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ISBN Number: 1-899235-74-4
Number of Pages: 168
Publication Date: September 2003
Publisher: Dewi Lewis Publishing
Every week between
Easter and November around two hundred funfairs open in cities and
towns across every part of the UK. Some 4500 Travelling Showmen
and their families run them – an extraordinary group of people
who make up what has been described as the largest extended
village in the country.
Most of us never encounter showmen directly. Often wrongly
confused with other travellers and frequently seen as outsiders,
they have their own strong cultural identity. The fairground
itself may be transient and its modern equipment may employ the
most up to date electronic and mechanical technology, but the
Showmen’s community is deeply rooted in historical tradition and
strong family values.
John Comino-James's work approaches the intimacy of a family
album. Through formal portraits and candid observation we meet
showmen not only at work – as they build up and open a Fair in
the streets of an English Market Town – but also away from the
brash and public arena of the funfair in the private spaces of
their living trailers and winter-quarters and during their family
celebrations of christening and marriage.
With texts written from conversations with the showmen and a
contextualising essay by the photographer, Fairground Attraction
offers a unique insight into the fascinating community and way of
life of the Travelling Showmen.
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