This is a tribute to Henry Grant (1907–2004), a British freelance photographer, ten years after his death. He was mostly active around London between the end of World War II and the 1970s. For a tribute to him, I chose one of his preferred subjects: the carousels at fun fairs. Take a look after the jump!
British photographer Henry Grant was a freelance photographer who worked mainly in the London area. He took many photos of socially significant subjects, such as protests of students, the homeless, and the protest against the hydrogen bomb test. In the intervals between his official works, he took many spontaneous and candid photographs, following the great school of the French street photographers like Izis Bidermanas, Doisneau, and Willy Ronis. In 1986, his archive of 80,000 photographs was purchased by the Museum of London. His most important work is the documentation of the construction of the Festival of Britain in 1951.
My preferred photos of this artist are those taken at the Hampstead fun fair in the 1950s, which I find candid, spontaneous, and joyful. So, for a tribute on the occasion of his tenth death anniversary, I chose a series of photos of a timeless carousel, called in Italy as Calcinculo (Kicks in the backside in English language). Here a photo taken by Henry Grant of this fantastic game!
Here and here you can find other two images taken at the funfair by the same artist. Even if I took many photos at the Como’s funfair in the past years, for this article I decided to take a new set of photos, taken a few days ago, of this little carousel, called Capriccio (Caprice, Whim in English language). This is a funny Caprice without tears!
Ready to go? Well, then… let’s go!
To win a free ride you have to grab the tassel hanging from a string. A successful strategy is to play in pairs. A passenger launches the partner using his feet, and pushing the chair. For this reason this carousel is known in Italy under the name of “Kicks in the backside!” (See the photo below)
All riders want to try!
I learned about this artist in the book “Photography, the Masters” (Logos edition), an interesting illustrated work about the history of photography.
A Salute to the Masters is a series dedicated to great photographers that I like. I posted other tributes for Walker Evans, Lee Friedlander, Helen Levitt, Ernst Haas, Stephen Shore, Gabriele Basilico, Robert Adams, Thomas Struth, J.H. Lartigue, Elliott Erwitt, Robert Frank, Gianni Berengo Gardin, André Kertész, Willy Ronis, Brassaï, Rodchenko, Dan Graham and Izis Bidermanas. I especially love street photography and urban architectural photography.