Violence with bells on

On St Stephen’s Day I joined my friends in the Blackheath Morris Men and Fowlers Molly for their traditional Boxing Day tour of Blackheath. This involves dancing outside three local pubs, following which we retire into the third hostelry for a folk music session.

Jenny & Nodge Norris, Blackheath Morris, Boxing Day 2011 (photo: Francis Sedgemore)
As well as my flute, I took with me a 4/3 camera and two lenses: a 12-60mm, and a so far little used 50-200mm f2.8, giving a maximum focal length of 400mm in terms of 35mm film equivalent. In photographing Morris dancers, my interest is not so much in capturing the group dynamic, but rather to focus in on individuals, their facial expressions and state of motion. Of the 120 or so pictures taken on Monday, only half a dozen show more than three principal figures.

The image included here is of father and daughter Nodge and Jenny Norris dancing a duet which involves bashing each other over the head with tin plates. Now don’t ask me why; the English are a funny lot, with some most peculiar predilections. Still, it was an entertaining sight, and, as you can see, I managed to capture the moment of impact.

I would like to publish more of my photographs, but with this website I do not have sufficient storage space or bandwidth, and am not prepared to use social media sites owing to licensing issues. Until I can find a solution, all I can do is publish the odd highly compressed, low-resolution example. That’s a shame, as the optics used to capture these images are superb, and, in the case of the Boxing Day shoot, I’m very pleased with the results.