty years shooting this amazing work – recording it for the future.
When did my obsession begin? It all goes back to my childhood. I must have been five or six years old and my folks took me to a fair in Epsom, in Surrey. Even now I can remember the sound of the music and generators, and the screams of the punters. I can remember the smell of red diesel, candy floss and fried onions, too. It’s still some sort of magical, intoxicating perfume to me to this day. When I turned the corner onto the fair green, and my little eyes saw this riot or colour, light and movement. I think the image was burned onto my subconscious on the spot. And forever.