Catching a moment in time
July 14, 2009 8:17 PM   Subscribe

His photographs recorded life along the Scotswood Road, the working class district in the West End of Newcastle made famous in Geordie song. James (Jimmy) Forsyth had come to make his home there having volunteered for war work as a fitter in one of the local factories, moving up to Newcastle from his native South Wales. In 1954, aware that change was coming and no longer working having lost an eye in an industrial accident, Forsyth began to document his community and surroundings. A self-taught photographer, Jimmy "picked up a cheap folding camera in one of the pawn shops. There wasn’t much to adjust, just as well, because I’ve never known what to do...I’m just an amateur...just capturing what I knew was going to disappear." Jimmy died last Saturday, aged 95.
posted by Abiezer (11 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Great stuff. I like this teddy boy tally man. Very smart.
posted by tellurian at 9:02 PM on July 14, 2009

These are very cool.
Remind me of all the photos my older relatives had on the mantels growing up.
posted by madajb at 1:56 AM on July 15, 2009

These are beautiful shots, and quite sad that he has died. I currently work in Newcastle, ( drive down the Scotswood road every day ) and the architecture hasn't changed greatly since these were taken.
posted by Hickeystudio at 2:02 AM on July 15, 2009

Do you have to swerve for tanks, Hickeystudio? (!)
posted by Abiezer at 2:06 AM on July 15, 2009

Nah, just overweight women pushing baby strollers, which in many respects are more dangerous than tanks.
posted by Hickeystudio at 2:10 AM on July 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Excellent stuff - I lived in the West End for about 7 years until the end of last year, and although most of Scotswood Road is different these days, other parts of Benwell & Elswick still have a similar look, cobbled streets aside.
posted by anagrama at 4:34 AM on July 15, 2009

These are stunning, thanks.
posted by fire&wings at 4:35 AM on July 15, 2009

This one has an almost Diane Arbus-y quality to it. Neat.
posted by scratch at 6:41 AM on July 15, 2009

Some of the comments come from the people photographed - excellent
posted by A189Nut at 9:28 AM on July 15, 2009

@Hickeystudio - You know, if you were to take some photographs along the road approximating those of Mr. Forsyth, I think it would be quite interesting. Of course, if you could find the same people it would be even better. (Unlikely, of course, but probably not out of the question for some neighborhoods. My father's lived in the same house since 1958 and I've an 80-something year old neighborhood that was born on the street where she lives.)

FWIW, I'm forever asking neighbors if they've older photos of my street, or neighborhood. Fascinating to see how houses change - or remain the same.
posted by Man with Lantern at 12:13 PM on July 15, 2009

These are lovely.
posted by dejah420 at 10:56 PM on July 15, 2009

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