Burning boat, Oriel. Oxford 1984
Each year the college that rowed ‘head of the river’ during Eights week set fire to an old boat after a celebration dinner.Oriel were usually the triumphant college so must have been running low on boats. I photographed this first in 1981 and then went back again in 1984. This picture was the definitive one. I'd make myself inconspicous until I’d hear shouting and cheering coming from the dinner and then the rowers would come out and the boat would be set fire to. Everyone took their turn to jump or trample over the fire with much cheering. Whilst this was going on there was a chant of ‘No Women echoing around the quad as the college had just voted to allow women .students. For no logical reason for me it symbolises the eighties, the big bang and time of Thatcher. But it works almost as well upside down as an abstract composition.