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The Crack Magazine

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An Innocent Eye: Jimmy Forsyth

Anthony Flowers, Tyne Bridge Publishing, £10

Jimmy Forsyth’s story is a remarkable one. He was born in Barry, Wales in 1913, and served in the merchant navy before eventually settling on Tyneside, aged thirty, in 1943. In and out of work, he, nevertheless, managed to scrape together enough money to buy a second-hand camera and then set about recording the world around him, principally along Scotswood Road. It was these photographs that would, in his later years, lead to him being recognised as one of the most important documentary photographers the region has ever known. As Flowers notes in his illuminating and lengthy introduction, Forsyth deserves to be spoken about in the same terms as authors Jack Common and Sid Chaplin when it comes to documenting local working class life, and the photographs contained in this book are exceptional. Mainly portraits from the late 50s/early 60s, the subjects pose on the cobbled streets with a natural ease, Forsyth achieving a rare kind of intimacy with these people because they undoubtedly recognised that he was one of them.

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