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The Morris Anthology
April 23rd 2019. St George's Day and kick off to the Morris season. I picked up my camera, my courage, got in my car and began a journey I had fantasised about for years. Before me lay a vast, mysterious cultural phenomenon: the folk dancing scene. I wanted to document it. An ambitious move indeed for an closet photographer. I knew this project had legs though. lots of legs in fact. legs with bells on.
For 3 months I sat in pubs talking to dancers and musicians, lay on car park floors to get the best angles, trapping a nerve in the process, which still gives me headaches, and researched folk history at home. I met many generous people dedicated to keeping folk traditions alive, all of them keen to share their knowledge with me. I wanted to document long established traditions, costumes, rituals and local folklore as well as more fluid, contemporary manifestations of folk dancing. Most of all, in a society that has become detached from its own cultural heritage and often regards it as a quaint curio, I wanted to show that folk dancing is about much more than flowery hat and Hankies.
Realising the wealth of material ripe to this photographic harvest, I sought the support of THE Morris Ring, the founding national association of Morris Dancers. Together we put in a bid for Heritage Lottery funding. if successful it would allow me to focus on this body of work for 3 years, culminating in 'The Morris Anthology', a compendium of Morris dances and traditions. Alas, we were turned down on a technicality. Six months later, at The Morris Ring's AGM in March 2020, members voted to add the necessary dissolution clauses to the constitution so we could resubmit the bid. That week, the UK went into the first national lockdown.
The project is still on hold.
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