On Life and Work

Fred Chance was born in Carlisle in the northern most reaches of England in 1950. He now lives in Stroud in Gloucestershire with his family whom he cares for a great deal. He lived in a crafts community in the north of Scotland in the late 1960’s, worked as a publicist in the feature film industry in the early 1970’s, trained as a teacher then worked as a photographer since 2000, (worked may be an exaggeration).

Having looked through a vast number of photographer’s web sites he realised that he has a dilemma. Should comments about his life and work appear in the third person to indicate that he is a modest photographer for whom others have selected images from his oeuvre and made flattering observations about his career or should he use the fist person and give away the secret that his communications about his photographs are all his own work?

He settles on the notion that if it’s good enough for a Bob Dylan lyric it’s good enough for him to mix the two.

He would, therefore, want to say that I have tried to pick eight images from each of a selection of projects I have worked on over the course of what we have so far used up of the 21st Century.

Living in the town of Stroud has been something of a privilege. It has been home to an extraordinary range of artists and large, wonderful personalities. It’s only of late, after it was identified by the Sunday Times as the best place to live in the UK and up market shops and housing developments have begun to be noticed, that Stroud risks becoming just another nice sort of place to live. But Fred would realise that this was nothing more than the observations of someone who has passed his three score years and ten but has no intention of calling it a day.

I have particularly liked and valued a smorgasbord of collaborations, the biggest of which was a Festival of Photography which saw upwards of 300 photographers displayed on the walls of galleries, public buildings, cafes, pubs and shops. Toilet walls were also used, being brought into service to show the work of the inimitable Dan Hayon.

Whilst putting together the collections on this website, Fred has tried to acknowledge the influences which have been acting on him. There are people at work in the Stroud area who continue to fill him with awe such as landscape photographers Kel Portman and Amanda Harman who both, like the Italian photographer, Luigi Ghirri, seem to capture a gentleness which comes from inside the subject. I can’t ever manage that.

Friends like Nettie Edwards and Jesseca Ferguson continue to make images which don’t rely on the camera’s ability to record but use that recording as a starting place for the making of extraordinary works of art.

I have made a number of collaborative projects with significant people from the poetry community of the town.

Fred has published a few pamphlets combining poetry and photography particularly with poets Jeff Cloves and Philip Rush and, whilst the Museum of Modern Art has, thus far, been quiet, not to say subdued, in its desire to collect Fred’s work, it’s nice to know that most of these publications have just about sold out.