A STUNNING photography project that aims to show the diversity of the residents living in a former mining community has been launched.
Photographer Alan Sill has created the Easington People project in the hope of showing people from Easington Colliery and Easington Village, seen as deprived areas, in a positive light despite what Alan sees as “negative stereotypes of the people that live here” in the national media.
It involved Alan, from Peterlee, inviting local people along to Easington Social Welfare Centre to sit for a 15-minute shoot to produce these striking black-and-white images.
Those who came forward included a country and western singer and a poet.
Alan, who is also a Google-approved photographer who takes images of inside businesses to give 360-degree tours, said: “The aim is to show the diversity of the people that live in Easington that have contributed to the fabric of the community, it’s a cross-section of different personalities.
“I was just sick of hearing about the negativity that surrounds Easington and thought I would produce an uplifting photo essay of the people, of what they have contributed and of what they can contribute to everyday living in Easington.”
Now Alan hopes as many people as possible from Easington will get in touch to be photographed so he can produce more images in a book, “thus creating a photographic census of a moment in time of the people of Easington”.
He added that if the project is successful, he hopes to create similar ‘People’ projects for other East Durham communities, including Horden, Blackhall, Wingate, Peterlee and the Trimdons.
One of the subjects was Andy Brown, a well-known country and western singer, who pursued his singing dream after being made redundant from his job at Easington pit and went on to win the International Male Vocalist of the Year title at the North American Country Music Association International Awards in 1998.
Also featured is Chris Brown, who grew up in Easington in a world before wireless internet and spent her childhood “parlaying with pirates” on the local beach and is now a poet.
Myrtle Macpherson, who has lived in Easington all her life and is a parish councillor, is also featured, as is Tommy Robinson, a founder member of JPEG (Joint Photographers Easington Group).
Another character pictured is Harry Quinn, who has memories of going up to feed horses belonging to local man John Robinson.
l Anyone from Easington interested in getting involved can email: firstname.lastname@example.org