On a recent voyage in town to my favourite camera shop I noticed a sturdy man in an apron standing across the street absently surveying the comings & goings. He was perched on the step of a shop doorway, hands on hips, a slightly arched back and the telltale wince of someone re-acquainting themselves with correct posture. It was obvious this gentleman had been cooped up for far too long & was taking a brief moment of respite. With a weary sigh he slowly turned and headed back inside.
Regrettably the shop itself displayed a similar weariness. Hoards of various service signage swarmed the window, virtually obscuring any view inside, offering 'shoe repairs', 'keys cut' & 'battery replacement' all 'while you wait'. Multicoloured rope lights impotently flashed to no-one in particular.
Ever since I was an apprentice in the printing industry I've always admired the dedication of trades. There's an innate fascination watching someone work with their hands, like sitting around a camp fire, it's hard not to be mesmerised. Unfortunately so many trades have succumbed to disposable products & thereby skilled mentors.
There's an innate fascination watching someone work with their hands, like sitting around a camp fire, it's hard not to be mesmerised.
Armed with the nostalgia of my youth, and a vague idea to document vanishing crafts, I entered the shop. Inside I met the man in the apron, Issac, and his wife Rose. They were very understanding of my interest and extremely generous with their time as we laughed and reminisced about the good 'ol days. We talked about Issac learning skills past down from his father, of changing times and the need to diversify their business, & also the future for their children. A future which does not include carrying on generations of traditional craft. It tugs at the heartstrings to witness the withering of such knowledge, but as we all agreed you can't push back the tide & here's no turning back the clock.
Much like the tired shop window, valiantly attempting to remain relevant, the trades & crafts of yesteryear are slowly disappearing into obscurity.
Before I left I spent a few moments with Isaac in his workshop.