End of Tradition?

Earlier this month i mentioned that i would be photographing the Mayday events taking place in an English village. I’m glad to say that i did manage to cover the maypole dancing that day even though the weather forecast was less than encouraging.

Twelve people dancing around a Maypole doesn’t sound too difficult to photograph, and most of the time it isn’t, but it does offer the photographer a slight challenge. The weather didn’t help either with dark clouds threatening to soak everyone. Fortunately the rain did not appear and the dark clouds did make a dramatic backdrop to some of the images.

Traditional dancing is a popular spectator event, but it seems that the numbers of people wanting to take part in the dancing itself are dropping. Several local groups are finding it hard to gain new members – one local Morris dancing group closed due to older members retiring and a lack of new recruits joining. Many other groups may meet the same fate.

Even the garland dancers featured in the gallery photographs are finding recruiting very hard. It may be the case that in a number of years, events like this just won’t take place. Once these traditional dance groups go, it will be incredibly difficult to start them up again. Sadly there just doesn’t seem to be the interest in carrying on many of the rural traditions.

I will be photographing the event next year as well as part of a multimedia piece. I’d like to capture the sounds and atmosphere along with the images before they possibly disappear forever. Hopefully I’ll get better light to shoot with too.

More images can be seen at http://www.richardflintphoto.com/portfolio/maypole/

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