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Portobello Road

This book is a collection of photographs taken over a period of three years during the early Sixties. Visiting Portobello for the first time the photographer, John Petty recognized that here was a rare opportunity to record street life at its most colorful. Abounding in characters, his camera captures a series of telling moments in the life of the market. At that time Portobello was still very much rooted in the past: parts seemed to be locked in a 1930's time warp, occasionally bordering on the Dickensian. The Swinging Sixties and the Carnaby Street culture had yet to make its impression on the market, although a few fledging hippies do appear in Petty's portfolio conveying a striking contrast with the still firmly entrenched duffle-coated, sheepskin jacket brigade. Against this background, the photographer concentrates on the people who work in the market and those visiting this vibrant environment: the costermonger families - many going back several generations: The dealers in antiques, collectables, objects d'art and bric-a-brac; stallholders; street vendors, and the hawkers selling second-hand goods of every description; and, local families doing their weekend shopping, bargain hunters, browsers and the occasional overseas visitor, in stark contrast with the several thousand who now descend on the market every Saturday morning. And above all else, the children who made the market their own special playground. Well behaved - otherwise they would have gotten a clip round the ear - they roamed the streets unsupervised, enjoying the freedom and all the fun opportunities the market offered. These photographs contribute considerably to the worth of this book, which must be among the most complete collections of a time now considered by many as Portobello's Golden Age.
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These photographs must be among the most complete collections of a time now considered by many as Portobello's Golden Age." Venue, Autumn 2010

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