The photographer Timothy Clements has a thing for artisans. He shares the following:
‘Ask someone who is in hedge funds what they do for a living and you (and they) may never make sense of it. Ask what a watchmaker does, and he’ll tell you. He makes watches. He’ll show you the watch on his wrist and give you the time of day.
This project intends to remind us of the importance of independent trades and craft people today and to appreciate the value of vocational training and apprenticeships so we may have crafts and trades people among us in the future.
I am photographing both the well known and the unknown. But the fact they are all independent and often one-man-band businesses makes them vulnerable. Once they go, they are gone, and all too often their craft will go with them. This isn’t about grasping onto the past however. There is a place for the craftsman in society today and none should disappear without a trace.
Independent trades and crafts people are a great barometer for both the cultural and economic health of a place and an excellent measure of its spirit.
You’re unlikely to find much spirit down your local high street. But you will find the very same chain shops, franchised bakers and homogenous cafes I can see in mine. Spirit is what all the small trade and craft people bring to a place: individuality; chutzpah; knowledge; invention; the unexpected. I’ts something intangible, you can’t put a price on it.
Ultimately this project aims to influence the aspirations of people of any age who come to see it toward work they may never have considered. In this very project, Duncan The Micro Brewer used to be an accountant, Lavine The Florist a banker, Mo The Tattoo Artist was on his way to a career in law.
Vocational skills courses and apprenticeships should be as well funded and available to all as the ubiquitous degree but are often derided and seen as second rate, as are manual jobs. Apprenticeships are rarely seen at all and small trades or craftsmen get little help in providing them. Both can offer something as equally as valuable as a degree and often something more practical.’
Follow the link to Clements’ portraits with some familiar faces, like last master Terry Moore and Savile Row tailor Timothy Everest.